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

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Goblin Tacos
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Goblin Tacos » Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:46 pm

Hi mike,

Not sure if you are still fielding questio ns, especially of the C&F variety. But what effect would time have on aperson's less than stellar but not eye poppingly terrible record?

Say someone with a pattern of reckless behavior as a teenager, think general mischief like drag racing, fights, tagging, and such, does not apply to law school until 9 years post last incident. Also say that ita been 6 years since receiving so much as a traffic conviction. Will the time lapse and experience as a gainfully employed adult mask some of that pattern of behavior jazz?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:40 am

Tacos,

While I tend to think many addenda are unnecessary and overblown to the point of being detrimental (e.g. "I was sick the day of the LSAT"), this is a case where you really need to include one.

Take ownership of your past actions (I don;t know what tagging is but it doesn't sound bad) and definitely call attention to the fact it's been 9 years. This is a key component that admissions offices look at, and plays into you favor. I think given that substantial time period since your last real infraction you should be fine.

Good luck!

-Mike

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somewhatwayward
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby somewhatwayward » Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:12 am

MikeSpivey wrote:Tacos,

While I tend to think many addenda are unnecessary and overblown to the point of being detrimental (e.g. "I was sick the day of the LSAT"), this is a case where you really need to include one.

Take ownership of your past actions (I don;t know what tagging is but it doesn't sound bad) and definitely call attention to the fact it's been 9 years. This is a key component that admissions offices look at, and plays into you favor. I think given that substantial time period since your last real infraction you should be fine.

Good luck!

-Mike


lulz......tagging=graffiti

Here is my question: when people are below both medians, URM or not, does it matter how far below they are? Say the median is 170/3.8 and you're looking at three people: a 169/3.75, a 165/3.6, and a 158/3.3. We know none have a good shot of getting in, but suppose they had something extra special that made you look twice....since they will all be a drag on the median, do they all have an equally good shot at getting in, or does the 169/3.75 have an edge? Would the 158/3.3 be so much lower than the rest of the class that you'd worry about his/her ability to compete with his/her classmates, or is that a non-concern? If the 158/3.3 was an academic concern, would the 165/3.6 not be since it's still in the ballpark? I'm a 3L, but I am just curious.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:55 pm

somewhatwayward wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:Tacos,

While I tend to think many addenda are unnecessary and overblown to the point of being detrimental (e.g. "I was sick the day of the LSAT"), this is a case where you really need to include one.

Take ownership of your past actions (I don;t know what tagging is but it doesn't sound bad) and definitely call attention to the fact it's been 9 years. This is a key component that admissions offices look at, and plays into you favor. I think given that substantial time period since your last real infraction you should be fine.

Good luck!

-Mike


lulz......tagging=graffiti

Here is my question: when people are below both medians, URM or not, does it matter how far below they are? Say the median is 170/3.8 and you're looking at three people: a 169/3.75, a 165/3.6, and a 158/3.3. We know none have a good shot of getting in, but suppose they had something extra special that made you look twice....since they will all be a drag on the median, do they all have an equally good shot at getting in, or does the 169/3.75 have an edge? Would the 158/3.3 be so much lower than the rest of the class that you'd worry about his/her ability to compete with his/her classmates, or is that a non-concern? If the 158/3.3 was an academic concern, would the 165/3.6 not be since it's still in the ballpark? I'm a 3L, but I am just curious.


Wayward, it matters a great deal. In your scenario, for example, one could likely conjecture that a 169/3.75 is above both 25th percentiles and the other two are not. So even though slightly below both medians, you are above both 25ths and still very much in the running for a seat in the class. Also keep in mind that the medians you are looking at are based on the previous year's class and may not accurately reflect the current year's application pool. Even more, in year's past I believe Bob Morse at US News has used, at times, a "calculated median" for LSAT scores which is the 25th + 75th/2.

Finally, and most importantly, schools do use LSAT + uGPA for their predictive values. In other words, they will interpret a higher LSAt and uGPA as more indicative of your ability to succeed at their law school (or as a 1L) and less likely that faculty will be in the admissions office complaining about the quality of the students.

For all of these reasons it does matter how close to the medians you are, even if below both.

wannabelawstudent
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby wannabelawstudent » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:32 pm

What are your thoughts on sending an LOCI before a decision? I'm trying to get into WUSTL, got a 167/2.5 and went complete 1/04, I know they've already passed me based on other people reporting, and it looks like I may be part of a mass wave of either rejections or waitlists in mid-march. It's my top choice and I'm just a little worried. Too soon?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:42 pm

wannabelawstudent wrote:What are your thoughts on sending an LOCI before a decision? I'm trying to get into WUSTL, got a 167/2.5 and went complete 1/04, I know they've already passed me based on other people reporting, and it looks like I may be part of a mass wave of either rejections or waitlists in mid-march. It's my top choice and I'm just a little worried. Too soon?


