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

Special forum where professionals are encouraged to help law school applicants, students, and graduates.

Which would you prefer most?

Poll ended at Sat Apr 23, 2016 11:05 am

1. Blog advice
0
No votes
2. Podcast advice
0
No votes
3. Video advice
0
No votes
4. Just keep it all on TLS
0
No votes
5. Tweet it
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 0

User avatar
MikeSpivey
Posts: 2609
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:28 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Sun Oct 13, 2013 11:40 am

-dasein- wrote:1,000 cancellations. Crazy.


Quite frankly I am unsure if that is higher than normal, lower, or typical. That data doesn't seem available or willing to share itself. But someone tweeted at me that it would seem like as a percentage of test-takers it might be high (due to the decrease) and I suspect that is spot-on.

User avatar
MikeSpivey
Posts: 2609
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:28 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:12 pm

in the process wrote:Mike (and co.),

Thanks for all the info. here, it's been tremendously helpful.

Had a question regarding retaking in December. I just took the October and feel okay about it (which would probably place me in the 169-171 range with a slim chance at hitting 172-173).

I was topping out at 173 (which I reached multiple times under testing conditions, experimental section, etc.) and feel that if I spent a couple of months focusing on my weaknesses I could do better.

Due to my financial situation I would only go to LS if I were able to get a decent scholarship from a T14 or possibly something smaller from a T7. I know that this admission cycle is supposed to be even more applicant favorable than the last, so with that being said do I plan on retaking now and begin studying or do I wait it out to see what I score.

Additionally if I somehow managed to pull out a 172-173 should I still consider a retake?

GPA is 3.83 from a top 75 college although it's a BA in Individualized Studies because a good chunk of the credits came from CLEPS and studies abroad.

How to proceed?

Thanks in advance!


I think it would be pointless to retake of you are over both 75th's, fyi, unless you like taking that quiz (some people do -- I am suspicious of them).

User avatar
MikeSpivey
Posts: 2609
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:28 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:14 pm

hiphopopotamuss wrote:Hi, I recently came across this thread and it’s been very helpful – many thanks!

I have a couple of questions about how adcoms view accommodated LSAT scores.

As brief background, my undergrad GPA is sub-25th percentile for top schools – this is the big hurdle for me. I am a midcareer applicant with strong softs, and I’m finishing a PhD program this year (at an ivy) with top grades. I was diagnosed with a learning disability after college (which goes a long way, I believe, toward explaining my underwhelming uGPA). I took the Oct LSAT with an accommodation, and I’m fairly certain I scored in the mid- to high-170s. However, as you know, LSAC flags accommodated LSAT scores (at least for now, class action lawsuit pending…) and these scores don’t get factored into USNWR.

So here are my questions: Since my LSAT won’t count toward USNWR, will schools give it less weight in offsetting my low uGPA than they would otherwise? Of course no school will admit to this, but I am wondering realistically what to expect. If you think schools will view it exactly the same as an unaccommodated LSAT, is this based on your experience and/ or do law schools typically have procedural safeguards in place to protect against down-weighting accommodated LSATs (if so, I’d be happy to hear this)?

Thanks for any insights you may have!


Yep, you are (somewhat unfairly I think) in a tough way because they will give it less weight (and agreed not admit to it). Have you considered taking without accommodations?

-Mike

User avatar
MikeSpivey
Posts: 2609
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:28 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:15 pm

bouleversement wrote:Yes, I think the fox is the way to go. Much more professional. But then again I am just some anonymous guy on the Internet!


Definitely a better and more professional business move (thus Karen and I presently using both) but I also like having some personality from time to time, or at least showing my lack thereof.

User avatar
neprep
Posts: 1066
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:16 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby neprep » Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:38 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
in the process wrote:Mike (and co.),

Thanks for all the info. here, it's been tremendously helpful.

Had a question regarding retaking in December. I just took the October and feel okay about it (which would probably place me in the 169-171 range with a slim chance at hitting 172-173).

I was topping out at 173 (which I reached multiple times under testing conditions, experimental section, etc.) and feel that if I spent a couple of months focusing on my weaknesses I could do better.

Due to my financial situation I would only go to LS if I were able to get a decent scholarship from a T14 or possibly something smaller from a T7. I know that this admission cycle is supposed to be even more applicant favorable than the last, so with that being said do I plan on retaking now and begin studying or do I wait it out to see what I score.

Additionally if I somehow managed to pull out a 172-173 should I still consider a retake?

GPA is 3.83 from a top 75 college although it's a BA in Individualized Studies because a good chunk of the credits came from CLEPS and studies abroad.

How to proceed?

Thanks in advance!


I think it would be pointless to retake of you are over both 75th's, fyi, unless you like taking that quiz (some people do -- I am suspicious of them).


I don't know how LSAC or some LSAT fanboys will react to your calling this test a "quiz" :wink: You might have to deal with protesting psyshometricians and linguists PhDs in front of your office.

User avatar
MikeSpivey
Posts: 2609
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:28 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:51 pm

I have seen Pete Paschley, their lead psychometrician, on numerous dance floors at numerous conferences so I think that gives me carte blanche permission to call it anything, yes?

