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.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:01 pm

Sourrudedude wrote:Mike and Karen,

I just read Karen's above post about softs that could supersede higher numbers. Something that I haven't seen talked about is how much bad softs/a lack of god softs could work against an applicant's numbers. Essentially, what would be examples of people with >75th numbers not getting in to schools?

P.S. I'm new to this thread so anyone can feel free to shoot me down if this has been asked before.


If you are above both 75ths you are in a really good way (unfortunately not quite in a "God" way) at almost every school. Only the very top schools will have the applicant volume on the high end to care if you grow 100% of our food intake in your own garden or if you built a sailboat out of empty milk cartons. BUT C&F issues, particularly systemic trends that are recent, could easily keep someone out at schools that are not willing to sell their souls. Similarly, if you lie on your application and it becomes obvious you could auto-ding yourself. Finally, a sloppy application could take you from admit to WL, because it shows lack of care and/or judgement.

Softs come into consideration tremendously for splitters, those on WL, or those slightly under both medians, fyi.

I'll let Karen add from her perch way up there if I missed anything.

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twenty
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby twenty » Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:15 pm

This is a insanely weird question.

My school doesn't give grades, but a lot of my work is done through non-traditional credit transfers (i.e, CLEP, DSST, etc.) Consequently, I have no GPA. That said, I calculated out my credits, and if I transfer a lot of my ungraded work to another school that does give grades, they'll award grades retroactively based on the date of completion of the original credits.

In short, if I transfer some of my credits around, instead of having no LSAC GPA, I'd have a 3.52 LSAC GPA. Is this preferable to admissions people?

Thanks.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:00 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:This is a insanely weird question.

My school doesn't give grades, but a lot of my work is done through non-traditional credit transfers (i.e, CLEP, DSST, etc.) Consequently, I have no GPA. That said, I calculated out my credits, and if I transfer a lot of my ungraded work to another school that does give grades, they'll award grades retroactively based on the date of completion of the original credits.

In short, if I transfer some of my credits around, instead of having no LSAC GPA, I'd have a 3.52 LSAC GPA. Is this preferable to admissions people?

Thanks.


The short answer is "yes" if a 3.52 is above their median gpa, and "no" if it is not. I do not quite understand how you could do this (I believe you, of course, and I believe that you can, I just do not know the detailed story on how other schools are willing to do this and how you know what your LSAC computed gpa would be through this).

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OVOXO
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby OVOXO » Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:35 pm

Hey Mike and Karen,

Thanks so much for this and apologies if my question has already been asked. I have a master’s degree from a reputable university and I did well in the program. How do master’s degrees factor into admissions? I know they do not supplant undergrad gpas/degrees. Are they viewed as a “good soft” (versus another number)? How are they generally used -- In borderline cases?

Thanks!

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TheMostDangerousLG
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby TheMostDangerousLG » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:15 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
lateralis wrote:
TheMostDangerousLG wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:
I'm saying that you can't make the analogy that a 3.5 = 167 for this argument.


For the sake of this analogy, what does a 3.5 equal?


Good luck! I appreciate of course the advice Karen gives here but she does rather appear to be skirting the issue on this one!


It's not so much skirting the issue as it is an unanswerable question and makes us kinda do this:

Image

I actually like theoretical admissions discussions so maybe on our next online chat we could talk a bit more about this but there really will never be a precise answer to the "what would x LSAT score translate to as a gpa"...if you were to ask a panel of admissions deans this very question I think they would just stare at you blankly or do the above. Sorry we can't be of better help on this one!


Oh, I didn't read the full discussion before asking this and didn't realize the full extent of how dumb this Q was. I was mainly just trying to interrupt a cycle of what seemed like people reiterating the same question to you five different ways.

Welp, now I feel like an ass.

lateralis
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby lateralis » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:44 pm

lateralis wrote:How does Admissions account for the fact someone could attain a 3.0 the first two years, 4.0 the next two, end up with a 3.5 but would really be a 4.0 today?


KarenButtenbaum wrote:I'm saying that you can't make the analogy that a 3.5 = 167 for this argument.


lateralis wrote:Karen ... does rather appear to be skirting the issue on this one!


MikeSpivey wrote:It's not so much skirting the issue as it is an unanswerable question


MikeSpivey wrote:I actually like theoretical admissions discussions so maybe on our next online chat we could talk a bit more about this but there really will never be a precise answer to the "what would x LSAT score translate to as a gpa"...if you were to ask a panel of admissions deans this very question I think they would just stare at you blankly or do the above. Sorry we can't be of better help on this one!


