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 Dec 10, 2013 2:11 pm

7ofNine wrote:Hi Dean Perez,

I was wondering if it makes a difference in your review of an application if a student seems very likely to have a law job upon graduation. For example they have a parent that is an attorney and/or they work in a law office and have glowing LOR's from attorney's ready to hire them as soon as they pass the bar? Considering schools are getting hammered on their employment statistics does this sort of thing factor into the application review at all?

Thanks!!


I think this is a GREAT and timely question. It's one that's been on my mind lately and that I plan to ask my colleagues the next time we're hanging out before/after a recruiting event. I'm just as curious as you are to find out how much employability might come into play in the admissions decision for individual committee members at other schools.

Obviously, I'm not going to get into the details of our deliberations "in the room", but I can give you my personal opinion on it. I haven't thought about it too deeply, but my initial reaction was that a student's supposed future potential of finding a job should not be considered in the admissions process. I consider myself a very egalitarian, root for the underdog kind of guy. When it comes to us trying to guess a person's odds of employment, the things I think of that would inform that are almost always the product of wealth and privilege. You listed a few - parents who are attorneys, growing up in a wealthy neighborhood with a lot of attorneys/judges, being frat buddies with a guy who's parent is attorney judge - all of which easily leads to jobs in said law firms during college. At state schools, you also have the politicians' kids and at any school you have kids/friends of big donors or board members, too.

So to give a little bump to those students, in my mind, is to perpetuate that privilege. It is true that those applicants can't help who they were born to or in what zip code they were raised, but why then should they receive a benefit for something they had no control over, that does not really equate to "merit", over someone else that did not have those advantages? If I had to choose between the two, I'd prefer to give the opportunity to the person for whom it would really be an opportunity that could change their life, not the person for whom law school is just one of a bunch of options.

I'll point out here that I'm aware that there are people who, for whatever reason, did not come from privilege but nevertheless have developed the connections that lead to these kinds of benefits. They were in the poor part of a rich school district so their friends' parents were well off (can't tell you how many LORs I get that start with "I've known Johnny his entire life. He and my son played football together at fill-in-the-blank powerhouse high school.") or they busted their hump to earn a job in their university president's office. That's not who I'm talking about. Relatively speaking, there aren't many of these compared to the my first examples.

Keep in mind, too, that this is only an issue when the file isn't good enough on its own to earn admission. It's not like the rich kid with 160+/3.75+ is getting dinged, but the blue-collar guy with a 145/3.0 is getting in. The range where something like future employability would even be a factor (if it is one at all) would be at the bottom of the class, under the 25th percentile. The "last teams in" March Madness or "Mr. Irrelevant" in the NFL draft, if you like sports metaphors. Here at Tech, for example, it would be students with combos like 150-152/3.00, just sort of academically "meh". Or maybe splitters like 155 (our median)/2.8 or 3.4 (close to our median)/147.

At this point, to use another sports metaphor, we could go to the Olympic "degree of difficulty" scale. If we're trying to find a diamond in the rough, someone with untapped potential, who do we take? On one hand, someone who went to very good public/elite private schools K-12, got into a good college and got mediocre grades in an easy major, was able to take LSAT prep courses and didn't have to work, etc. On the other, someone from a rural school district with no AP courses (like mine growing up) or an inner-city school with a 65% dropout rate, who worked full-time all through schools to pay for community college then the local open-enrollment public university, and tried to self-study between shifts.

I purposely created those two extreme examples to illustrate the point. Things are never that distinct of course, and the same information can be evaluated differently by different adcoms. For example in the above scenario, someone might vote for the first person because despite their chronic under-achieving, their K-16 education was a higher quality so they might be better prepared for law school, and therefore have a better chance of success than the second person.

There are other situations, though. Anecdotally, I've heard people say that older students who have been in the workforce fare better in their job searches than K-JD students so that might be another way an adcom might consider employabitlity. Military folks fall in this category, too. I had an alum tell me this exact thing once. He said the students that were most successful in his firm's interview process were those that had some life-experience and had interviewed for jobs before.

I know I just threw a lot on the page in this post that could be considered touchy or controversial so I am happy to clarify or delve deeper into something if someone asks. Knowing TLS's tendency to reduce everything down and squeeze all the nuance out of things, I just ask that folks not make the TL;DNR version of this "Tech/Dean Perez hates rich people". :)

Dean Perez

SPerez
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Fri Dec 13, 2013 5:34 pm

HYSenberg wrote:
SPerez wrote:
Pneumonia wrote:LSAC has a feature that allows applicants to rank the schools to which they are appplying; I take it that the schools don't have access to this ranking?


