Applicant FAQ

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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acrossthelake
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Applicant FAQ

Postby acrossthelake » Sun Oct 03, 2010 3:32 pm

I created this for the 2010-2011 cycle, and have updated it sporadically. I no longer monitor this particularly closely, however, so please PM me if there is anything incorrect that needs to be changed.

Dear Lurking Admissions Officers,
I know you do this because I read your blogs and your interviews. I am trying to keep this OP as accurate and as helpful as possible and actually read several of your blogs and interviews when I find them. I no longer actively read those blogs anymore, though, so I apologize if incorrect. Happy to correct if anything is pointed out to me.
Thanks,
ATL

Helpful Links
The actual official FAQ thread from the FAQ subforum: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=35133

Reqs: --LinkRemoved-- --Note, this is slightly out of date. For example UPenn's "optional" essays are not optional this year.
Decision Dates Chart: http://www.top-law-schools.com/decision-dates.html
When you might hear back if you applied in Oct: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=137012
Class of 2013 Median/GPA: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=128236
Hidden Fee Waivers: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=129078
Negotiating Merit Aid: viewtopic.php?f=22&t=79373

How do I update my application?
If you're sending in an LOR or LSAT afterwards, the LSAT auto-updates and the LOR you just need to assign.


Disclosure of Disciplinary Actions/Law Problems
Although NYU's app does not give specifications on the criminal offense question, I called them and confirmed that minor traffic offenses do NOT need to be disclosed. --Eskimo for the 2010-2011 cycle.

Dean's Certifications
somebody start a thread about this for 2011-2012.

Can you submit one before you submit your app?
Yes.

Timing of Application Submission
When should I submit it? When is early?
As soon as possible without sacrificing due care of quality.
General rule of thumb:
Super Early: Before Halloween
Early: Before Thanksgiving
On Time: Before Christmas
Lateish: After New Years.
The longer you wait, the lower your chances become and the less scholarship money there is. Exception: Yale, which does not do a rolling admissions process.

Dean Tom: “Yes. You must apply early. Even though we don’t have an early decision program, the early bird does catch the worm here. And by early I’m talking about October, mid-November at the latest. Even if you’re taking the December LSAT, you should send in your application to us ahead of time. Use the Law Services electronic application that’s available now. It’s a great product and it works very, very well. You can just apply online through them. Our application is available on our website in PDF form too. But if you use the Law Services version everything comes to us in a bundle: your LSAT score, your letters of recommendation, your personal statement, and it expedites things for the candidate.

A lot of people make the mistake of filling out their applications over the Christmas holidays. But I start reading applications in late October, and I start making offers at that time. Because we have a finite number of offers to make, not only are there fewer spots available later in the process, the competition for those spots increases.” --TLS Interview with Dean of Admissions for UCBerkeley


I'm retaking, but I want to submit some of my applications now. Can I do that?
or
If I submit apps now with the old score, will schools wait to review my file until the new score shows up?

If you ask them to. However, if you ask them to review it as is, they will probably do that too. You just need to e-mail them, let them know you've submitted an application, and tell them you would like them to wait for the new score before reviewing or to please consider your application complete without the new score and review your file as is.

They usually say they won't even look at your app if they know a second score is coming in later... unless you tell them specifically to consider your application complete without the new score.

I wouldn't do an addendum. They might not read it until they are reviewing your file, or possibly not at all. Just e-mail the Admissions office and let them know. That way you are sure they received the information.

-Lzyoverachiever

Letters of Recommendation
Basics: http://www.top-law-schools.com/letters- ... ation.html

Q: Can the LOR writer fax it instead of mailing?
Fax number is 1 (215) 504-1444.
LSAC has updated their FAQ:
"LSAC does not recommend faxing because the image of the letter is not always clear, and the barcode on the form can be distorted. Either of these problems can cause a significant delay in processing. If faxed documents are clear they will be accepted; however there is no guarantee."
I faxed all of mine and they were fine.