That is a straw man Mike. My question was not about LSAT to GPA equivalency. See the top quote. And to the last poster, no, it wasn't reiterating the same question five different ways. The original question was neither ambiguous nor unanswerable. But I was ready to let it go until someone brought it up again. :D

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby iamgeorgebush » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:54 pm

I really hope I don't end up going to LS with the above poster.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:23 pm

lateralis wrote:How does Admissions account for the fact someone could attain a 3.0 the first two years, 4.0 the next two, end up with a 3.5 but would really be a 4.0 today?

I'm not an adcomm, but it seems to me the answer to this is that someone who had a 3.0 their first 2 years and 4.0 their last two years doesn't have a GPA that would "really be a 4.0 today," they have a GPA that's a 3.5. People who "really" have a 4.0 get a 4.0 over all four years, because that's what a cumulative GPA measures.

More to the point, though, Mike and Karen post here entirely out of their own goodwill, and I don't think chiding them for skirting questions is a very good reward for that goodwill. They're not required to answer anyone's questions.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:27 pm

lateralis wrote:How does Admissions account for the fact someone could attain a 3.0 the first two years, 4.0 the next two, end up with a 3.5 but would really be a 4.0 today?


KarenButtenbaum wrote:They will look at your transcript, not just the GPA. Of course they will report the cumulative GPA, but it doesn't mean that they are blind to everything else.
Hope that is helpful!
Cheers,
Karen

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:40 pm

OVOXO wrote:Hey Mike and Karen,

Thanks so much for this and apologies if my question has already been asked. I have a master’s degree from a reputable university and I did well in the program. How do master’s degrees factor into admissions? I know they do not supplant undergrad gpas/degrees. Are they viewed as a “good soft” (versus another number)? How are they generally used -- In borderline cases?

Thanks!


As long as you do well, it will always be a positive. Consider it a feather on the scale.
KB

in the process
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby in the process » Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:36 am

Hi Karen,

I've gotten conflicting information as to whether a "Why Harvard" can be of any help. Many seem to be of the opinion that it is redundant (Harvard....duh) and will just look silly.

Is this true or can writing a compelling "Why" actually help one stand out a little?

Thanks in advance (and in general for helping to make this thread into the tremendous resource that it is)

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malleus discentium
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby malleus discentium » Wed Nov 20, 2013 5:50 am

Hi Mike and Karen. Thanks for all the advice you're offering here. It's very helpful.

Question for you or anyone else who knows: A lot of deans have said at various times and places that when they look at an ASR, they pay attention to the percentage distributions of LSAT scores/GPAs for the undergrad as well as the cumulative GPA percentile rank/GPA college mean to interpret the impressiveness, I suppose, of the GPA in the context of how difficult an undergrad is. For example, some have suggested that they can infer grade inflation or not based on this data.

I've not been able to find out for myself how to look at my own ASR and interpret anything from it. For example, I have no idea if my GPA percentile rank is good or bad or just meh, and I have no idea what GPA mean indicates grade inflation. Can you shed some light on how to interpret all these numbers on the ASR? It's mostly just for my own curiosity. Thanks! :D

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CitrusFruit
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby CitrusFruit » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:55 am

"More to the point, though, Mike and Karen post here entirely out of their own goodwill, and I don't think chiding them for skirting questions is a very good reward for that goodwill. They're not required to answer anyone's questions."

Entirely out of goodwill?......They run a business. This thread is great and much appreciated, but it isn't some humanitarian effort. Hell, they've already picked up an intern in the last few pages!

With that said, lateralis was being SO annoying.

Edit: Sorry I am bad at quoting things.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:58 am

CitrusFruit wrote:Entirely out of goodwill?......They run a business. This thread is great and much appreciated, but it isn't some humanitarian effort. Hell, they've already picked up an intern in the last few pages!

True, I overlooked that. They're still not obligated to answer every question, though.

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CitrusFruit
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby CitrusFruit » Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:12 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
CitrusFruit wrote:Entirely out of goodwill?......They run a business. This thread is great and much appreciated, but it isn't some humanitarian effort. Hell, they've already picked up an intern in the last few pages!

True, I overlooked that. They're still not obligated to answer every question, though.


agreed

tinytoons
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby tinytoons » Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:26 am

Hi Mike and Karen,

First, thank you for this thread - it has been incredibly helpful to me.