I wasn't aware this existed, but if it saves me from having to troll LSN and TLS profiles then I'm all for it! haha...

I'm nearly 100% positive law schools don't have access to that.

Dean Perez


Are you admitting that adcoms actively search LSN profiles to YP?



I can't admit or not admit to what any other adcoms do or don't do. Most are probably either too busy or too techno-phobic to regularly scour the internet for this stuff. Others want all the "data" they can get and can't help but look if they know the data is readily available. I doubt many actually do it to YP. To the extent they do look individual people up, I would guess it's later in the process when things have slowed down and they've already admitted most of their class. I tend to do it end of cycle to see where people who never respond to any of my correspondence decided to go.

In a related story, our communications people receive alerts when Tech Law is indexed on Google or mentioned on social media. They forwarded me a tweet recently from a guy admitted who was decidedly "meh" about it. He then said to a scamblogger who interjected his 2cents that we were just his "safety school". You know, b/c you don't want the cool kids to know you're interested in a non-HYS school.

One day people will learn to lock down their sh stuff and not put all their business on the interwebs, and on that day I will be sad because I won't have anything to read on slow days like today. :)

Dean Perez

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7ofNine
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby 7ofNine » Fri Dec 13, 2013 5:47 pm

Thanks Dean Perez! That is an interesting take on the matter! It was not really the answer I expected but it makes a lot of sense as well. I would be very curious to see how others view this. :)

SPerez
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Fri Dec 20, 2013 7:03 pm

midwest17 wrote:Is this really that serious a problem? I would think that admissions committees would be pretty good at understanding when an alternative offer was one that might actually pull students away, versus when it's just being used for negotiation.

Personally, there are schools I'm applying to that I really don't expect to attend. But that doesn't mean that if things go badly differently than I'm expecting, I wouldn't go to those schools. There's no school on my list that I wouldn't attend with a full ride, for instance.

I'm also not really seeing how we can say that the negotiation process is bad for the overall system. It ends up with schools giving out more scholarships, obviously, but it also means that at least some students are paying less than they otherwise would. It's not obvious to me that that's good or bad, on net.

In fact, doesn't the negotiation process help admissions officers by increasing the amount of information at their disposal? If we somehow forbade communication between admissions and prospective students, schools would have to guess at the scholarship amounts needed to attract students. That process would probably have a lot of error, and likely encourage schools to err on the high side for competitive applicants.

By contrast, the current system allows them to lowball a bit with the initial offer, and then negotiate upwards if necessary. So I guess it's not even clear to me that negotiations do lead to, overall, higher scholarships.


I could have sworn I responded to this a few weeks ago, but I must not have actually posted it before shutting down my laptop. Here's the abbreviated, 4pm-on-the-last-day-before-the-Christmas-break answer.

The extent to which it's a "problem" sort of depends on where you are on the food chain and if it's your proverbial ox that's being gored or not. I think schools in urban areas where they compete with several, often near identical, schools face the most pressure since students don't even have the pressure of housing/moving to make them make a final decision sooner rather than later.

You put your finger on the difference when you said there isn't a school on your list you wouldn't attend (even if you would need a full ride to do so). It's the perception that at least some applicants are essentially bluffing and apply to schools they would NEVER attend with the specific intention of using their offer as leverage elsewhere.

When I said negotiation of scholarships can be bad for the system as a whole, even if it is good for individual students, I meant it this way. That extra money that Person A gets has to come from somewhere. If I increase someone from Full Ride - $10k to Full Ride, that $10k is money that could/would have gone to someone else so that person loses out. To the extent that schools have to increase their scholarship budgets, that money has to be accounted for elsewhere. They can increase revenue (increase tuition, enroll more students, start non-JD degree programs) or reduce expenses (fire staff, leave faculty positions unfilled, cut student org funding, etc.).

We absolutely want more "information" at our disposal, but scholarship negotiation isn't the only way to do that. That's why I call students, email them, have receptions, etc.

I'm sure I wrote other, much more illuminating and genius comments, but I don't remember them. :)

Dean Perez

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby Instinctive » Sat Dec 21, 2013 5:21 pm

How soon do you (and other schools, as I'm trying to extrapolate your response) want/need people to make decisions on scholarships and attendance in order to make that money available to somebody else in a timely/useful manner?

