Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

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SPerez
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:16 am

ineptimusprime wrote:Also, do you foresee much of a tuition increase this year? I know last year it increased substantially. I know Tech is generally considered a best value law school. What steps are being taken to ensure that continues? In this huge information asymmetry that is law school admissions, tuition is about the only data transparent enough for us to evaluate.


I don't have any specific information on that. That process usually begins later in the spring semester with the Board of Regents making their decisions around late April-ish.

That said, there are some universal truths I think anyone who has gone to college in the last 20 years has observed and that is tuition always goes up. As soon as we know, I send out an email to all admitted students.

Our new dean has been a total road warrior since she started, visiting law firms and alumni all over the state. We also just hired a new experienced fundraiser so we hope to start seeing an uptick in the level of private giving over the next few years. People sometimes forget that we've only been around for about 40 years, with those early classes being pretty small. We have a lot of alumni who are just now entering the later stages of their careers where they have the capacity to really help out the law school in a big way. (I was a development officer for two years, and this is very encouraging to me.)

As far as value goes, our students are going to continue receiving the first rate, skills-focused education they always have. Our professors are going to continue to be both excellent teachers and scholars and one of the most accessible faculties in the nation. Those things are not going to change or diminish.

cooley4lyfe
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby cooley4lyfe » Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:38 am

ederted
Last edited by cooley4lyfe on Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SPerez
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Tue Jan 10, 2012 2:37 pm

ineptimusprime wrote:While you can't comment on individual files, are you able to speculate on when those who went into review 12/13 may start receiving decisions?


Totally able to speculate, but totally not going to. :)

A ton of people were assigned to the admissions committee over the break, but that doesn't mean that all started to be reviewed immediately on 12/13. Some in the group are near decision, while others still have several steps to go in the process. I know it might look like a long time on the calendar, but four weeks isn't really that much time and these particular four weeks included at least two weeks of vacation or grading finals for the admissions committee members.

Decisions should start to go out again soon, though. Classes start next week, and people are back in town and in the office, etc. I know it is tough, especially when you see others report very quick turnarounds, but those are the exceptions. Four-six weeks of being "In Review" is not uncommon.

SPerez
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:40 pm

kalvano wrote:Thanks for the thoughtful answer to my earlier question. Another one I had, and this is mostly just personal curiosity, is about rankings. TTU is currently #117, I think. Do you all ever pay much attention to rank? Do you have any goals to move up at all, or is it maybe easier to not have to worry about it so much, giving you a freedom to take who you want instead of focusing more heavily on the numbers?


You know, I don't actually pay attention to our specific ranking? Since the vast majority of our applicants come from and want to stay in Texas, right now it is more relevant to most applicants where we fall relative to the other schools in Texas (and a lesser extent the surrounding states).

I think most of my colleagues would agree that we would love to ignore "the rankings". And we would...as soon as applicants, alumni, and law firms stop putting so much stock in them. Yeah, big shock, the admissions guy doesn't like the rankings, right? :)

All law schools are run by and filled with high achieving individuals who, by and large, love to compete and win. We are always trying to get better and provide more for our students. Maybe those improvements lead to our rank going up, maybe they don't. It's possible to increase every single component metric yet still "drop" a few slots in one year, which causes people to think there is a "problem" that needs to be fixed. (As if there is any real difference between 60 and 65 or 76 and 88. Schools are actually VERY closely packed outside the top 50.)

For example, the reputation scores that play such a huge part in the overall rank are only sent to people like Federal judges and BigLaw partners. Ignoring for a moment the atrocious response rates, they are asked to rank every law school from 1 to 200-whatever-we're-up-to-now. That is a pretty ridiculous request, IMO. What are the odds that a hiring partner at a big NYC law firm knows anything about, say, Pitt, Kansas, and Hamline, let alone enough to be able to rank them relative to each other?

I don't have enough space here to get into all the problems and weird incentives the USNWR rankings create and all my various opinions on them, but I actually don't mind rankings as a concept. Applicants need them, but I believe there should be many different rankings tailored to different groups, e.g. public interest, practical skills, overall value, diversity, subject matter. The challenge now is that there is an 800 pound gorilla in USNWR and it will take another ranking time to bleed influence from them.