Here's my question: I've already been admitted to a couple of schools that are at or near the top of my list. However, my wife is applying to masters programs at the same schools and is a less strong (although still very competitive) candidate in her field. I made no note of our concurrent applications in any of my applications, but is there any possibility that my admittance could help her chances? I'm sure it varies case-by-case, but I guess my main question is whether it is worth it to let the schools know that she is also applying.

Her admittance would make me significantly more likely to attend certain schools, fwiw.

Thanks!

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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby chmb » Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:46 am

Mike and Karen,

Echoing what others have said, thank you very much for all of your posts in this thread. Catching up on it over the past few days has been really helpful.

I'm interested in what you both think about submitting "Why X" addendums to T14 schools whose medians a candidate is above? I've read varying advice in other places (for example, don't even bother for T6), but wasn't able to find the topic discussed in this thread or your blog (although, that "napping" addendum image on Twitter was pretty good, Mike :) ). Is it unnecessary to write one for the schools that don't require it or could not writing one mean running the risk of being "yield protected?"

Thanks!

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:06 pm

CitrusFruit wrote:"More to the point, though, Mike and Karen post here entirely out of their own goodwill, and I don't think chiding them for skirting questions is a very good reward for that goodwill. They're not required to answer anyone's questions."

Entirely out of goodwill?......They run a business. This thread is great and much appreciated, but it isn't some humanitarian effort. Hell, they've already picked up an intern in the last few pages!

With that said, lateralis was being SO annoying.

Edit: Sorry I am bad at quoting things.


This is pretty much how I feel, almost word for word. Especially the part about now having a great new intern (if you have a chance please take a look at our survey on facilities) and that I can't quote either.

I should note I started our business in large part because I am really passionate and energized by the strategy and vectoring of law admissions (and Karen shares this 100%) AND it drives me crazy all of the wrong/bad advice out there. I have been on TLS as a silent reader since almost day 1, and the critical mass of people hearing the wrong thing to do was slowly driving me batty. So, we do this thread for a good deal of reasons, some of which are because it is good business to do so, but also in part to give advice that we think is value-added. If the question becomes so subjective that we do not think we can give said advice, we try not to answer it no matter how many times the person asking posts and/or PMs us demanding an answer. I should also add that as much as I try to seem the opposite, Karen and I are both adults (at times) and if someone is acting entitled we are fine just ignoring them and don't really take offense by it (I mean, I would never post a picture showing our disgust with it or anything). So we will keep posting even if it means we can't answer a particular question and even if someone is poking us with a stick to do so. I actually think the hive mind of the board telling someone they are being annoying has the potential of being very beneficial to said person because there is no worse phone call in the world than one from a hiring partner "we loved your resume and thought we would love you in OCI but we simply do not think your sense of entitlement will fit in with our firm" and if there is one thing hiring partners universally say these days is "don't send us a student who is entitled."

So keep the questions coming and we will answer if we can! In fact, we owe a few answers that I'll try to get to today.

Thanks,

Mike
Last edited by MikeSpivey on Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:12 pm

sublime wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
Actually it came from a TLS'er who is also operationalizing it. So kudos to you guy. if I said it once I'll say it 100 times, many of the people in this community could be deans of admission. Actually in the future when you guys get your JDs I've already offered to help a few people do just that.

Also the blog is up:

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/pressu ... pestering/



What is the typical career path for that, btw?


hey sublime, it's been awhile.

Good question, as there isn't one particular path. In general thought you either start off young/early at a lower level and, if you do a good job, people start noticing and you start getting bumped up the totem poll quickly. It is a very small community and if you do a good job AND are willing to move you can rapidly become a dean of admissions. On a personal note I maintain that if simple act like a professional, care about your school, and constantly look to do things better/different from other schools you can have a tremendous amount of success early.

Another way is to practice law for a bit and then shoot for a position straight at the top. Depending on the school/what they are looking for this also happens. I generally prefer path #1 because I think you are a better employee if you understand the nuances from the ground level up, but certainly I have seen strong admissions deans who jumped in with no experience.

There are likely other routes too, but these seem to be the two most common.

I hope this helps, I think it is a really enriching career.

Mike

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TheMostDangerousLG
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby TheMostDangerousLG » Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:33 pm

Sorry if this has already been answered, but thank you email after an online interview: yay or nay? (And would it be weird to send one out a week after the fact, or is too late?)