Example: Let's say I have 5 full scholarship offers, but I don't know which of the schools I'd attend right now. Obviously I wouldn't be going to all 5, but, ethically, how long do I have before I'm going to hurt another applicant by not making a decision? What advice would you give a student on setting her/his own timeline for actually making that decision and unlocking the money for someone else at a school you eventually decide against attending?


(Note: I have not been accepted that many places, nor do I have scholarships like that. Trying to get at the principle of the issue)

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby midwest17 » Sat Dec 21, 2013 7:44 pm

SPerez wrote:When I said negotiation of scholarships can be bad for the system as a whole, even if it is good for individual students, I meant it this way. That extra money that Person A gets has to come from somewhere. If I increase someone from Full Ride - $10k to Full Ride, that $10k is money that could/would have gone to someone else so that person loses out. To the extent that schools have to increase their scholarship budgets, that money has to be accounted for elsewhere. They can increase revenue (increase tuition, enroll more students, start non-JD degree programs) or reduce expenses (fire staff, leave faculty positions unfilled, cut student org funding, etc.).


I guess my feeling is that that reallocation is probably a good thing on net. It means that the students that are more desirable to schools are getting more money, and those that are less desirable are getting less. Ideally that would lead to more of the former group and fewer of the latter group going to law school. If schools are using good criteria of desirability, then wouldn't that lead to an overall better pool of graduates and lawyers?

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:42 pm

Instinctive wrote:How soon do you (and other schools, as I'm trying to extrapolate your response) want/need people to make decisions on scholarships and attendance in order to make that money available to somebody else in a timely/useful manner?

Example: Let's say I have 5 full scholarship offers, but I don't know which of the schools I'd attend right now. Obviously I wouldn't be going to all 5, but, ethically, how long do I have before I'm going to hurt another applicant by not making a decision? What advice would you give a student on setting her/his own timeline for actually making that decision and unlocking the money for someone else at a school you eventually decide against attending?

(Note: I have not been accepted that many places, nor do I have scholarships like that. Trying to get at the principle of the issue)

That's really going to depend on the school. If most do what I do, it's not a strict 1:1 ratio for scholarship offers. I.e., if my budget is $1 million, I don't just offer $1 million then wait for people to cancel. I know a certain percentage of students will not accept their offers so I over-award by a certain percentage. Determining what that percentage should be is closer to alchemy some years, but it's something I have to monitor closely to make sure I don't over or under spend.

Because of that, there's really no specific date. Earlier is better, of course. If you decide to bail on the first day of orientation then that would be too late to allocate the money, most likely. (If I'm already over budget, I can't reallocate. If I'm under, makes more sense to save that money for the next cycle or reward people after 1L who rock it and didn't get anything coming in.)

My advice to people in that situation is to do everything they need to do to make a decision. Visit, talk to students, attend events, etc. Don't just sit back and think about it for a few minutes a week hoping it will just suddenly become clear. I suggest people narrow it down to two, three at MOST (absent specific special circumstances, e.g. trailing spouse considerations). I figure most of you guys aren't jerks and are self-motivated to make a decision and get on with your lives. Before about July, I don't think I really have to put any additional pressure on people to decide.

Regular decision deposit deadlines aren't before April 1 so schools aren't expecting decisions before then. Most people will be trying to make their decisions around that time so they can start making plans (apartments, etc.). After our first deposit deadline, we see where we stand after all the dust settles. If I end up under budget, then it's in my interests to get new/increased awards out ASAP before people get too settled in their decisions, pay deposits elsewhere, etc. We happen to have a second deposit due June 1 so this process happens again after that.

To those who might be in such situations, I think the Golden Rule applies. If you're honestly deliberating between schools and are doing your best to gather the info you need to decide, I don't think most people would take issue. Eventually, though, one admit's delay could be impacting the lives/plans of others. Everyone has to decide eventually, and I think most people are pretty good about doing so.

Dean Perez

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby Instinctive » Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:46 pm

(above)

Very helpful - thanks for your insight!

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby MarineLaw » Tue Dec 31, 2013 3:33 pm

SPerez wrote:
7ofNine wrote:Hi Dean Perez,

I was wondering if it makes a difference in your review of an application if a student seems very likely to have a law job upon graduation. For example they have a parent that is an attorney and/or they work in a law office and have glowing LOR's from attorney's ready to hire them as soon as they pass the bar? Considering schools are getting hammered on their employment statistics does this sort of thing factor into the application review at all?

Thanks!!