Q: Can you e-mail or fax the signed sheet to the LOR writer?
Yes.

Q: How many?
Most want just 2. 3 should only be sent if you think all 3 are strong.

One idea is to send the recommended, and save the extra for waitlists.

Q: How do I give the forms to professors?
Either give it to them in person, mail it, or through e-mail. Be sure you send them a *signed* form, so if you're e-mailing it, print it out, sign it, and scan it in.

Q: What is with this Evaluations thing?
It's new. You probably won't need it. I'm not doing it. Check with each school.

Q: How do I submit LOR after I've submitted the app?
Just go in and assign the LOR to the schools you want. It will update.

Q: My LOR writer showed me the letter--have I screwed up the waiver?
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, educational institutions are supposed to allow you to see recommendations that are part of your file after enrolling at the institution as a student. If you waive this right, you will waive your right to ask your institution to show you this letter.

This does not mean you cannot view the letter--it means you cannot view it because the university, rather than the letter writer, gave it to you post-enrollment. If the writer wants to share it with you, that's fine, and totally within the requirements of the waiver.

Q: Should I waive this right?
It's generally considered a good idea--you don't want admissions officers wondering what you might be trying to hide or what you're afraid of writers saying.

Q: Can I use someone famous?
Only if they've supervised you in an academic manner.
--http://www.law.nyu.edu/admissions/jdadmissions/applicants/admissions_questions/recommendation_letters/index.htm

Q: How long are LORs on file for?
LSAC will store them for up to five years.

Should I use non-academic references?
This is going to be school-dependant and something you might consider asking individual schools about. If you don't want to call, scour for Dean interviews. For example, this response from Yale:
"Academic references are going to carry the most weight. Period. Particularly if you have a weaker part of your application, you really need to have phenomenal academic references who are willing to vouch for your performance as a student. If you’ve been out of school for a few years, I would suggest going back to your college professors and seeing if anyone would be willing to write one for you. If you think you’re going to be out of school for a while before you apply to law school, then plan ahead and get some professors to write you letters of recommendations now and place them on file with your undergraduate institution or set up an LSDAS account and let LSAC store them for you for up to five years.

I think only as a last resort -- you’ve been out of school for 10 years, none of your college professors remember you, etc. -- only then should you seek out employer recommendations that will speak to the kinds of things that an academic reference will. So, you’d want your employer to address writing and analytical skill, your intellectual curiosity, etc. Obviously, the closer they can be to the legal field, the better it will be for you. So if you’ve been a paralegal in a law office or worked for a judge, then that might be helpful, again, as a last resort."--Dean Asha from AdmissionsDean http://www.admissionsdean.com/researchi ... a-rangappa

Should I write my own if the professor/boss/etc. tells me to?
No.
1) It's against the rules. This should be enough to convince you. However..
2) If a professor doesn't like you enough to take the time to write it, just no.
3) You're sending at least one, if not multiple essays. You think they won't be able to tell it's the same person?

For other opinions, see this thread: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=127028

What if I've been out of school for a while and I can't get in touch with profs/they don't remember me?
They really want to see at least one academic LOR though from someone who can evaluate your ability as a student. Teaching assistants are also acceptable in place of professors. See response above. Still can't? Well, then, of course you have to ask an employer, who else could you ask?

Help! One of my professors suddenly backed out/hasn't been responding to me/etc. What should I do for the LOR now?
Figure out a backup professor--same guidelines for when you first selected it. Contact them ASAP and give them 3-4 weeks to do it. I personally wouldn't explain why you're asking so late. Just ask and give them time and don't pressure. You'll take a little bit of a timeliness hit, but whatever. To speed it up, have them fax (it works, many on here will vouch for that). Also, if you can't get to them physically, print out a form, sign it, scan it, convert it to a pdf (many websites will let you do this for free, just search for "jpg to pdf converter" ), and send in e-mail.

Fee Waivers
Basics & list:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=159780

Q: Do they mean I have a better shot?
No. They just want to increase # of applicants so they can reject more people.

