Spivey Consulting

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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johmica
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Spivey Consulting

Postby johmica » Sat Apr 25, 2015 9:18 pm

As my application cycle comes to an end, I would like to share with everyone my thoughts on the quality of service provided by the Spivey Consulting Group. This post is completely unsolicited - I'm just very happy with the results of my cycle, feel that the Spivey Group was instrumental in my ability to attain those results, and I want to sing praises of them to anyone who may be considering contracting their services in the future.

I'll begin a bit about myself as an applicant. I'm a non-traditional applicant, a forty year old father with fifteen years experience as a skilled laborer. I graduated undergrad in 2000 with dual B.A.'s in Philosophy and German. My undergrad GPA was well below the 25th percentile of every school I applied to and my LSAT was in the low 170’s.

Both because of my lackluster undergraduate record, my unusual work experience, and my having been out of school for many years, I felt that the services of a consulting firm might be beneficial in developing my application materials. I knew that my unconventional work experience could certainly make my application stand out and play to my favor, but I was uncertain how exactly to actualize that potential in the body of the application package itself.

I reached out to Mike Spivey and Karen Buttenbaum after having read much of their free advice thread on TLS (Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers). They immediately struck me as approachable, affable, and energetically engaged in the process of developing my application. This energy became a recurring theme throughout the months we spent together working on every minutiae of my applications. Whenever I felt burnt out or pessimistic about a particular school that I had not yet heard from, a quick phone call or email was all that was needed for both Mike and Karen to recharge my battery and assure me that my concerns were unfounded. They took an immeasurable amount of stress out of the process and kept me from reaching out schools unnecessarily. I would have overplayed my hand a dozen times had I not had Mike and Karen to tell me to take a deep breath and wait for the schools' responses. Their experience through dozens of applications cycles took the vast majority of the mystery out of the process of applying and waiting.

I contracted their services immediately after our first conference call. As a blue collar worker with several children, I knew that my wife and I had to plan for the fee of using a consultant. But we agreed that when compared to a legal education that can cost as much as a quarter of a million dollars, their expertise and guidance could reap exponential returns. As I will explain in a bit, I am beyond happy with my decision to move forward with their services.

We began the application process with brainstorming sessions, discussing potential topics for my personal statement and addenda. Mike, Karen and I eventually decided that a diversity statement would be a useful addition to my application, and worked together on the development of that piece, as well.


I remember reading in a thread several months ago someone's opinion that contracting a consulting service to assist with the application process is a waste of money, because the free advice offered in arenas such as TLS provide the necessary assistance one might need to develop the best possible application package, if one only takes the time to do the leg work. I would argue emphatically that this is not the case. The advice offered in TLS forums can certainly be helpful, but it paints in broad strokes. It in no way compares to the careful, invested readings of all the application materials that Mike and Karen offered me. I would guess that I worked through at least a dozen revisions of my personal statement and diversity statement. My personal statement and diversity statement are without a doubt the most refined works of writing I've ever produced, and I would not have had either the energy or the fresh perspective to accomplish the quality of work I eventually achieved without the help of Mike and Karen.

So, my application package in a nutshell: a strong LSAT score an abysmal GPA and Spivey Consulting's help in presenting "the softs." And the results: of the schools to which I applied, I was rejected by one – Harvard, which was not a surprise. I was waitlisted by four of the T14, including Chicago and Duke, and was accepted by six, including three of the T14, and five of the T20. I was offered substantial scholarship funds by five of the six schools accepting me, including three full tuition offers. Both the acceptance letter and the scholarship letter from the one T14 program that offered me a full ride included personal, handwritten notes complimenting me on my "moving" and "eloquent" statements.

I cannot recommend Spivey Consulting enough. The application they assisted me in developing looks very dissimilar to the application package I would have developed without their experienced, informed, and enthusiastic guidance, but it still very much reflected who I truly am and what I can bring to law school. They take a personal interest in your success when working with you. They are always available for advice and guidance. And their advice and guidance is more than an informed guess. It arises from years of experience in the admissions departments of top programs. And while I can't say for certain, I feel confident that without their help, I would not be matriculating in my first choice of program in the fall. Because of their help, I'm now in the process of planning the move in August.