If I had a magic wand, I would only rank 1-25 nationally. After that I would make regional rankings, only sending out the reputation surveys to people in those regions. I'd also expand the Lawyer/Judge pool to include more blue-collar folks like state court judges, DAs, government lawyers, and small/mid-sized firm folks. I think regional rankings like these would be WAY more helpful to applicants. I might also do ratings in groups rather than straight numerical rankings, i.e. A+, A, B+, etc.

You'll have to wait for that, though. I don't think the magic wand is an option for my employment service gift until I get 50 years in. :D

fosterp
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby fosterp » Tue Jan 10, 2012 9:46 pm

How do adcomms view the existence of a a felony criminal record in an application? Do the applications take a significant hit in their chances of acceptance? I guess the obvious answer is that it depends on the crime, circumstances, time since offense, etc.

I guess I am wondering about the degree at which this can influence an application. Can an applicant well above a schools medians be rejected mainly on the basis of something they did as a juvenile? What kind of general rule should people follow when disclosing these matters in an addendum? Keeping it short and to the facts seems to be the general answer on these forums, but I can't help but wonder if if maybe admissions would want to know more than just a few sentences describing the date and time and what resulted.

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kalvano
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby kalvano » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:10 am

SPerez wrote:
kalvano wrote:Thanks for the thoughtful answer to my earlier question. Another one I had, and this is mostly just personal curiosity, is about rankings. TTU is currently #117, I think. Do you all ever pay much attention to rank? Do you have any goals to move up at all, or is it maybe easier to not have to worry about it so much, giving you a freedom to take who you want instead of focusing more heavily on the numbers?


You know, I don't actually pay attention to our specific ranking? Since the vast majority of our applicants come from and want to stay in Texas, right now it is more relevant to most applicants where we fall relative to the other schools in Texas (and a lesser extent the surrounding states).

I think most of my colleagues would agree that we would love to ignore "the rankings". And we would...as soon as applicants, alumni, and law firms stop putting so much stock in them. Yeah, big shock, the admissions guy doesn't like the rankings, right? :)

All law schools are run by and filled with high achieving individuals who, by and large, love to compete and win. We are always trying to get better and provide more for our students. Maybe those improvements lead to our rank going up, maybe they don't. It's possible to increase every single component metric yet still "drop" a few slots in one year, which causes people to think there is a "problem" that needs to be fixed. (As if there is any real difference between 60 and 65 or 76 and 88. Schools are actually VERY closely packed outside the top 50.)

For example, the reputation scores that play such a huge part in the overall rank are only sent to people like Federal judges and BigLaw partners. Ignoring for a moment the atrocious response rates, they are asked to rank every law school from 1 to 200-whatever-we're-up-to-now. That is a pretty ridiculous request, IMO. What are the odds that a hiring partner at a big NYC law firm knows anything about, say, Pitt, Kansas, and Hamline, let alone enough to be able to rank them relative to each other?

I don't have enough space here to get into all the problems and weird incentives the USNWR rankings create and all my various opinions on them, but I actually don't mind rankings as a concept. Applicants need them, but I believe there should be many different rankings tailored to different groups, e.g. public interest, practical skills, overall value, diversity, subject matter. The challenge now is that there is an 800 pound gorilla in USNWR and it will take another ranking time to bleed influence from them.

If I had a magic wand, I would only rank 1-25 nationally. After that I would make regional rankings, only sending out the reputation surveys to people in those regions. I'd also expand the Lawyer/Judge pool to include more blue-collar folks like state court judges, DAs, government lawyers, and small/mid-sized firm folks. I think regional rankings like these would be WAY more helpful to applicants. I might also do ratings in groups rather than straight numerical rankings, i.e. A+, A, B+, etc.

You'll have to wait for that, though. I don't think the magic wand is an option for my employment service gift until I get 50 years in. :D


Thanks, that's very interesting. I didn't know that about where they send the surveys, and I agree that's kind of bogus.

It does help explain disparities in rankings though as far as success within regions goes. I completely agree that after a certain number, 25 or whatever, it needs to be regional rankings.

Thanks for being pretty candid.