I think this is a GREAT and timely question. It's one that's been on my mind lately and that I plan to ask my colleagues the next time we're hanging out before/after a recruiting event. I'm just as curious as you are to find out how much employability might come into play in the admissions decision for individual committee members at other schools.

Obviously, I'm not going to get into the details of our deliberations "in the room", but I can give you my personal opinion on it. I haven't thought about it too deeply, but my initial reaction was that a student's supposed future potential of finding a job should not be considered in the admissions process. I consider myself a very egalitarian, root for the underdog kind of guy. When it comes to us trying to guess a person's odds of employment, the things I think of that would inform that are almost always the product of wealth and privilege. You listed a few - parents who are attorneys, growing up in a wealthy neighborhood with a lot of attorneys/judges, being frat buddies with a guy who's parent is attorney judge - all of which easily leads to jobs in said law firms during college. At state schools, you also have the politicians' kids and at any school you have kids/friends of big donors or board members, too.

So to give a little bump to those students, in my mind, is to perpetuate that privilege. It is true that those applicants can't help who they were born to or in what zip code they were raised, but why then should they receive a benefit for something they had no control over, that does not really equate to "merit", over someone else that did not have those advantages? If I had to choose between the two, I'd prefer to give the opportunity to the person for whom it would really be an opportunity that could change their life, not the person for whom law school is just one of a bunch of options.

I'll point out here that I'm aware that there are people who, for whatever reason, did not come from privilege but nevertheless have developed the connections that lead to these kinds of benefits. They were in the poor part of a rich school district so their friends' parents were well off (can't tell you how many LORs I get that start with "I've known Johnny his entire life. He and my son played football together at fill-in-the-blank powerhouse high school.") or they busted their hump to earn a job in their university president's office. That's not who I'm talking about. Relatively speaking, there aren't many of these compared to the my first examples.

Keep in mind, too, that this is only an issue when the file isn't good enough on its own to earn admission. It's not like the rich kid with 160+/3.75+ is getting dinged, but the blue-collar guy with a 145/3.0 is getting in. The range where something like future employability would even be a factor (if it is one at all) would be at the bottom of the class, under the 25th percentile. The "last teams in" March Madness or "Mr. Irrelevant" in the NFL draft, if you like sports metaphors. Here at Tech, for example, it would be students with combos like 150-152/3.00, just sort of academically "meh". Or maybe splitters like 155 (our median)/2.8 or 3.4 (close to our median)/147.

At this point, to use another sports metaphor, we could go to the Olympic "degree of difficulty" scale. If we're trying to find a diamond in the rough, someone with untapped potential, who do we take? On one hand, someone who went to very good public/elite private schools K-12, got into a good college and got mediocre grades in an easy major, was able to take LSAT prep courses and didn't have to work, etc. On the other, someone from a rural school district with no AP courses (like mine growing up) or an inner-city school with a 65% dropout rate, who worked full-time all through schools to pay for community college then the local open-enrollment public university, and tried to self-study between shifts.

I purposely created those two extreme examples to illustrate the point. Things are never that distinct of course, and the same information can be evaluated differently by different adcoms. For example in the above scenario, someone might vote for the first person because despite their chronic under-achieving, their K-16 education was a higher quality so they might be better prepared for law school, and therefore have a better chance of success than the second person.

There are other situations, though. Anecdotally, I've heard people say that older students who have been in the workforce fare better in their job searches than K-JD students so that might be another way an adcom might consider employabitlity. Military folks fall in this category, too. I had an alum tell me this exact thing once. He said the students that were most successful in his firm's interview process were those that had some life-experience and had interviewed for jobs before.

I know I just threw a lot on the page in this post that could be considered touchy or controversial so I am happy to clarify or delve deeper into something if someone asks. Knowing TLS's tendency to reduce everything down and squeeze all the nuance out of things, I just ask that folks not make the TL;DNR version of this "Tech/Dean Perez hates rich people". :)

Dean Perez


Dean Perez--First off, your participation is awesome and much appreciated!

I've got a follow-up question on the quoted above. What's the best way for applicants to address that they have jobs on graduation? It seems like a potentially touchy area as you don't want to sound like a snob, but as an applicant you want to fully communicate that your admission is going to help bolster the school's statistics and that you are worth the school's investment (while simultaneously minimizing the school's administrative burden to help you find a job).

Should an affidavit be attached with an offer? What if you are selected to one of the military's JAG programs (active duty type where you apply to LS after selection) or are some other flavor of the "non-privileged" category above?

Thanks again! Great stuff...

