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How many HS seniors who've been cramming AP courses have the ability to network to students capable of reporting on the general quality of a program?
I should hope all of them. While my high school (in 1995, mind you!) was one of the first to give seniors a day off with the explicit instruction to go visit their top choice school, and NOT count pre-scheduled college visits against them as absences, I can't condone someone in 2005 not taking the time to at least throw a few emails around. If a school is as high and wonderful as this guy makes it sound (maybe it's MIT or Berkeley!), then both the admissions department and the engineering school should be falling over itself to get potential students hooked up for references. If they're not, I'd say it's a big red flag that *something* is wrong.

OTOH, DS got washed out by a course given in his senior year, which fit the description of the article, where the prof used a sink or swim approach.
Was this the *ONLY* prof he could have possibly taken that course from? If not, that's his own bloody fault. I had a "sink or swim" prof myself senior year, who was just too wrapped up in his own little world to care about a couple of undergrads taking an elective course. Thankfully the programming classes I had earlier, together with finding out who his masters and PhD students were and asking them for help, managed to get me through that class. Engineering isn't all about plugging numbers into equations and turning the crank. There is real work involved sometimes, and often you don't even know what you don't know. Not going to judge DS, but this article comes off like some spoiled brat who breezed through HS (just like I did) only to find STEM a lot harder than (s)he bargained for.

Answer: he gets beat out by liberal arts majors with their 4.0s. Would you rather have an attorney with an EIT cert. working on your patent or a former Womyns Studies major?
Actually, I wouldn't even bother. Patent law is so fscked up that anything you invent isn't protected anyways, because Some Other Corp has another patent on a doohickey that barely even looks like your widget, and claims that it does the same thing. Given that SOC has billions in cash, compared to your hundreds, guess who's going to come out of court the winner, no matter who draws up the paperwork.

And in case you weren't aware, law schools look at a lot more than GPA. Three friends of mine have completed law school now, one of whom didn't even have a 3.0 when she was accepted. What she did have was an insanely high LSAT score, recommendations from two local high profile lawyers she had clerked for during summer breaks, and a STEM degree.
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