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:41 pm

TheMostDangerousLG wrote:Sorry if this has already been answered, but thank you email after an online interview: yay or nay? (And would it be weird to send one out a week after the fact, or is too late?)


hey Dangerous.

I'm for it and not too late. Think about it this way, many others are sending them out so it might reflect/look negatively upon you if you do not.

Mike

linkx13
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby linkx13 » Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:55 pm

Hi Mike,

I have a question about scholarships and need based aid:

At competitive schools (t-14), what kind of general advice can you give for some at the lower statistical margins for getting some sort of scholarship aid? I know about trying to negotiate with schools based on money, but are most students out of luck if they don't quite have the numbers as compared to the rest of their class? Do numbers factor in just as much for PI scholarships?

Regarding need based aid, is there any general rule of thumb for students to know whether they stand a chance? Both my parents are under the poverty line for single family households (divorced), would that at all help my application?

lateralis
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby lateralis » Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:10 pm

iamgeorgebush wrote:I really hope I don't end up going to LS with the above poster.


I am sure you don't have to worry about that.

ETA: Meaning, I am targeting a full-ride at a midwestern state school (I have ties to the area). I highly doubt you would even consider it.
Last edited by lateralis on Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lateralis
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby lateralis » Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:22 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
CitrusFruit wrote:"More to the point, though, Mike and Karen post here entirely out of their own goodwill, and I don't think chiding them for skirting questions is a very good reward for that goodwill. They're not required to answer anyone's questions."

Entirely out of goodwill?......They run a business. This thread is great and much appreciated, but it isn't some humanitarian effort. Hell, they've already picked up an intern in the last few pages!

With that said, lateralis was being SO annoying.

Edit: Sorry I am bad at quoting things.


This is pretty much how I feel, almost word for word. Especially the part about now having a great new intern (if you have a chance please take a look at our survey on facilities) and that I can't quote either.

I should note I started our business in large part because I am really passionate and energized by the strategy and vectoring of law admissions (and Karen shares this 100%) AND it drives me crazy all of the wrong/bad advice out there. I have been on TLS as a silent reader since almost day 1, and the critical mass of people hearing the wrong thing to do was slowly driving me batty. So, we do this thread for a good deal of reasons, some of which are because it is good business to do so, but also in part to give advice that we think is value-added. If the question becomes so subjective that we do not think we can give said advice, we try not to answer it no matter how many times the person asking posts and/or PMs us demanding an answer. I should also add that as much as I try to seem the opposite, Karen and I are both adults (at times) and if someone is acting entitled we are fine just ignoring them and don't really take offense by it (I mean, I would never post a picture showing our disgust with it or anything). So we will keep posting even if it means we can't answer a particular question and even if someone is poking us with a stick to do so. I actually think the hive mind of the board telling someone they are being annoying has the potential of being very beneficial to said person because there is no worse phone call in the world than one from a hiring partner "we loved your resume and thought we would love you in OCI but we simply do not think your sense of entitlement will fit in with our firm" and if there is one thing hiring partners universally say these days is "don't send us a student who is entitled."

So keep the questions coming and we will answer if we can! In fact, we owe a few answers that I'll try to get to today.

Thanks,

Mike


Mike, I think I have said before how much I appreciate what you and Karen are doing here and elsewhere (and if I haven't I meant to). I apologize if you felt it came off as annoying or entitled but I just wanted to make sure both you and Karen were cognizant of the question I was asking. The double face palm was cute (I laughed, really) but it didn't appear as if you were fully aware of the prior chain of posts.

I think it is a better practice to post plainly that a question is too subjective than it is to ignore the question altogether. The latter just sends the wrong signal (as does posting a straw man, although I know yours was unintentional).

Carry on. I'm done. :wink:

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neprep
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby neprep » Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:39 pm

lateralis wrote:
Mike, I think I have said before how much I appreciate what you and Karen are doing here and elsewhere (and if I haven't I meant to). I apologize if you felt it came off as annoying or entitled but I just wanted to make sure both you and Karen were cognizant of the question I was asking. The double face palm was cute (I laughed, really) but it didn't appear as if you were fully aware of the prior chain of posts.

I think it is a better practice to post plainly that a question is too subjective than it is to ignore the question altogether. The latter just sends the wrong signal (as does posting a straw man, although I know yours was unintentional).

Carry on. I'm done. :wink:


This would sound a lot less disingenuous sans the condescension.


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