SPerez
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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:26 am

MarineLaw wrote:
Dean Perez--First off, your participation is awesome and much appreciated!

I've got a follow-up question on the quoted above. What's the best way for applicants to address that they have jobs on graduation? It seems like a potentially touchy area as you don't want to sound like a snob, but as an applicant you want to fully communicate that your admission is going to help bolster the school's statistics and that you are worth the school's investment (while simultaneously minimizing the school's administrative burden to help you find a job).

Should an affidavit be attached with an offer? What if you are selected to one of the military's JAG programs (active duty type where you apply to LS after selection) or are some other flavor of the "non-privileged" category above?

Thanks again! Great stuff...


I think your personal statement could be a place where one could mention their post-graduation plans in a sort of "why I want to practice" kind of way. E.g. "My <insert acquaintance/family member> practices <type of law>, and through talking/working with/for them, I know that's what I want to do when I graduate. They have already promised that I will be able to intern for them in the summers, and I hope to be able to work there after law school." Or something like that, depending on the situation.

For military stuff, I think you definitely want to list that somewhere. It might be easiest in a separate short addendum if it doesn't fit naturally in your PS or, of course, if you don't find out until after you submit your apps. I know the FLEP program is incredibly competitive so being selected for that would be a big feather in your cap. Also may not be a bad idea to explain the terms of whatever the particular program is because I know there are many different types, and the adcom may not be totally familiar with all of them.

Dean Perez

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:44 pm

midwest17 wrote:
SPerez wrote:When I said negotiation of scholarships can be bad for the system as a whole, even if it is good for individual students, I meant it this way. That extra money that Person A gets has to come from somewhere. If I increase someone from Full Ride - $10k to Full Ride, that $10k is money that could/would have gone to someone else so that person loses out. To the extent that schools have to increase their scholarship budgets, that money has to be accounted for elsewhere. They can increase revenue (increase tuition, enroll more students, start non-JD degree programs) or reduce expenses (fire staff, leave faculty positions unfilled, cut student org funding, etc.).


I guess my feeling is that that reallocation is probably a good thing on net. It means that the students that are more desirable to schools are getting more money, and those that are less desirable are getting less. Ideally that would lead to more of the former group and fewer of the latter group going to law school. If schools are using good criteria of desirability, then wouldn't that lead to an overall better pool of graduates and lawyers?


That might be good in theory, but in reality people don't choose law schools based solely on what school gives them the biggest scholarship. My guess is that a lot of schools are spending a lot more money to get a class that's pretty much the same as the year before (or these days, just not as bad as it would have been otherwise). Overall, the same students are going to law school and becoming lawyers, just paying less for it or going to a different school.

If I spent the same amount of money, but gave it all to students with the highest stats, I don't think it would bring me a better class. I think I would end up with a class that was WAY too small because good students with slightly lower stats would choose to go to other law schools that did give them scholarships.

On the flip side, there's a theory that says a school is better off giving big scholarships to students just above their medians rather than to people over their 75ths. The idea is that you could get one amazing student with a full-ride offer or TWO really good students for half-rides, which has a bigger impact on your medians. I've never had the guts to go full tilt with this, but it's an interesting idea. The problem is that you don't know what exactly that ratio is. It might take two 75% scholarships to get the just-above-median students so the benefit is 3:4 instead of 1:2. I think it also would mean you miss out on those amazing students at the very top of your class that go on to be your Federal clerks, big law partners, magazine cover makers, etc. You can guess how many 90th percentile students I would get offering them anything less than a full ride.

I don't know if most of this is even relevant to your comment, but I needed an excuse to bump the thread to the front page. :)

Dean Perez

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:30 pm

While I have a "No shameless bumps" policy, I've added exceptions for falling past the 5th page of posts and for going over a month without a question. That's legit, right?

I'm in the heart of file review season right now, complicated slightly by being out of the office 2-3 days a week for regional alumni/admitted student receptions we've been having. While I had previously only heard tell of extremely short PS's (i.e. less than half a page), I got my first recently. A whopping 2 paragraphs. In case anyone out there was wondering, don't do that.

Our application deadline was last Saturday. As always, there was a rush of apps submitted on the deadline, but it seemed like more than usual. Many of you probably don't know that many schools have pushed their application deadlines a month or more later from where they were a few years ago. The thought is that the later you make it the more apps you get. I disagree. I think people will put things off until the last minute, regardless when that is. Applicants who apply later in the cycle (March, April) tend to be less qualified and often (well, before this year) aren't likely to be accepted, anyway. The biggest effect this has is just to extend the cycle, later applications leads to later decisions.