SPerez
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:31 am

jrthor10 wrote:What is the first thing you, and potentially your peers, look at when you open an applicant file? I'm specifically curious about the importance/impact of the resume. Some people say its the first thing they look at, others don't even mention it in their analysis.

Thanks


Everybody has a different way of reviewing files. I think it's pretty safe to say that at least one person reads everything you submitted (yes, including the LSAT writing sample...I'm looking at you, guy - b/c it's always a guy - who puts something snarky at the end of the sample, often beginning with "because I know no one is actually reading this").

Even if people may not mention the resume, you can be sure everyone looks at it. In close cases, it can be the difference (that is, the record of participation and achievement it documents). All things being equal (in those rare occasions), any school would rather have students that have actually DONE stuff, be that volunteer activity, on-campus involvement, work experience, military or whatever. An unprofessional, busy, or poorly formatted resume can really turn off a reviewer. Oh, and because I just saw this yesterday, don't include your photo. Also, we don't need an "Objective" or "Summary" section at the top, either.

Personally, I reviewed files differently at Idaho, where we had paper files, than I do here where we're paperless. At Idaho, the contents of the files were kept in order - application, CAS report, everything else - so I just pulled everything out and started reading. The applicant's LSAT/GPA were on the outside of the folder so I already knew what they were before reading.

With paperless it's a bit different. You start with this window that includes, among other things, a list of all your documents (application, report, etc.) and a button that says "View All". I usually just hit that, causing a cascade of pdf windows to open in a seemingly random order. Sometimes I just start reading the last thing to open. Other times I do a quick check of the CAS report for the applicant's numbers because the webpage that lists that information in a matrix for everyone in my queue (currently much closer to 200 than a few days ago) is sort of hard to read.

After that, it's a lot of scrolling. I do read everything, though, including the biographic information like address, high school, parents address. This is the first year of LSAC's "FlexApp" which allows schools to use sets of standard questions so it's taken a little getting used to seeing information in different formats than we were used to or new questions we don't necessarily care about but can't remove from the standard set. As you would think, I spend the most time on the personal statement.

Then I move to the CAS report. Unless there are red flags on the top page, I usually don't scrutinize the actual transcripts too closely. For example, if the applicant's LSAC GPA is 3.79 and there are no years where there is a significant drop then I skip to the LORs. If I see one year in there that's a 3.0, then I'll check out the transcripts to see what happened. If the overall LSAC GPA is on the lower side I will look at the transcripts to see if there was an upward trend or any other pattern to the poor or good grades.

Lastly, I do a quick read of the LORs to make sure there isn't anything major that doesn't support the other things I've read. I.e., if the person has a 4.0 I just want to make sure all the professor LORs say how great of a student they are. Being honest, the letters I read through the "quickest" are ones that are from family friends. They always include the sentence "I have known <name> and their family for many years..." near the beginning. Once I see that, it becomes hard for me to put much stock into anything that person says.

During this process I'm typing notes on what I see, and at the end I enter my recommendation and move on to the next file. Speaking of...

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KevinP
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby KevinP » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:49 am

SPerez wrote:I haven't seen the December LSAT numbers yet, but the number of people taking both the June 2011 and October 2011 LSATs were down significantly, more than 17% each.

If you are curious, and I'm guessing you probably are, the number of December test takers was approximately 36,000, which is approximately a 14% decline from last year.

Source:
LSAC's report newsletter:
http://www.lsac.org/LSACResources/Publi ... LSRDEC.pdf

SPerez wrote: Fewer people looking to go to law school always freaks all of us out. It's hard for all of us to maintain the quality of our classes, let alone improve, when there aren't as many highly qualified students to go around. At the same time, those people are still applying to more schools (a byproduct of making the online application process TOO easy). This means we're all competing with, usually, about one more school for each admitted student.

What some schools do (mostly privates and the publics that don't depend on their state for funding) is reduce their class size, making up the revenue decrease with reserves, increased tuition, increased private fundraising, or all three. If you reduce your class size from 150 to 130 and you're shooting for a median GPA of 3.75, that means the school only has to find 65 students with 3.75 or higher GPAs instead of 75. A marginally easier task (theoretically). Other schools, however, may not have the financial ability to reduce the class size - fewer students equals less revenue - or the ability to drastically increase their private fundraising. Those schools are going to work very hard to increase their yield on the students they do admit in hopes that more of the better students in their admitted class end up matriculating, thereby allowing them to maintain their LSAT/GPA numbers and enrollment.