Q: How do you get them?
CRS on LSAC. Look around. You can also e-mail and ask for them. If you do, basic form:

Hello,

I am really interested in applying to XXX Law School and am writing to ask if could be considered for a merit-based fee waiver. My LSAT is 1XX, GPA is X.XX, and my LSAC # is #######.

Thanks,
Eager Applicant

What about need-based waivers?
Eugenie says that it's apparently easier than getting one through LSAC to go directly to the schools (though some only honor LSAC):
"I emailed 10 schools with a basic request (no financial details). 8 replied within 2 days saying, "Here you go!" 2 asked for pretty basic financial info, and I'm waiting to hear. I just saved about $700!"

Q: I took the LSAT in previous cycles or am re-applying and am not receiving them, what should I do?
Last updated for the 2010-2011 cycle.
This thread has more info: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=127020
Wait until after the CRS wave goes out(which you can see in the thread linked) and e-mail politely and ask. So far this cycle(08/26/2010).

Schools with ninjas for admissions officers: (Managed to find us despite nobody else being able to)
Duke
Santa Clara

Horchata asked for a second fee waiver to use.
Schools that said yes:
UVA
Michigan
Boston U.
U. Illinois
UCLA
Vanderbilt
Minnesota
USD
ASU

Schools that said no:
Columbia
Penn

Q: When should I e-mail them to ask?
After the CRS wave.

Resume
How long should the resume be?
Some people insist you shouldn't go over 1 page, and Yale doesn't want more than 1. I did well with a 2 page resume. There is no TLS consensus.

Essay Reqs
Yale--App not available yet, and website is vague, so no idea. Separate 250 word supplemental required. No specific prompt.
Harvard--"Two pages, double spaced, using a font size that is comfortable to read (not less than 11 point)."
Stanford--"Enclose a statement of about two pages describing important or unusual aspects of yourself not otherwise apparent in your application."
Columbia--1-2 pages.

Addendums
Should I write an addendum for my LSAT score increase?
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=127964

Specific Application Questions
Do I need to disclose minor traffic violations?
This varies by school, here's a list of some of the known ones:
Schools That Do NOT Require Disclosure of Traffic Violations
Harvard
NYU

How much information do they need if they do require traffic violation disclosure?
Often a short list will suffice.
Date - Violation - Result (traffic school, paid, etc)



What are my chances?
Wrong forum, go here: viewforum.php?f=9
Also: http://www.lawschoolpredictor.com
Also: http://www.lawschoolnumbers.com
Also, 99% of our answers are based off of those two websites anyway.

Selecting Schools
Reaches, Targets, and Safeties.
Depending on your LSAT & GPA score, you might have a bizarre combination of schools that fall into these categories. People differ on what they think is appropriate, so feel free to discuss, but I think in general it's good to build from the bottom up. Find 1-2 safeties that you know you'll be happy with, then a handful 3-5 targets, and then decide on how many reaches to apply to based on how much money you can spend. The benefit of having more targets is that you can usually negotiate scholarship offers between them if they view each other as peers, and also wait until you've visited properly to decide. I'm a fan in general of applying to a number of reaches. Of course, this depends on what you can afford. You'll have to really find the balance on your own.

Using LSAC
Q: If I delay, will the things I send in (ex: LOR) still be there/available to use the next year?
Yes, as long as your account doesn't expire. The expiration date is listed in your account info.

How do I update transcripts?
Send them into LSAC. It will auto-update every single school you have sent a report to in that cycle.

Finding your official LSDAS GPA:
[All transcripts must be processed & your Academic Summary Report completed.]

Academic Summary Report
-Summary (bottom)
--Undergraduate Summary
---Cumulative GPA

Formatting

Q: How do you head personal statements and other essays? Is there supposed to be some sort of title (i.e. "Personal Statement")?
Titled what it is("Personal Statement", "Addendum", "Diversity Statement", "Supplemental Essay", etc.) with your name and LSAC number should do. An artistic title "My Life as a Ex Pop-Star" is unnecessary.