So I was wondering...with deadlines being relatively late this year, is anyone taking a strategy of a "two-stage" application process? I.e., applying to your top choices early and waiting to see what happens, only applying to your safety schools (with late deadlines) if you have to?

Dean Perez

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby BLUERUFiO » Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:54 pm

Very interesting thread! Thank you dean. I was wondering your policy for when students ask for first deposit deadline extensions? How can I be most effective in my upcoming requests?

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby aesth24 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 8:20 pm

SPerez wrote:While I have a "No shameless bumps" policy, I've added exceptions for falling past the 5th page of posts and for going over a month without a question. That's legit, right?

I'm in the heart of file review season right now, complicated slightly by being out of the office 2-3 days a week for regional alumni/admitted student receptions we've been having. While I had previously only heard tell of extremely short PS's (i.e. less than half a page), I got my first recently. A whopping 2 paragraphs. In case anyone out there was wondering, don't do that.

Our application deadline was last Saturday. As always, there was a rush of apps submitted on the deadline, but it seemed like more than usual. Many of you probably don't know that many schools have pushed their application deadlines a month or more later from where they were a few years ago. The thought is that the later you make it the more apps you get. I disagree. I think people will put things off until the last minute, regardless when that is. Applicants who apply later in the cycle (March, April) tend to be less qualified and often (well, before this year) aren't likely to be accepted, anyway. The biggest effect this has is just to extend the cycle, later applications leads to later decisions.

So I was wondering...with deadlines being relatively late this year, is anyone taking a strategy of a "two-stage" application process? I.e., applying to your top choices early and waiting to see what happens, only applying to your safety schools (with late deadlines) if you have to?

Dean Perez


I did not take the "two-stage" application process strategy. Just applied to ALL the schools I wanted to at once. However, I did send in some additional apps several weeks later, but still far before the deadline. I didn't know people actually did this....

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby sl5uw13 » Sat Feb 22, 2014 8:36 pm

How do admission offices view requests for more scholarship money from students who have no leverage, ie already deposited and dont have other options? whens the best time to send these requests?

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby PSG » Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:11 am

SPerez wrote:While I have a "No shameless bumps" policy, I've added exceptions for falling past the 5th page of posts and for going over a month without a question. That's legit, right?

I'm in the heart of file review season right now, complicated slightly by being out of the office 2-3 days a week for regional alumni/admitted student receptions we've been having. While I had previously only heard tell of extremely short PS's (i.e. less than half a page), I got my first recently. A whopping 2 paragraphs. In case anyone out there was wondering, don't do that.

Our application deadline was last Saturday. As always, there was a rush of apps submitted on the deadline, but it seemed like more than usual. Many of you probably don't know that many schools have pushed their application deadlines a month or more later from where they were a few years ago. The thought is that the later you make it the more apps you get. I disagree. I think people will put things off until the last minute, regardless when that is. Applicants who apply later in the cycle (March, April) tend to be less qualified and often (well, before this year) aren't likely to be accepted, anyway. The biggest effect this has is just to extend the cycle, later applications leads to later decisions.

So I was wondering...with deadlines being relatively late this year, is anyone taking a strategy of a "two-stage" application process? I.e., applying to your top choices early and waiting to see what happens, only applying to your safety schools (with late deadlines) if you have to?

Dean Perez


I actually did this, but I'm really only interested in attending Texas Tech. I applied to Tech soon after getting my December LSAT score back and some other ducks in a row, and then held off for a bit on the others. I had some applications ready (quick note: Texas A&M's application is one of the worst I've ever seen - specifically the core residency form), but I chose to wait and see how things at Tech went first.

One of my lower choices waived their application fee, but we still have to pay the LSAC report fee. Being pretty poor right now, the costs really did make me prioritize my applications, as St. Mary's and South Texas did not waive their application fee for this cycle. A&M is waiving their app fee, but the report fee is still there, and $25 is not necessarily insignificant to me - especially for a school which I view as a last resort. For the others, it would have been $80 for each application. I would have paid it had Tech not accepted me so quickly, but it would have been a financial hardship.

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby cron1834 » Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:58 am

SPerez wrote: I tend to do it end of cycle to see where people who never respond to any of my correspondence decided to go.