The rub here is that this isn't happening in a vacuum. Schools higher up in the rankings will end up dipping a bit lower in their pools to meet their goals, which picks them off the top of schools below them. This forces those schools to do the same, and so on down the food chain. This is particularly acute in metropolitan areas like New York, LA, or Florida that have multiple law schools where students don't really have to move or change their goals significantly to attend that other school. (E.g. A student planning on going to South Texas who gets in at UH off the waitlist in July has few barriers to making that switch - there's still time to return/buy books, haven't paid tuition, deposit is gone, but doesn't need to move. Compare that to what a UT student admitted to a fancy East Coast school in the same scenario would have to do.)

I am not privy to what every law school is planning on doing to address this change, of course. I'll be interested to keep an eye on TLS to see how this plays out. My guess is that students might start to see an increase in emails, mailings, Facebook posts, local events, etc. Although, I suppose y'all won't really know it's an "increase" unless you went through all this in a previous app cycle. :)

Thanks for the valuable insight; I never thought about the particular distinction in metropolitan areas. Also, I wanted to say to say thanks for opening up the admissions process. It definitely is a refreshing step away from the typical "blackbox" approach.

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:58 pm

cooley4lyfe wrote:Thanks for taking questions Dean. What is your perspective on a student who initially agrees and is accepted to the binding early decision process but later decides to sit out the cycle. Is the student then absolved of the responsibility to matriculate and then free to apply to other schools the following year? Thanks


I'm assuming that you're talking about sitting out just because you think you can get into better schools the second time around and not due to some personal situation that makes it necessary to postpone law school.

I'd say it all depends on the terms outlined in the acceptance letter, but my guess is that your seat deposit only binds you to that cycle. Once it ends and you do not matriculate, you've lost your seat and your money. New application cycle starts over.

Understand, though, that a school probably won't forget that you did that so don't be surprised if they don't accept you early the following year. Doing that makes it pretty clear, whatever you might say in your statement, that the particular school is not in your top group of choices. No law school wants to take someone that doesn't want to be there if they can help it.

Like with anything, it's best to call the specific school and ask them directly.

SPerez
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:18 pm

fosterp wrote:How do adcomms view the existence of a a felony criminal record in an application? Do the applications take a significant hit in their chances of acceptance? I guess the obvious answer is that it depends on the crime, circumstances, time since offense, etc.


Correct. Totally depends on the "facts of the case", as it were, in addition to evidence of reform/contrition.

fosterp wrote:Can an applicant well above a schools medians be rejected mainly on the basis of something they did as a juvenile?


Sure, anything is possible. I don't see many juvenile offenses because we don't require disclosure of expunged or sealed offenses, but the vast majority of those offenses are typically minor, e.g. MIP, petty theft, fighting. Virtually every time there are no other incidents in the file and they happened many years prior to application.

fosterp wrote:What kind of general rule should people follow when disclosing these matters in an addendum? Keeping it short and to the facts seems to be the general answer on these forums, but I can't help but wonder if if maybe admissions would want to know more than just a few sentences describing the date and time and what resulted.


You absolutely DO NOT want to just give the bare facts, in my opinion. Personally, we ask for enough detail to get a sense of the incident that gave rise to the offense, which you can't get from merely "MIP, May 2010". Students should also include at least a few sentences on what they learned from the incident, why it won't happen again, and they should show some contrition for the crime. I don't need a whole novella, but I do need at least enough to get an accurate picture of what happened and why. If we need more, we'll ask, but we would rather not have to do that in the first place. It makes it look like the applicant is trying to hide something.

I always find it interesting how some applicants will just list the What/When/Where for fairly serious or multiple similar offenses (i.e. several MIPs followed by several DUIs over a period of time), while I have other applicants write more than a page on relatively minor things like getting cited by their RA for having a hot plate in their room.

The rule of thumb I give is that it's always better to err on the side of over-disclosure.

