Spivey Consulting Q&A with Adcoms from Yale, Harvard, Penn, Chicago etc.

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lateralis
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:57 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby lateralis » Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:09 pm

Mike and Karen, this is a cancellation scenario dear to my heart. I know you are both traveling but given the subject matter I would really appreciate your timely advice. Thank you.

Lateralis has taken the LSAT twice. His first score was 167 and his second score was 174.

He sat for the third time last Saturday. Here is his estimated score distribution:

167-169 = 80%
170-173 = 10%
174-180 = 10%

I know the standard advice is “only the highest score matters” but I can’t help but think a lower score is still factored--perhaps only subconsciously--into the admission committee’s decision-making process. Is it worth Lateralis risking a decrease, let alone a return to the high 160s, for only the 10% chance of scoring at or above his previous best? The fact that his first score was a 167 appears to compound the difficulty of this decision (a second such score may be especially damaging).

Would you recommend a cancellation in order to be 100% certain the most recent scored administration is in the 99th percentile?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:40 pm

Lateraliis,

Why did you take again? That reasonong will influence whether you should cancel or not...

lateralis
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:57 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby lateralis » Mon Oct 07, 2013 7:01 pm

Hi Mike,

I sat a third time because my PT average was 177 and I don’t want to leave any points on the table. I’m aiming high and my GPA is sub-25th. My estimated score distribution is admittedly pessimistic but I would rather err on the side of caution.

Thanks for your reply.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:29 pm

lateralis wrote:Hi Mike,

I sat a third time because my PT average was 177 and I don’t want to leave any points on the table. I’m aiming high and my GPA is sub-25th. My estimated score distribution is admittedly pessimistic but I would rather err on the side of caution.

Thanks for your reply.


I thought it would be something like that. You would be crazy to cancel. Please do not a lower score will not impact and worth the 10% chance of a 177.

lateralis
Posts: 36
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby lateralis » Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:31 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:I thought it would be something like that. You would be crazy to cancel. Please do not a lower score will not impact and worth the 10% chance of a 177.


Thanks Mike. If I end up scoring no higher than 174 would I be crazy to sit a fourth time? Can the committees blame us when the stakes are so high or does it get a little ridiculous after three tries?

BillsFan9907
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby BillsFan9907 » Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:30 am

I've got a question about recommendations:

How many years do you have to be out of school for it to be considered acceptable to use a professional recommendation and an academic recommendation instead of two academic recs?
Last edited by BillsFan9907 on Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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nothingtosee
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby nothingtosee » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:03 am

Mike and Karen,
Is there a blogpost somewhere in the warehouse about the decision to retake in December? I've seen Karen mention that if you have a score and a school sees you are registered for December, they will "hold" the application. I'm not totally sure I understand this. Do they wait to look at the application at all until the December score comes in? (In my specific situation I'm estimating a ~170-171 on my Oct test, and have been testing at 172-176 over my last 10.) Is scoring 2 more points on the December test worth applying 2 months later? (I know you've mentioned that you consider mid-December still early).

I feel like this question is asked a lot, so if there is a substantive post you've already made, I would be happy to just read that.

Thank you two for helping to make our lives better,
-nothingtosee

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cotiger
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby cotiger » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:21 am

nothingtosee wrote:Mike and Karen,
Is there a blogpost somewhere in the warehouse about the decision to retake in December? I've seen Karen mention that if you have a score and a school sees you are registered for December, they will "hold" the application. I'm not totally sure I understand this. Do they wait to look at the application at all until the December score comes in? (In my specific situation I'm estimating a ~170-171 on my Oct test, and have been testing at 172-176 over my last 10.) Is scoring 2 more points on the December test worth applying 2 months later? (I know you've mentioned that you consider mid-December still early).

I feel like this question is asked a lot, so if there is a substantive post you've already made, I would be happy to just read that.

Thank you two for helping to make our lives better,
-nothingtosee


They've mentioned this before. Mike said that he would wait for all LSATs to come in before he would look at an app, whereas Karen would look it over with the first score and then come back to it when the second came in. So it seems to vary from office to office. Regardless of when you apply, they are going to see that Dec score before making the final decision.

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bouleversement
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby bouleversement » Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:46 pm

bouleversement wrote:We have seen year-on-year declines in LSATs administered for twelve straight administrations. Does anyone have any idea when this trend will end?