Dean P, I wonder if you could follow up on this a bit - I have no idea what to do with some of the email I receive. If an email specifically requests that I do something, I do it. However, I'm unsure what to do with other messages. Particularly when they're authored by a Dean/Asst Dean but they look as if my name could be easily substituted with 100 others in a wave of admits. How about admission decision emails, for example - is it the norm to respond with a polite thank you? Or is that weird? I generally don't respond to email that doesn't ask something of me, but your comment leaves me wondering if I'm being rude or ungrateful!!

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby ElliotNessquire » Mon Feb 24, 2014 6:17 pm

Dean Perez --

Thanks for taking the time to do this! Quick question -- can taking an in-person visit and making a lasting positive impression on either a dean or another member of the admissions staff aid in admittance and/or receiving scholarship money?

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Fri Feb 28, 2014 4:52 pm

BLUERUFiO wrote:Very interesting thread! Thank you dean. I was wondering your policy for when students ask for first deposit deadline extensions? How can I be most effective in my upcoming requests?


I can only say how I consider them. For me, WHY a student wants a deposit deadline extension is everything.

If it is just because they haven't heard back from their first choices, I'm not very sympathetic. Nowhere is it written that you will have decisions from all your schools before any deposit deadlines. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect applicants to already have an idea of what their preferences are and have already run through what they would do in various scenarios (e.g. School A no money v. School B $ or School A $ v. School B $$ v. School C $$$$$$). Also, no matter what extension I give, there's no guarantee that it would be enough, that they would have answers from whoever they are waiting on. I don't do open-ended extensions.

If it is because they want to come visit before they pay their deposit, I'm cool with that, but I usually require a specific date they will be visiting. Then I make the new deadline a little bit after the visit.

If they want to commit to us, but the money itself is the issue, I try to be as accommodating as I can. In the past I've done things like push the deadline back to payday, allow it to be split into payments, or in some cases reducing the amount to something more manageable. Again, these are for students that are telling me they are coming here and not just trying to save money while they wait on their #1 choice school.

I'm sorry that I actually have no idea how other schools handle these. There's nothing wrong with asking, though! Just email or call and ask if they grant extensions and, if so, how you would go about making that request. As always, being polite and courteous is important.

Dean Perez

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby BLUERUFiO » Fri Feb 28, 2014 5:55 pm

SPerez wrote:
BLUERUFiO wrote:Very interesting thread! Thank you dean. I was wondering your policy for when students ask for first deposit deadline extensions? How can I be most effective in my upcoming requests?


I can only say how I consider them. For me, WHY a student wants a deposit deadline extension is everything.

If it is just because they haven't heard back from their first choices, I'm not very sympathetic. Nowhere is it written that you will have decisions from all your schools before any deposit deadlines. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect applicants to already have an idea of what their preferences are and have already run through what they would do in various scenarios (e.g. School A no money v. School B $ or School A $ v. School B $$ v. School C $$$$$$). Also, no matter what extension I give, there's no guarantee that it would be enough, that they would have answers from whoever they are waiting on. I don't do open-ended extensions.

If it is because they want to come visit before they pay their deposit, I'm cool with that, but I usually require a specific date they will be visiting. Then I make the new deadline a little bit after the visit.

If they want to commit to us, but the money itself is the issue, I try to be as accommodating as I can. In the past I've done things like push the deadline back to payday, allow it to be split into payments, or in some cases reducing the amount to something more manageable. Again, these are for students that are telling me they are coming here and not just trying to save money while they wait on their #1 choice school.

I'm sorry that I actually have no idea how other schools handle these. There's nothing wrong with asking, though! Just email or call and ask if they grant extensions and, if so, how you would go about making that request. As always, being polite and courteous is important.

Dean Perez

Thanks! Your thread is great, I appreciate it!

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:00 pm

aesth24 wrote:I did not take the "two-stage" application process strategy. Just applied to ALL the schools I wanted to at once. However, I did send in some additional apps several weeks later, but still far before the deadline. I didn't know people actually did this....


I don't know that people do this, either. It was just one theory to explain what I was seeing so I asked to see if anyone does do it. It's probably all anecdotal and may not actually be statistically more than any other years, but I was curious. I think there have always been people that throw out some late panic apps when they start to get early dings back from schools they didn't expect to be dinged at, but I'm guessing there's a whole-heckuva-lot less of that happening these days.

Dean Perez

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby Serett » Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:18 pm

SPerez wrote:
aesth24 wrote:I did not take the "two-stage" application process strategy. Just applied to ALL the schools I wanted to at once. However, I did send in some additional apps several weeks later, but still far before the deadline. I didn't know people actually did this....