I need to make sure I disclaim I am in no way speaking for WUSTL, but on a much more broad level why would you ever send a LOCI after a decision is made? I would always send before the decision is rendered.

Big Dog
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Big Dog » Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:01 pm

wannabe is probably off-the-chart below 25th GPA, so a LOCI now makes sense (to hopefully avoid a ding).

But what about the prior poster Mike, who is below medians, but above 25th? Worth it to send a LOCI prior to a possible WL, or save it for the WL?

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gatorgirl2012
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby gatorgirl2012 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:39 am

MikeSpivey wrote:
wannabelawstudent wrote:What are your thoughts on sending an LOCI before a decision? I'm trying to get into WUSTL, got a 167/2.5 and went complete 1/04, I know they've already passed me based on other people reporting, and it looks like I may be part of a mass wave of either rejections or waitlists in mid-march. It's my top choice and I'm just a little worried. Too soon?


I need to make sure I disclaim I am in no way speaking for WUSTL, but on a much more broad level why would you ever send a LOCI after a decision is made? I would always send before the decision is rendered.


This is very interesting!

So if you expect to get WLed at a school, should you be sending one if you haven't heard back after a while? As opposed to right after you get WLed, which is what I did for two schools already....

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:54 pm

Big Dog wrote:wannabe is probably off-the-chart below 25th GPA, so a LOCI now makes sense (to hopefully avoid a ding).

But what about the prior poster Mike, who is below medians, but above 25th? Worth it to send a LOCI prior to a possible WL, or save it for the WL?


Humungous Dog:

I had dinner with an admissions dean last week and we discussed this. We both agree that you want to express an interest through a LOCI before a decision is rendered and then again after if you are waitlisted. (please don't, anyone, if you are denied. (This happens and is quite frankly painful) The "before a decision" applies to everyone, including if you are above both medians. Some schools may yield protect and consider this very valuable and worth the effort.

wannabelawstudent
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby wannabelawstudent » Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:35 am

Thank you kind sir. I sent one off last week. Now its just more waiting and waiting...

cjayb
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby cjayb » Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:01 pm

Just to continue briefly with the last question:

This is my first cycle applying -- where would I even send a LOCI? Would I simply email it to the general admissions mailbox and ask them to place it with my file? To one/all of the listed admissions deans?

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John_rizzy_rawls
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby John_rizzy_rawls » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:50 pm

Mike,

Thanks a bunch for taking questions.

Two questions -

1) How much does transcript matter? For example, I'm a CC--->T20 transfer. During one bad semester (of which I actually have a very legit addendum for) I got 2 Fs. Other than that my GPA is ~3.9. To make up for the Fs I've taken quite a few less rigorous classes at my UG and a CC to boost my GPA as high as possible. I'll end up with a ~3.5/3.6. How heavily is this taken into account? Is it looked down on?

2) I'm applying this upcoming cycle (c/o 2017). Gunning hard for HYS. Would you recommend applying the day apps are open with a 3.5x/172ish or mid-December with a 3.6x/172ish? Is the time trade-off worth the small GPA boost. I know I can wait for Yale without penalty so I'm moreso asking for Harvard and Stanford (throw in CCN, Berkeley, and Penn as well). I've heard applying day 1 then updating with my transcripts is the best option, I'm just paranoid at being rejected before I have a chance to update with Fall grades in mid-December and Winter grades in late January.

I ask because my stats + URM register as almost auto-admit everywhere but Yale on myLSN but when I look beyond the numbers most applicant with my LSAT break the 3.6 threshold. So I'm just not sure how much those extra few points matter compared to the early application boost at rolling-admissions schools.

For the record I'm AA male URM with pretty above average softs (lower than Olympian/Rhodes, higher than TFA/WE/campus involvement) and no C&F.

Thanks!

SydneyC
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby SydneyC » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:11 am

Thanks for doing this! Very interesting.

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Rahviveh
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Rahviveh » Wed Feb 27, 2013 2:21 pm

Are you still taking questions?

If so, how do adcoms view re-applicants with no real changes to their app?

For instance, someone who applied, was accepted, and decided not to attend for whatever reason. Would these people be at a disadvantage if they try to apply again?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:16 pm

ChampagnePapi wrote:Are you still taking questions?

If so, how do adcoms view re-applicants with no real changes to their app?

For instance, someone who applied, was accepted, and decided not to attend for whatever reason. Would these people be at a disadvantage if they try to apply again?


I am! I plan on answering some or all of these tomorrow early afternoon.

But, I think it doesn't make much since for me to do PM's anymore, fyi. When I respond it is only person-to-person (obviously) so I often get the exact same questions over and over. I guess I could copy and paste my answers but even then I have to redact and change schools names.