According to Paul Campos it is indeed now thirteen straight:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=217627#p7132006

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Young Marino
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Young Marino » Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:11 am

Mike or Karen, when trying to negotiate scholarship amount and stipulations, is it a solid strategy to point out that i was offered admission at a higher ranked school with better bar passage and employment numbers? For example, if school A offers close to a full ride as long as i stay top 35% but is a tier four and school B, a tier 2, offers a small scholly but has superior numbers, will I be able to leverage an increase in $$ from school A and decrease in stipulations? I would probably just ask if the stip can be top 45% and increase the scholly amount by $1500. What do you think?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:44 pm

Spivey Consulting @SpiveyConsult

The law admissions cycle before decisions are rendered, from the view of a puppy. Don't worry, you'll get it! http://www.pawbonito.com/pitbull-puppy- ... treadmill/

8:40 PM - 9 Oct 2013


I couldn't resist tweeting this. Okay, it actually has almost nothing to do with the law admissions cycle, but kinda feels like it should. Plus it is awesome.
(does anyone know how to embed tweets into a TLS thread?)

In much more salient news, I'll have some time over the next few days to answer some questions we haven't been able to get to in the thread.

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bouleversement
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby bouleversement » Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:56 pm

Glad to have you guys back Mike. Hope the travel was successful.

ZVBXRPL
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby ZVBXRPL » Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:56 am

I kind of feel for the adult dog--he looks tired.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:38 am

ZVBXRPL wrote:I kind of feel for the adult dog--he looks tired.


That is me in this analogy, ZVBXRPL. :)

ZVBXRPL
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby ZVBXRPL » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:23 am

MikeSpivey wrote:
ZVBXRPL wrote:I kind of feel for the adult dog--he looks tired.


That is me in this analogy, ZVBXRPL. :)

Ha. Now change your avatar to an (old) dog.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Oct 10, 2013 1:26 pm

ALeal90 wrote:Mike or Karen, when trying to negotiate scholarship amount and stipulations, is it a solid strategy to point out that i was offered admission at a higher ranked school with better bar passage and employment numbers? For example, if school A offers close to a full ride as long as i stay top 35% but is a tier four and school B, a tier 2, offers a small scholly but has superior numbers, will I be able to leverage an increase in $$ from school A and decrease in stipulations? I would probably just ask if the stip can be top 45% and increase the scholly amount by $1500. What do you think?


Well, it is a solid strategy to point out every single school you were offered admission to (with some nuanced exceptions) and to let them know your other scholarship offers (with some more nuanced exceptions) keeping in mind they will ask to see the scholarship award letters from the other schools. You would not want to tell them "these schools are higher ranked than you" and "these offer me better opportunities because of x..." because that would go a long way towards not getting you a scholarship increase.

I can't really go over individual specifics as this is something we do extensively for our clients.

I hope this helps!

Mike

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Young Marino
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Young Marino » Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:16 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
ALeal90 wrote:Mike or Karen, when trying to negotiate scholarship amount and stipulations, is it a solid strategy to point out that i was offered admission at a higher ranked school with better bar passage and employment numbers? For example, if school A offers close to a full ride as long as i stay top 35% but is a tier four and school B, a tier 2, offers a small scholly but has superior numbers, will I be able to leverage an increase in $$ from school A and decrease in stipulations? I would probably just ask if the stip can be top 45% and increase the scholly amount by $1500. What do you think?


Well, it is a solid strategy to point out every single school you were offered admission to (with some nuanced exceptions) and to let them know your other scholarship offers (with some more nuanced exceptions) keeping in mind they will ask to see the scholarship award letters from the other schools. You would not want to tell them "these schools are higher ranked than you" and "these offer me better opportunities because of x..." because that would go a long way towards not getting you a scholarship increase.

I can't really go over individual specifics as this is something we do extensively for our clients.

I hope this helps!

Mike

That does help thanks. One of the other schools I applied to is close enough to I where I can commute from home so I'll probably include that in the negotiation letter since my COL would drop dramatically by living at home. If I need to get my parents to type something up saying that they won't charge a cent for living at home, would that be a solid leverage point?

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BruinRegents
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby BruinRegents » Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:44 pm

ALeal90 wrote:That does help thanks. One of the other schools I applied to is close enough to I where I can commute from home so I'll probably include that in the negotiation letter since my COL would drop dramatically by living at home. If I need to get my parents to type something up saying that they won't charge a cent for living at home, would that be a solid leverage point?

C'mon, Mike already said he can't go into specifics. Dude is trying to run a business. If you need something specific, give him a call and pay for it.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:13 pm

C'mon Mike already said he can't go into specifics. Dude is trying to run a business. If you need something specific, give him a call and pay for it.


I appreciate that so many people here are appreciative of us as a business/individuals and not just as a depository of advice, I very much mean that. Let me add the following and I'll try not to sound too dramatic or cheesy.