SPerez
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:56 am

I received this question via PM, and I thought others might have the same one...

"I have dual-credit courses from high school, and I am trying to graduate in three years. This past semester I let some things get in the way of my studies and I made a D and a C. I was wondering what my chances of getting into law school were. I am retaking (the courses). If I do really well from here on out and do AMAZING on my LSAT is there still a chance I can get into a top school? I have an internship lined up this summer with the District Attorney in my Area and have a few other extra things going for me. I am also curious as to how law schools look at courses that have be retaken."

This situation is very common. I was an engineering major my first semester and got 3 Cs and an A so I've been there.

It's impossible to say what anyone's chances are 2 years from now at elite schools. Suffice it to say that they are very small for virtually all law school applicants, even those with extraordinary (and blemish free) grades, LSATs, and resumes. Assuming a "bad semester" is just that, one semester, and this student finishes with near perfect grades, AND scores in the top 2% of LSAT takers then sure, they've still got a chance. You can see, though, how one in this situation might still want a Plan B.

I understand that many applicants have a dream school, and that's fine. However, I want applicants to understand that those elite schools are not the be all, end all of law schools and legal education. You can get an excellent education at many other law schools, and you might even find those places a better fit for you. In short, if you don't get in to a T14 school it does not mean you are doomed to live in a van down by the river.

I also want to quickly point out for the folks that might be a little earlier in the process that grades from high school dual-credit courses will count towards your LSAC GPA. This is also true of grades for classes you retake, regardless of your own school's policy on grade replacement. In short, every grade counts until you get that diploma, so don't slack off in that summer school course you're taking at the local community college because your adviser told you the grade wouldn't transfer.

When you have a bad semester (or bad year, or bad years), you can't go back and change the past. You just have to focus on doing the best you can going forward. It really doesn't matter what your particular "bad GPA' is because the advice I just gave applies to everyone all the time. You should always be trying to get A's, anyway, right? (You'll also want to write an addendum, but that's another post.)

Things like a legal internship are nice, but they aren't going to make up for a bad GPA that's far outside the range for a school. ("Softs" do make a difference in other ways. I'm not saying that they are irrelevant by any means.) That said, such law-related internships are very valuable to you as a person and future lawyer. They give you work experience, networking contacts, and help you start thinking about what kind of law you might want to practice. Applicants should continue to pursue them for this reason separate from whether or not they will help one get into law school.

So the takeaway here is "Chin up!". One bad semester isn't the end of the world! (Provided you take care of business from there on out, of course).

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pupshaw
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby pupshaw » Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:56 pm

Can you give any insight into yield protection? Most people on these boards seem pretty convinced that it happens everywhere outside of the T6, whereas admissions deans universally deny its existence. Would you be disinclined to accept someone with T14 numbers, on the assumption that they would be unlikely to attend? Would they need to go out of their way to convince you of their interest?

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chill
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby chill » Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:00 pm

Can you talk a bit about your specific career path? I'm very interested in doing some sort of work with higher education & am pretty drawn to the idea of ultimately landing in an admissions dean position somewhere. You mentioned you have a JD- how did you get from graduation to where you are now?

SPerez
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:19 pm

cerealdan wrote:Can you give any insight into yield protection? Most people on these boards seem pretty convinced that it happens everywhere outside of the T6, whereas admissions deans universally deny its existence. Would you be disinclined to accept someone with T14 numbers, on the assumption that they would be unlikely to attend? Would they need to go out of their way to convince you of their interest?



You know, that's one thing that I'm curious about, too. I've never actually asked any of my colleagues about it directly. It makes sense to the "conspiracy theory" minded, cynical types, and it definitely has a logic to it. However, I wonder if any of that feeling could be attributed to applicants searching for meaning and order in a process that sometimes produces results that don't SEEM to make sense. I emphasize "seem" because only the person reviewing the files has all the information, and it is quite possible seemingly odd/"random"/inconsistent decisions have a perfectly reasonable explanation.

I understand that the margins (or perceived margins) at the very top of the heap are razor thin, such that not accepting a handful of students from a giant pool of applicants might make some miniscule difference in one aspect of the USNWR rankings calculations (which is, itself, a very small percentage of the overall score). However, I find it hard to believe that a school would deny someone they otherwise want JUST for this reason. It seems more likely to me that there is something negative in the file that is more responsible, e.g. pompous or poorly written PS, bad LORs, or negative impression made during a visit or interview.