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PeanutsNJam
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sun Apr 26, 2015 1:13 am

Full ride from a T14 with a <25% GPA is magical. If you don't mind sharing, was it above or below 3.0?

MadwomanintheAttic
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby MadwomanintheAttic » Sun Apr 26, 2015 1:18 am

PeanutsNJam wrote:Full ride from a T14 with a <25% GPA is magical. If you don't mind sharing, was it above or below 3.0?


Number in profile say 171/3.2 LSAC GPA. Congratulations OP on your results!

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Mack.Hambleton
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Sun Apr 26, 2015 1:48 am

PeanutsNJam wrote:Full ride from a T14 with a <25% GPA is magical. If you don't mind sharing, was it above or below 3.0?


Doesn't say T14 full ride probably WUSTL or something

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Hikikomorist
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby Hikikomorist » Sun Apr 26, 2015 1:50 am

johmica wrote:So, my application package in a nutshell: a strong LSAT score an abysmal GPA and Spivey Consulting's help in presenting "the softs." And the results: of the schools to which I applied, I was rejected by one – Harvard, which was not a surprise. I was waitlisted by four of the T14, including Chicago and Duke, and was accepted by six, including three of the T14, and five of the T20. I was offered substantial scholarship funds by five of the six schools accepting me, including three full tuition offers. Both the acceptance letter and the scholarship letter from the one T14 program that offered me a full ride included personal, handwritten notes complimenting me on my "moving" and "eloquent" statements.

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PeanutsNJam
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sun Apr 26, 2015 1:51 am

johmica wrote:Both the acceptance letter and the scholarship letter from the one T14 program that offered me a full ride included personal, handwritten notes complimenting me on my "moving" and "eloquent" statements.


Very likely NU, but Cornell has been throwing money around too.

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Ron Mexico
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby Ron Mexico » Sun Apr 26, 2015 1:55 am

what is this spam

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Mack.Hambleton
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Sun Apr 26, 2015 2:13 am

Whoops my bad. Interested in what T14 is giving full rides to 171/3.2s

CanadianWolf
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Apr 26, 2015 10:40 am

And the fee paid ?

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Atmosphere
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby Atmosphere » Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:10 am

+1 to everything OP said.

I paid for the full package, couldn't be more impressed. Highly recommended.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:25 am

And the cost of the full package ?

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Hikikomorist
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby Hikikomorist » Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:28 am

PeanutsNJam wrote:
johmica wrote:Both the acceptance letter and the scholarship letter from the one T14 program that offered me a full ride included personal, handwritten notes complimenting me on my "moving" and "eloquent" statements.


Very likely NU, but Cornell has been throwing money around too.


Doesn't NYU offer a handful of scholarships separate from applicants' numbers, too?

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RunnerRunner
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby RunnerRunner » Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:59 am

Awesome outcomes OP, congratulations! I've never heard anything but good things about Spivey, glad it worked out for you!

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Atmosphere
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby Atmosphere » Sun Apr 26, 2015 12:06 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:And the cost of the full package ?


If you're interested, just contact them. They're good about telling you how much thwy think thwy can help and will give you pricing options.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Apr 26, 2015 12:31 pm

Thanks, but once was enough. I just get suspicious of ads without prices.

BigZuck
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby BigZuck » Sun Apr 26, 2015 12:49 pm

The handwritten note sounds like a Michigan move

How much did you pay? And what did you get that you couldn't get on TLS for free? I guess I'm just not clear on what you paid for here.

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PeanutsNJam
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sun Apr 26, 2015 1:02 pm

BigZuck wrote:The handwritten note sounds like a Michigan move

How much did you pay? And what did you get that you couldn't get on TLS for free? I guess I'm just not clear on what you paid for here.


As important as numbers are, I think the rest of your application matters quite a bit. That's why we have some great numbers in the choosing threads with terrible cycles, and vice versa.

LORs, PS, addendums, resume all add up to quite a bit. OP is a father and a family man; no doubt Spivey helped him tailor that to what adcomms are looking for. I'm guessing there's a right and a not-as-right way to sell your unique qualities to adcomms.