If I could I would do this for free -- this being helping people get into the best law school for them, helping dispel the huge amounts of falsehoods and mythology about the process, helping put students first in the application and legal education process, and helping to make informed decisions about law school in general and which law school to attend in particular, it would be a huge hobby of mine. heck, it was up to the day I launched this business. This is a real passion for me and Karen and is about as close to a calling as I have experienced (along with Warcraft III which does pay if anyone wants to partner but Karen isn't nearly good enough for 2v2, college football which pays some but not me to watch, and hiking/skiing which I tend to pay for). The vectoring, strategy and interpersonal relationships that form out of this I find very much rewarding.

Unfortunately Karen and I have creatures to feed and bills to pay and just as importantly clients that we care deeply about. So at times we have to not answer a PM or question on here. But even as we trend more and more towards a majority of our clients being referrals from past clients, we still have a great deal of appreciation and feel indebted to the TLS community --which pretty much got us started early in year 1. So I promise if we ever get to a point where we have 100% clients from referrals, we are still going to be here every week giving advice and we will try to do so in a way that is fair to this community and our clients. In the meantime apologies in advance if we can't answer something and I hope this didn't come across as hyperbole or sappy.

Mike

Big Dog
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Big Dog » Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:51 pm

"Negotiation" comments from Admissions at Northwestern, most of which are common sense (but which can be sorely lacking in law-types):

--LinkRemoved--

Hope you don't mind, Mike.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Oct 10, 2013 8:11 pm

Big Dog wrote:"Negotiation" comments from Admissions at Northwestern, most of which are common sense (but which can be sorely lacking in law-types):

--LinkRemoved--

Hope you don't mind, Mike.


Not in the least! In fact, Johann was kind enough to participate in the 2nd ever Spivey Consulting Admissions Q&A Chat.

sancho
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby sancho » Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:40 pm

Hello Mike and Karen!

Would you please give some guidance on when baccalaureate GPA starts losing its predictive value and thus importance in the eyes of admission committees? I have read that applicants who have been out of college a while get a bit of a break on a lower GPA. When does this start occurring (i.e. 5 years, 10)? Is it linear?

Finally, does this mean the LSAT is usually weighted more than it would be for a recent grad or does this mean other, perhaps non-numerical, factors are?

Thank you very much!

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BruinRegents
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby BruinRegents » Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:56 pm

sancho wrote:Hello Mike and Karen!

Would you please give some guidance on when baccalaureate GPA starts losing its predictive value and thus importance in the eyes of admission committees? I have read that applicants who have been out of college a while get a bit of a break on a lower GPA. When does this start occurring (i.e. 5 years, 10)? Is it linear?

Finally, does this mean the LSAT is usually weighted more than it would be for a recent grad or does this mean other, perhaps non-numerical, factors are?

Thank you very much!

Not Mike of Karen but I'll give it a try.
I don't think I adcoms weigh the distance from UG GPA to application submission uniformly. Given the myriad methods with which adcoms at different schools view each application. As a corollary, if the applicant has not demonstrated an accomplishment (e.g. job) between UG and application submission, an adcom may be even less inclined to "forgive" a below median GPA a few years removed from UG. Finally, it would stand to reason that the LSAT would carry more weight, not less.

sancho
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby sancho » Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:54 pm

BruinRegents wrote:
sancho wrote:Hello Mike and Karen!

Would you please give some guidance on when baccalaureate GPA starts losing its predictive value and thus importance in the eyes of admission committees? I have read that applicants who have been out of college a while get a bit of a break on a lower GPA. When does this start occurring (i.e. 5 years, 10)? Is it linear?

Finally, does this mean the LSAT is usually weighted more than it would be for a recent grad or does this mean other, perhaps non-numerical, factors are?

Thank you very much!

Not Mike of Karen but I'll give it a try.
I don't think I adcoms weigh the distance from UG GPA to application submission uniformly. Given the myriad methods with which adcoms at different schools view each application. As a corollary, if the applicant has not demonstrated an accomplishment (e.g. job) between UG and application submission, an adcom may be even less inclined to "forgive" a below median GPA a few years removed from UG. Finally, it would stand to reason that the LSAT would carry more weight, not less.


Hey, thanks for the effort.

To clarify for Mike and/or Karen, I never thought the LSAT would carry less weight but perhaps rather equal weight for all applicants (if indeed it wasn't weighted more, which it may be). If the GPA is weighed less for an older applicant, and assuming said applicant has of course accomplished something since college, perhaps those accomplishments/soft factors would be weighted more than they otherwise would be and the LSAT is, in fact, static?

I'm especially curious about how far out the GPA begins to get discounted. Are the aberrant GPAs (read: low outliers) at HYSCCN typically the older applicants with something to their app outside of an index score (Karen especially may be able to give some insight here ;))? Similarly, is the GPA bar higher (or at least less flexible) for the K-JD applicant? (This doesn't apply to me but I am always curious!)
Last edited by sancho on Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BruinRegents
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby BruinRegents » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:08 pm

What K-JD?


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