Come to think of it, Karen has probably danced with him.

User avatar
neprep
Posts: 1066
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:16 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby neprep » Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:55 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:I have seen Pete Paschley, their lead psychometrician, on numerous dance floors at numerous conferences so I think that gives me carte blanche permission to call it anything, yes?

Come to think of it, Karen has probably danced with him.


Haha, I didn't know psychometricians were allowed to have fun.

ETA: Although by the looks of it, they know how to have a good time: http://nancecy.wordpress.com/2008/05/02 ... d-meeting/

User avatar
bouleversement
Posts: 171
Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:50 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby bouleversement » Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:42 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
bouleversement wrote:Yes, I think the fox is the way to go. Much more professional. But then again I am just some anonymous guy on the Internet!


Definitely a better and more professional business move (thus Karen and I presently using both) but I also like having some personality from time to time, or at least showing my lack thereof.


Mike, you don't need an avatar for that. Anybody who reads your posts, your blog, or your tweets knows you have personality.

User avatar
bouleversement
Posts: 171
Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:50 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby bouleversement » Sun Oct 13, 2013 4:48 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:In general, if you think you can get a higher score, you might consider retaking to maximize your options. But, if you are above the 75th percentile at your target school, you probably don't need to retake. There is time for you to make this decision after the October scores are released, so you'll be able to make a more informed decision.


Karen, I presume you don't mean this to apply to splitters? For someone with a sub-25th GPA retaking a 179 for a 180 is not folly, is it?

MikeSpivey wrote:I think it would be pointless to retake of you are over both 75th's


I see Mike qualified it as both 75ths.

User avatar
BruinRegents
Posts: 153
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:11 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby BruinRegents » Sun Oct 13, 2013 6:41 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:I have seen Pete Paschley, their lead psychometrician, on numerous dance floors at numerous conferences so I think that gives me carte blanche permission to call it anything, yes?

Come to think of it, Karen has probably danced with him.


Holy crap!!! That's the most revealing post in this entire thread lol.

For some reason I always pictured the psychometricians behind the LSAT being into self-flagellation like the members of Opus Dei. Lol.

User avatar
haus
Posts: 2835
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:07 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby haus » Sun Oct 13, 2013 8:20 pm

BruinRegents wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:I have seen Pete Paschley, their lead psychometrician, on numerous dance floors at numerous conferences so I think that gives me carte blanche permission to call it anything, yes?

Come to think of it, Karen has probably danced with him.


Holy crap!!! That's the most revealing post in this entire thread lol.

For some reason I always pictured the psychometricians behind the LSAT being into self-flagellation like the members of Opus Dei. Lol.

Well, these two notions are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

User avatar
hiphopopotamuss
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:29 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby hiphopopotamuss » Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:20 pm

deleted
Last edited by hiphopopotamuss on Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Arcticlynx
Posts: 71
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:36 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Arcticlynx » Mon Oct 14, 2013 4:48 am

I have a quick technical question that I'm hoping you Mike/Karen have run into before.

Most of the law schools that I am applying too (6 out of 7) require two letters of recommendation, but accept up to four letters of recommendation, one school only accepts three letters. So I have one letter ready now and expect to have one letter ready by the end of October, maybe early November. The other two letter that are being written for me are likely to come in around Christmas... They are all very good high-level academic letters that cover four different aspects of my application (ie: Academic Development, Relevance of Academic Experience to Law School, Research Experience, and Professional Contributions/Potential). All four letters are equity relevant to the seven law schools.

So my question is... should I start submitting applications with two letters in November or wait until Christmas and submit applications with four letters of recommendation. Will the letters catch up to my application once they are submitted?? Is there a difference for safety schools that I am pretty confident about and looking for a full scholarship vs. reach schools where I'm hoping to just gain admission??? (ie should I submit an application to Arizona State (assume I'm a lock for admission) in November but wait for all four letters to send my application to Columbia? or visa versa?

Thanks

User avatar
KarenButtenbaum
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:39 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:18 am

Arcticlynx wrote:I have a quick technical question that I'm hoping you Mike/Karen have run into before.

Most of the law schools that I am applying too (6 out of 7) require two letters of recommendation, but accept up to four letters of recommendation, one school only accepts three letters. So I have one letter ready now and expect to have one letter ready by the end of October, maybe early November. The other two letter that are being written for me are likely to come in around Christmas... They are all very good high-level academic letters that cover four different aspects of my application (ie: Academic Development, Relevance of Academic Experience to Law School, Research Experience, and Professional Contributions/Potential). All four letters are equity relevant to the seven law schools.

So my question is... should I start submitting applications with two letters in November or wait until Christmas and submit applications with four letters of recommendation. Will the letters catch up to my application once they are submitted?? Is there a difference for safety schools that I am pretty confident about and looking for a full scholarship vs. reach schools where I'm hoping to just gain admission??? (ie should I submit an application to Arizona State (assume I'm a lock for admission) in November but wait for all four letters to send my application to Columbia? or visa versa?