Now, we're not oblivious. I can tell when I'm an applicant's safety school. No one likes being a consolation prize, but I'm also not going to cut off my nose to spite my face, generally speaking. That just puts more onus and challenge on me to attempt to change their mind. If I can sway one or two top people per year away from a top school, I'd say that's not too shabby.

If a school really has no chance and the applicant knows full well they would never come no matter what Admissions said, what big time faculty member called them, or how big of a scholarship we gave them, then I just ask applicants do the right thing and let a school know they aren't coming as soon as they decide rather than simply never responding to the deposit deadline.

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby Syme » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:10 pm

Typographical errors.

Just submitted an app to one of HYS where the word "is" was omitted in an addenda. I know that in the pantheon of typos, this is relatively minor. Assuming no other typos, can you conceive of a scenario where this has an actual negative effect on my chances? Debating whether or not I should send along a new version of the document but am worried that won't be perceived well.

How do you approach typos in the review process?

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby Mce252 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:19 pm

How many of your top students do you see transfering out at the end of their first year?

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby texas man » Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:57 pm

Great to see you taking questions on TLS, Dean Perez!

Applicants, take note: Dean Perez is just one of the great people at a great law school.

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby Star*Aloe » Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:41 am

slow application cycle?

SPerez
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:20 am

chill wrote:Can you talk a bit about your specific career path? I'm very interested in doing some sort of work with higher education & am pretty drawn to the idea of ultimately landing in an admissions dean position somewhere. You mentioned you have a JD- how did you get from graduation to where you are now?


How I got here is a bit of a story, but I'll try to abbreviate it a bit.

I use myself as an example of what not to do. I did not go to law school with a burning desire to become an attorney. I saw masters degrees as being too limiting and narrow of focus, and I, like many of us here, was told at some point by someone "You like to argue. You should go to law school." I really enjoyed law school, though, as it is a nexus for many different disciplines. I found the work interesting and challenging, and I have found the training I received to be beneficial in many aspects of my professional life. But back in olden days when I went, around the turn of the century, my law school's tuition was less than $10,000 (I think my 1L year it was like $7,500). The interest rates on student loans when I graduated were around 2%. As you guys know, this is no longer the case.

So, in law school I sort of gravitated more towards courses that ended with "and the law" and away from those that might actually prepare me for the practice of law. I also chose to study abroad the fall of my 3L year which did 2 things: 1) I went to Australia so the semester started in July so I wasn't able to find a summer clerkship that fit, and 2) I wasn't around for OCI.

When I started my job search (too late, really), I asked myself two questions. First, what kinds of jobs would my resume make me competitive for, and second, what did I really enjoy in law school. The answer to the second question was my position as a student recruiter. UTLaw has a student group called the Student Recruitment & Orientation Committee. I was in it three years, chairing it for two. I've given more tours of Townes Hall that pretty much anyone alive, I think. I really enjoyed being able to help students separate the hype from the truth. Much of my resume was also related to education (tutoring, mentoring, job with education law firm). So I thought I'd try to find a job in this area.

The best I could have hoped for would have been a position as an Admissions Counselor somewhere, then move up the ladder. The pay for these is pretty low ($35k or less), but I was fortunate enough to be in a position that this wouldn't be a deal breaker. I was lucky enough to get hired as the Director of Admissions (bigger title, but not that much more money) at the University of Idaho College of Law two weeks before the Texas Bar Exam. Not bad for a 26 year old, I though. I also applied for jobs in undergrad admission, but didn't get any responses at all to those. My guess is that there are hundreds of universities cranking out thousands of M.Ed.'s and UG admissions offices are more familiar and comfortable with that profile. I wasn't any more successful in applying for non-law school, mostly student affairs-type positions even with several years of experience in law school admissions.

It took me six years to reach "dean" level, but it can often take much longer depending on the org chart at the school you're at (e.g. at Idaho we just had a Director of Admissions and no Asst. Dean for admissions), whether you're willing to move, and things like that.

