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Remember the ‘intangibles’

Letter to the Editor | Thursday, April 19, 2007

I’d just like to take a minute to respond to Tuesday’s Observer article on the discontent in the law school due to the recent drop in the rankings (“Law students show discontent,” April 17). As a 1L, I can’t comment specifically on many of the concerns voiced in the article or on various alleged short-comings of the law school. I also won’t pretend that while applying to law schools last year I wasn’t obsessed with rankings or wasn’t able to, in a way that bordered on disturbing, spout off from memory the top 40 schools in order. Rankings do matter and as students who take pride in our school and in how hard we’ve worked to get here, it is only right that we should be concerned. But I think it’s also important to take a deep breath and take a look around.

Notre Dame, unlike many other places, is more than a number in U.S. News and World Report. As a “double-domer,” I had many friends, both as an undergrad and now as a law student, who had the grades and the test scores to have their pick of any school in the country. In my five years here, however, I’ve met more people who chose to go to ND over more highly-ranked institutions than people who came to ND because it was “the best place they got in.” While Notre Dame will always continue to be an elite academic institution, it is the intangibles which set us apart – our Catholic character, our student spirit, our dedication to social justice and (who could forget) our football team – just to name a few. I don’t think I need to write a laundry list of everything that makes Notre Dame great. I think most of us already know what they are. We should also acknowledge that most of these things can’t be expressed in a number. So while, yes, rankings matter, and we should always strive to be the best that we can be in ANY area, I believe that Notre Dame will find its way back to the top. In the meantime, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

Laura Geldermann

law student

O’Hara Grace

April 18