How do I take the LSAT 4 times?

UPDATE: This was changed in June 2011. Probably won't work anymore. Contact LSAC.
"I contacted a law school through e-mail asking for a waiver. When they said they would give me one, I gave them LSAC's fax number. If they do fax it, make sure that you give them LSAC's general fax number not their LOR fax number. If you send it to the general one they'll process the request quicker.

Note that if you have to do this, you'll have to call LSAC up and get your seat through the phone. Unless they've changed it for this cycle, the online LSAC system won't recognize the waiver."




Image
Last edited by acrossthelake on Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:36 pm, edited 13 times in total.

User avatar
Knock
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Re: 2011 Applicant FAQ and Questions thread

Postby Knock » Sun Oct 03, 2010 3:32 pm

Tagged, Thanks ATL!

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Pleasye
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Re: 2011 Applicants FAQ and Questions thread

Postby Pleasye » Sun Oct 03, 2010 3:44 pm

Knockglock wrote:Tagged, Thanks ATL!
+1

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Barbie
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Re: 2011 Applicants FAQ and Questions thread

Postby Barbie » Sun Oct 03, 2010 3:44 pm

home, sweet home.

4102011
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Re: 2011 Applicants FAQ and Questions thread

Postby 4102011 » Sun Oct 03, 2010 3:56 pm

Barbie wrote:home, sweet home.


+1 :(

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lifestooquick
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Re: 2011 Applicants FAQ and Questions thread

Postby lifestooquick » Sun Oct 03, 2010 4:10 pm

Barbie wrote:home, sweet home.


<3

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Jack Smirks
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Re: 2011 Applicants FAQ and Questions thread

Postby Jack Smirks » Sun Oct 03, 2010 4:12 pm

Barbie wrote:home, sweet home.

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nematoad
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Re: 2011 Applicants FAQ and Questions thread

Postby nematoad » Sun Oct 03, 2010 4:16 pm

aw what a bummer... 500 pages of history, shafted into the lounge

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acrossthelake
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Re: 2011 Applicants FAQ and Questions thread

Postby acrossthelake » Sun Oct 03, 2010 5:36 pm

WIN!

4102011
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Re: 2011 Applicants FAQ and Questions thread

Postby 4102011 » Sun Oct 03, 2010 6:06 pm

acrossthelake wrote:WIN!


<3 we are so proud of you ATL <3

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cigrainger
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Re: 2011 Applicants FAQ and Questions thread

Postby cigrainger » Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:17 pm

Awesome. Here's a question: As a foreign applicant without a GPA, should I mention that I think I might have been passed over in CRS searches for fee waivers in fee waiver request emails? Or should I just stick to the form letter? Is it cheeky to say something along the lines of "I believe I may have been passed over in your CRS searches because of my lack of GPA, but my academic report was evaluated by LSAC as 'Superior'".

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kazu
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Re: 2011 Applicants FAQ and Questions thread

Postby kazu » Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:21 pm

acrossthelake wrote:WIN!

<3<3<3 !!!!!!!!!

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kazu
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Re: 2011 Applicants FAQ and Questions thread

Postby kazu » Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:22 pm

Nightrunner wrote:
cigrainger wrote:Awesome. Here's a question: As a foreign applicant without a GPA, should I mention that I think I might have been passed over in CRS searches for fee waivers in fee waiver request emails? Or should I just stick to the form letter? Is it cheeky to say something along the lines of "I believe I may have been passed over in your CRS searches because of my lack of GPA, but my academic report was evaluated by LSAC as 'Superior'".

Honestly, I would mention it.

Me too. Just be careful of the tone - but as long as you come off sounding respectful I don't think they would find it problematic at all.

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cigrainger
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Re: 2011 Applicants FAQ and Questions thread

Postby cigrainger » Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:32 pm

Thanks guys! Definitely trying to be careful of tone.