About half of law school admissions officers don't have JDs, though. Many have advanced degrees in other areas. Others come from sales/marketing backgrounds and wind up working their way up from admissions counselor-type positions. Some admissions deans are hired out of practice. The percentage of JDs increases as you get to the higher positions like dean, though.

I also did development/fundraising at Idaho Law. An alum with a JD can be a very effective fundraiser for a law school. Many schools also have lawyers in their Planned Giving offices since that aspect of fundraising deals exclusively with trusts, bequests, and the tax implications for people that leave schools money in their wills.

It is true that you can do anything with a law degree. However, I always point out that I believe there is an asterisk to this statement. I think most (although admittedly I have no data to back this up) people with JDs who are not practicing law are either doing something they were doing before they went to law school or practiced law in an area for some period of time before venturing on to that other thing. One should not go to law school with the goal of pursuing some other career that is unrelated to their past experience and/or law. I think this is doubly true now considering the reality of what law school costs. I consider myself very fortunate to have found this career while in law school and to be able to do what I do day in and day out. I love coming to work every day, and that's the truth.

If anyone has follow up questions, I'd be happy to answer them.

SPerez
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:48 pm

Syme wrote:Typographical errors.

Just submitted an app to one of HYS where the word "is" was omitted in an addenda. I know that in the pantheon of typos, this is relatively minor. Assuming no other typos, can you conceive of a scenario where this has an actual negative effect on my chances? Debating whether or not I should send along a new version of the document but am worried that won't be perceived well.

How do you approach typos in the review process?


That's a good question, mostly because you're asking ME how I view them HERE. I don't think I know enough about how razor thin the distinctions made between files are at the elite schools.

For us, a - as in one - typo or mistake like omitting a word as you described isn't the end of the world. It is a slight ding because it is an example of a lack of attention to detail (a big deal to law professors), but if the rest of your app is solid it is very unlikely it will be fatal. The problems come in when the mistakes start to pile up and progress from typos to flat-out misspellings (even autocorrect mistakes) and worse.

If it's something that will bother you, you might just want to submit the corrected version if only to reduce your own stress. If the choice is between A) submitting a corrected version and drawing attention to the mistake (which honestly, they will notice anyway) or B) not doing so and leaving them to believe you never caught the mistake, I'd say A is the lesser of two evils. Still, if you don't get in to those schools I doubt that particular mistake, by itself, will be the reason.

SPerez
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:00 pm

Mce252 wrote:How many of your top students do you see transfering out at the end of their first year?


Very few. I don't know how many students ever go past just the information available in the webforms for schools on the ABA/LSAC Official Guide website, but the exact number of transfers out and in is actually on the PDF pages for each school.

Here's a link to our page. [EDIT: Link fixed.]

We only had 4 transfer out last year (and 3 in). I looked back at the data for the last few years, and that was pretty consistent. One year we only had 1 out, but most years it was 3 or 4 in each direction. From what I understand (since this is my first full year here and I didn't know the students before), most of those that transfer out do so for personal/family reasons more than out of unhappiness with Lubbock or simply looking to trade up.
Last edited by SPerez on Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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surfer
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby surfer » Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:26 am

SPerez wrote:Personally, I reviewed files differently at Idaho, where we had paper files, than I do here where we're paperless. At Idaho, the contents of the files were kept in order - application, CAS report, everything else - so I just pulled everything out and started reading. The applicant's LSAT/GPA were on the outside of the folder so I already knew what they were before reading.

With paperless it's a bit different.


The post about your personal review process was very interesting. Thank you for explaining it.

AmaryllisBelladonna
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby AmaryllisBelladonna » Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:25 pm

Dean Perez,

What would you suggest an applicant do if he or she is “held” and what are the applicant’s chances of eventually being accepted after a hold? Thanks for answering questions!

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chill
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby chill » Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:16 pm

Can you see how often/when we check our status via the LSAC checker (assuming TT uses one)?

THIS IS MY WORST FEAR.

cdj588
Posts: 21
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby cdj588 » Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:24 am

Would you say someone who went to Tech for undergrad has a better chance of getting into Tech Law than a non-Tech grad? Or is the undergrad school not really relevant?




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