I don't know that people do this, either. It was just one theory to explain what I was seeing so I asked to see if anyone does do it. It's probably all anecdotal and may not actually be statistically more than any other years, but I was curious. I think there have always been people that throw out some late panic apps when they start to get early dings back from schools they didn't expect to be dinged at, but I'm guessing there's a whole-heckuva-lot less of that happening these days.

Dean Perez


For another anecdotal data point, I didn't/wouldn't do this either. I just applied to a variety of schools instead (safety/target/reach), so there was nothing to scramble for one way or the other based on the ongoing results of my cycle. App fees aren't fun, but I'd still rather just pay them at the outset instead of gambling with my safety acceptance chances by waiting.

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Thu Mar 13, 2014 6:10 pm

sl5uw13 wrote:How do admission offices view requests for more scholarship money from students who have no leverage, ie already deposited and dont have other options? whens the best time to send these requests?


Laugh and make fun of them on our super-secret AdCom Facebook group? Juuuuust kidding. :lol:

I've never liked the vocabulary TLS uses surrounding scholarships. "Leverage" is one of those. I guess it's that I don't like having the decision of where to go to law school, and my role in it, compared to buying a used car. Anyway, I try to treat all my students fairly, whether they have "leverage" or not. I don't think a student who just really loves Tech, Tech Law, etc. and knows they want to come here should be punished for that loyalty. If anything, they should be rewarded for having done all their research ahead of time unlike so many applicants.

That said, I think most students don't pay their deposit (or pay two deposits) until they've already tried to negotiate so in practice there is seldom someone who truly has zero options. If I were to advise on timing, I guess I would say don't wait for the point where you don't have any other options! :) But seriously, if you don't have anything for comparison (School B, also in my preferred location, offering $X) then all you're basically doing is holding up your empty porridge bowl and saying "Please sir, may I have some more." Schyeah, everyone wants more money. We can't give it to everyone. You have to make the case why a school should give it to you and not another person. Or just bank it for next year.

I wouldn't ask too early. I get annoyed when I get requests for more money a week after being admitted and it's still January. That says to me the person is just asking to ask and was going to ask no matter what the amount was, not because they have actually run the numbers or thought about it at all.

Also, be realistic about what you use as "comparable" or "competitive" offers. Here are two of my biggest pet peeves in this area. First, admits who say "Random 4th Tier school on the other side of the country gave me a full ride." Yeah, and? That's usually because their numbers are median/25th in our class and 90th/90th in theirs. Never mind the completely different job markets. Second is "I have all these other big offers; I'd really love to go to Tech but I would need a bigger scholarship for it to make sense financially." Except, while the raw dollar amounts are larger, it's usually at private schools with double our tuition and in cities with higher COL so that when you actually do the math, my offer is already WAY less expensive.

Oh, and finally...please take the time to at least write your own email! Last year, I kid you not, I received three emails in the same week that were nearly word for word copied from a post on TLS. That also tells me you're not really interested in my school.

Dean Perez

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby drawstring » Tue Apr 01, 2014 1:56 pm

Hi Dean Perez,

If an applicant graduates with their undergrad degree in May, immediately starts working full time, then applies in September, would you see them as a K-JD or someone who would have about a year and a half of WE upon matriculation?

Thanks

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Re: Texas Tech Dean of Admissions Taking Questions

Postby SPerez » Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:32 am

cron1834 wrote:
SPerez wrote: I tend to do it end of cycle to see where people who never respond to any of my correspondence decided to go.


Dean P, I wonder if you could follow up on this a bit - I have no idea what to do with some of the email I receive. If an email specifically requests that I do something, I do it. However, I'm unsure what to do with other messages. Particularly when they're authored by a Dean/Asst Dean but they look as if my name could be easily substituted with 100 others in a wave of admits. How about admission decision emails, for example - is it the norm to respond with a polite thank you? Or is that weird? I generally don't respond to email that doesn't ask something of me, but your comment leaves me wondering if I'm being rude or ungrateful!!


I'd say your approach is fine. There's no need for a perfunctory response to emails that are purely marketing/advertising.

Paying a deposit isn't like an RSVP where you're supposed to respond with an affirmative Yes or No. A deposit = Yes. No deposit = No. I appreciate it when students take the time to shoot me an email to withdraw and tell me where they've decided to go (as opposed to simply never paying then ignoring my "You missed your deposit, are you SUUUUUUURE?" emails), but it's not expected in the sense that students are being rude if they don't do it.

Dean Perez




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