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Barbie
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Re: 2011 Applicants FAQ and Questions thread

Postby Barbie » Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:58 pm

Um wait... LSAC evaluates and then names our report as "Superior" or ... other stuff. Where do we see this title??

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lifestooquick
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Re: 2011 Applicants FAQ and Questions thread

Postby lifestooquick » Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:59 pm

Barbie wrote:Um wait... LSAC evaluates and then names our report as "Superior" or ... other stuff. Where do we see this title??


Only for foreign applicants as they usually don't get an actual GPA.

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Barbie
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Re: 2011 Applicants FAQ and Questions thread

Postby Barbie » Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:01 pm

lifestooquick wrote:
Barbie wrote:Um wait... LSAC evaluates and then names our report as "Superior" or ... other stuff. Where do we see this title??


Only for foreign applicants as they usually don't get an actual GPA.


Ohh okay. Haha! I was like umm I want to see LSAC's opinion on meeeee! :D

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kazu
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Re: 2011 Applicants FAQ and Questions thread

Postby kazu » Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:33 pm

Barbie wrote:
lifestooquick wrote:
Barbie wrote:Um wait... LSAC evaluates and then names our report as "Superior" or ... other stuff. Where do we see this title??


Only for foreign applicants as they usually don't get an actual GPA.


Ohh okay. Haha! I was like umm I want to see LSAC's opinion on meeeee! :D


Maybe this info should get added to the OP? Or, nvm... just remembered there's already an "official foreign applicants" thread.

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Barbie
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Re: 2011 Applicants FAQ and Questions thread

Postby Barbie » Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:00 pm

So all of my applications have been submitted... some of which I got status checkers withing a few days, others about a week, one or two on the day it was submitted (even over the weekend... cool!) and then there are some that were submitted a while ago and I have heard nothing. Do some schools not do them? Or just take a while to get it out to you?

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cigrainger
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Re: 2011 Applicants FAQ and Questions thread

Postby cigrainger » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:37 pm

Barbie wrote:So all of my applications have been submitted... some of which I got status checkers withing a few days, others about a week, one or two on the day it was submitted (even over the weekend... cool!) and then there are some that were submitted a while ago and I have heard nothing. Do some schools not do them? Or just take a while to get it out to you?


Maybe we should all give this info so we can compile it and throw it in the OP. I was complete at UVA the same day I submitted, for example, but I still have heard zero back from NYU. A list of where has status checkers and how long they take to respond with them would be pretty useful so we know if we have reason to worry.

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kalvano
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Re: 2011 Applicants FAQ and Questions thread

Postby kalvano » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:39 pm

Barbie wrote:So all of my applications have been submitted... some of which I got status checkers withing a few days, others about a week, one or two on the day it was submitted (even over the weekend... cool!) and then there are some that were submitted a while ago and I have heard nothing. Do some schools not do them? Or just take a while to get it out to you?



Some don't do them, others are awful about updating them.

I was accepted / rejected at some schools an the status checker still said "under review".

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kazu
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Re: 2011 Applicants FAQ and Questions thread

Postby kazu » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:50 pm

Nightrunner wrote:Last year, I received an acceptance letter in the snail mail before my status checker changed. I literally went from "application received" to "Accepted."

Note to self: stop obsessively checking status checkers. Haunt local post office instead.

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Mike12188
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Re: 2011 Applicants FAQ and Questions thread

Postby Mike12188 » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:04 am

This is great! I can now find answers without having kitty pictures pop up in the middle of class.


I'll still browse the other thread in the privacy of my own home

WestOfTheRest
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Re: 2011 Applicants FAQ and Questions thread

Postby WestOfTheRest » Mon Oct 04, 2010 5:33 pm

Has anyone got a NYU status checker yet?

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lifestooquick
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Re: 2011 Applicants FAQ and Questions thread

Postby lifestooquick » Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:46 pm

If a financial aid website says the following for a certain type of scholarship: "No application is required. For consideration, applicants are encouraged to submit an essay that speaks of their leadership abilities."

Would you write a separate leadership essay or have your PS focus on leadership?




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