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Nonconsecutive
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby Nonconsecutive » Sun Apr 26, 2015 2:26 pm

johmica wrote:Both the acceptance letter and the scholarship letter from the one T14 program that offered me a full ride included personal, handwritten notes complimenting me on my "moving" and "eloquent" statements.


Not to discount your experience, but isn't this something they always do in such situations?

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alexjinye
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby alexjinye » Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:00 pm

As a guy who already signed contract with them, I can say that the price is not that high. You can just shoot them an e-mail for more info.

BigZuck
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby BigZuck » Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:22 pm

No guys but seriously, how much does it cost?

Also, what are you buying that you can't get on TLS for free? I think that is an important question that hasn't been directly addressed yet. I'm not, like, against it, I'm just trying to figure out wtf it is and what you're buying that you can't get otherwise.

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Mack.Hambleton
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:46 pm

I heard like two grand

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:56 pm

BigZuck wrote:No guys but seriously, how much does it cost?

Also, what are you buying that you can't get on TLS for free? I think that is an important question that hasn't been directly addressed yet. I'm not, like, against it, I'm just trying to figure out wtf it is and what you're buying that you can't get otherwise.

I think the OP talked about that. And I get that you don't see it as any different from TLS, but I would imagine working with former adcomms who can actually find out all the details about you that people don't put on TLS would help you put together a compelling PS, addenda, resume, and probably LORs in a way that the anonymous hordes of TLS can't. And for some candidates those things will make a difference.

BigZuck
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby BigZuck » Mon Apr 27, 2015 12:18 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
BigZuck wrote:No guys but seriously, how much does it cost?

Also, what are you buying that you can't get on TLS for free? I think that is an important question that hasn't been directly addressed yet. I'm not, like, against it, I'm just trying to figure out wtf it is and what you're buying that you can't get otherwise.

I think the OP talked about that. And I get that you don't see it as any different from TLS, but I would imagine working with former adcomms who can actually find out all the details about you that people don't put on TLS would help you put together a compelling PS, addenda, resume, and probably LORs in a way that the anonymous hordes of TLS can't. And for some candidates those things will make a difference.

I think people think I'm against it or against consultants in general: I'm not. I'm really just trying to figure out what it is.

I might have missed it in that beast of an OP (and, full disclosure, I'm not about to read it all again at 11:17 PM on a Sunday) but all I really got from it was:

1. They told me things would be ok and that I shouldn't be obnoxious
2. They read stuff a lot and gave me feedback

To 1. I say "Just don't be over-anxious/obnoxious to adcoms." Like, just don't do that. If you have to pay someone 2K to tell you not to do that, go for it I guess? But TLS can (and does) tell people that for free. All the time.

As for 2. I wonder if you couldn't get that in whatever PS subforum we have here. But, I'll admit that I never used it and I rarely ever go there so maybe not.

But yeah, genuinely not against it, just trying to figure out what it is. I think that's a fair question to ask of someone encouraging others to spend what is (apparently?) 2000 bucks

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alexjinye
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby alexjinye » Mon Apr 27, 2015 12:36 am

Well, in short I guess it will be more helpful for non-traditional applicants. OP is definitely non-traditional; I am an ESL, international student in America. So I do think I will need more help in terms of PS, essay, and interview for very selective top schools.

I haven't started my application yet, so I cannot speak too much on this. But all the services provided are enumerated under their website. The price mentioned above is about right, so I thought it is very affordable and signed the contract in a heartbeat. If they asked for a much higher price, I would hesitate.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Spivey Consulting

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Apr 27, 2015 1:43 am

Well, again, I think consultants are going to get more information about you than the people here are going to, and are going to look at the application as a whole in a way that people here don't when they just see your PS. And some of the feedback on PSes here isn't very helpful (some is, but people who read them for a living are a different audience than applicants).

I'm not saying it's worth the money for everyone or even most candidates, but I can see why unconventional candidates (particularly splitters) might find the services helpful. If you're a standard candidate with the numbers for the schools you want to target it probably wouldn't make much difference.




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