Thanks


I wouldn't wait to apply; apply when you are ready, and the letters will catch up to your file.
Cheers,
Karen

ZVBXRPL
Posts: 258
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:15 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby ZVBXRPL » Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:57 am

Karen,
Someone told me that I should'nt make myself crazy over a PS because admissions is primarily a numbers game. He said to write something that explains 'why law' in an interesting manner. He also mentioned that I should avoid styling my PS in a cliched way (quotes etc.).

Do you agree?

User avatar
t-14orbust
Posts: 2066
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:43 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby t-14orbust » Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:19 am

ZVBXRPL wrote:Karen,
Someone told me that I should'nt make myself crazy over a PS because admissions is primarily a numbers game. He said to write something that explains 'why law' in an interesting manner. He also mentioned that I should avoid styling my PS in a cliched way (quotes etc.).

Do you agree?


http://www.top-law-schools.com/personal-statements.html

User avatar
MikeSpivey
Posts: 2609
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:28 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:23 am

Thanks, I appreciate your honest appraisal - disappointing though not completely unexpected. I did take the LSAT unaccommodated and scored 169. Unfortunately, given my LD-related slow reading rate, it is unlikely I can improve on this much. On a technical note, if I did retake without accommodations and scored low 170s, i.e., a little better than before but still below my accommodated score, would schools even be allowed to disregard the higher, accommodated score and report the lower, unaccommodated score to USNWR? Thanks again.


I believe so, as it is not reported anyway. Internally they can do about whatever they want, fyi, although they will not claim that for obvious reasons. They can admit you because they like the color of your hair, for example.

User avatar
KarenButtenbaum
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:39 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:47 pm

ZVBXRPL wrote:Karen,
Someone told me that I should'nt make myself crazy over a PS because admissions is primarily a numbers game. He said to write something that explains 'why law' in an interesting manner. He also mentioned that I should avoid styling my PS in a cliched way (quotes etc.).

Do you agree?


I'm not advocating that you make yourself crazy over anything, but you should take your PS seriously. Of course the numbers are important, but the PS is a way to distinguish yourself from all of the other people with same or similar numbers to yours.

The topic is entirely up to you, but it does not have to be "why law?" Just about any topic could be made into a good PS, but it needs to be written well and have the right tone. Here are two clichés to avoid: don't make it your obituary (where of course you had a great legal career culminating in your appointment as Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court) and don't write it like a legal document with the argument of why you should be admitted to X law school.

Cheers,
Karen

User avatar
MikeSpivey
Posts: 2609
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:28 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:52 pm

Also, for a PS, do not write about anyone but yourself. We see this far too often. Of course you can allude to other people "my great grandfather turned left on Smith Street, took three long paces, pulled out his 6 shooter from his trench-coat and shot the Archduke Franz Ferdinand thus starting World War I" was a great start to a PS. But if it was all about the applicants great grandfather, not so much...

User avatar
bouleversement
Posts: 171
Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:50 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby bouleversement » Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:09 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?


Mike and Karen,

Are you both willing to share your thoughts on when you believe this trend will end? I understand it is now thirteen straight.

Thanks.

User avatar
MikeSpivey
Posts: 2609
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:28 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:15 pm

bouleversement wrote:
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?


Mike and Karen,

Are you both willing to share your thoughts on when you believe this trend will end? I understand it is now thirteen straight.

Thanks.


So hard to say but my gut tells me next cycle will be slightly up. Changes in how law schools teach and respond to the atmospheric pressures of hiring + continued increase in scholarship + potential legislation on higher education debt (I know little about this, but obsess/travel and speak on the first two) should all swing the pendulum back in the other direction at some point. I think the pendulum will literally come to a stop...then ever so slowly start swinging in the other direction soon and maybe next cycle.

User avatar
KarenButtenbaum
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:39 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:37 pm

bouleversement wrote:
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?


Mike and Karen,

Are you both willing to share your thoughts on when you believe this trend will end? I understand it is now thirteen straight.

Thanks.


I also think that we are in the last of the down years -- we may see one more year of flat apps, but I think we are close to the end. I also have a very optimistic hope that many people will see what's happening with the government shutdown as motivation to go to law school and effect change in this country.

User avatar
thisiswater
Posts: 995
Joined: Wed May 05, 2010 1:51 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby thisiswater » Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:45 pm

Hi Mike and Karen,

I've skimmed lots of the thread but apologies if I missed this.
I originally took the LSAT in Dec. 2009 and then again in Oct. 2010. How will schools that do look at all tests and not just the highest score view those three-four year old LSATs in comparison to the one I just took?

ZVBXRPL
Posts: 258
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:15 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby ZVBXRPL » Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:21 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:Also, for a PS, do not write about anyone but yourself.

How about a PS structured around two examples of students who inspired me to go into X field of law? This would include how I continued to their succeess and how the reason I want to practice law is to take my career a step further and help more people like them.

Btw, I like your website. Very clean and straight forward (like a good PS should be).

User avatar
bouleversement
Posts: 171
Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:50 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby bouleversement » Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:48 pm

I am really liking the avatars now. The white/pink distinction was a good idea.


Return to “Free Help and Advice from Professionals”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: guybourdin and 1 guest