Also, since it is related I'll bring the following observation up that I find really interesting. I've responded, I think and hope, to every PM I have received. After said responses hardly anyone has followed-up with a "thank you". I think maybe 1 person. The interesting part is that on the public forum so many people do say "thank you" and seem very sincerely appreciative. That would make an interesting psychology study, I think, if people are more apt to be thankful publicly versus privately. Anyway, certainly no big deal (like I said I love doing this) but would make for some interesting theories if anyone has them.

LRGhost
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby LRGhost » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:19 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
ChampagnePapi wrote:Are you still taking questions?

If so, how do adcoms view re-applicants with no real changes to their app?

For instance, someone who applied, was accepted, and decided not to attend for whatever reason. Would these people be at a disadvantage if they try to apply again?


I am! I plan on answering some or all of these tomorrow early afternoon.

But, I think it doesn't make much since for me to do PM's anymore, fyi. When I respond it is only person-to-person (obviously) so I often get the exact same questions over and over. I guess I could copy and paste my answers but even then I have to redact and change schools names.

Also, since it is related I'll bring the following observation up that I find really interesting. I've responded, I think and hope, to every PM I have received. After said responses hardly anyone has followed-up with a "thank you". I think maybe 1 person. The interesting part is that on the public forum so many people do say "thank you" and seem very sincerely appreciative. That would make an interesting psychology study, I think, if people are more apt to be thankful publicly versus privately. Anyway, certainly no big deal (like I said I love doing this) but would make for some interesting theories if anyone has them.


Maybe the people who PM you are less participatory in the forum and view the whole thing as a resource rather than as an exchange?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:22 pm

LRGhost wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
ChampagnePapi wrote:Are you still taking questions?

If so, how do adcoms view re-applicants with no real changes to their app?

For instance, someone who applied, was accepted, and decided not to attend for whatever reason. Would these people be at a disadvantage if they try to apply again?


I am! I plan on answering some or all of these tomorrow early afternoon.

But, I think it doesn't make much since for me to do PM's anymore, fyi. When I respond it is only person-to-person (obviously) so I often get the exact same questions over and over. I guess I could copy and paste my answers but even then I have to redact and change schools names.

Also, since it is related I'll bring the following observation up that I find really interesting. I've responded, I think and hope, to every PM I have received. After said responses hardly anyone has followed-up with a "thank you". I think maybe 1 person. The interesting part is that on the public forum so many people do say "thank you" and seem very sincerely appreciative. That would make an interesting psychology study, I think, if people are more apt to be thankful publicly versus privately. Anyway, certainly no big deal (like I said I love doing this) but would make for some interesting theories if anyone has them.


Maybe the people who PM you are less participatory in the forum and view the whole thing as a resource rather than as an exchange?


Seems highly possible and a good working theory because I think in general (maybe) they aren't as participative in this thread.

Maybe my PM responses suck versus my public ones and it is me, not them. I serious about that btw, that it is possible. I should go back and check.

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John_rizzy_rawls
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby John_rizzy_rawls » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:26 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:Also, since it is related I'll bring the following observation up that I find really interesting. I've responded, I think and hope, to every PM I have received. After said responses hardly anyone has followed-up with a "thank you". I think maybe 1 person. The interesting part is that on the public forum so many people do say "thank you" and seem very sincerely appreciative. That would make an interesting psychology study, I think, if people are more apt to be thankful publicly versus privately. Anyway, certainly no big deal (like I said I love doing this) but would make for some interesting theories if anyone has them.


I'm not sure I'm qualified to speak to this since you got two hearty thank yous and probably more than you wanted in my PM back lol

Anyway, people being fairly self-interested but cognizant of remaining considerate in public or making sure to follow a social formality (such as thanking you ITT) is pretty common unfortunately.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:28 pm

John_rizzy_rawls wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:Also, since it is related I'll bring the following observation up that I find really interesting. I've responded, I think and hope, to every PM I have received. After said responses hardly anyone has followed-up with a "thank you". I think maybe 1 person. The interesting part is that on the public forum so many people do say "thank you" and seem very sincerely appreciative. That would make an interesting psychology study, I think, if people are more apt to be thankful publicly versus privately. Anyway, certainly no big deal (like I said I love doing this) but would make for some interesting theories if anyone has them.


I'm not sure I'm qualified to speak to this since you got two hearty thank yous and probably more than you wanted in my PM back lol

Anyway, people being fairly self-interested but cognizant of remaining considerate in public or making sure to follow a social formality (such as thanking you ITT) is pretty common unfortunately.


John, Check your message board. I noted, since I Pm'd you, you do not count :) Also, I noted you thanked me immediately. I only mentioned that through PM, not here, just in case you didn't want me to call you out on here.
Last edited by MikeSpivey on Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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eav1277
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby eav1277 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:29 pm

Well, on Behalf of all of us here/TLS, Thank you Tls is a great resource. Your posts make it that much better. Since you've been on the other side of the process you bring invaluable information/a different perspective. I think you may have answered this previously but are there any things you have read/assumptions/pieces of advice on The forum that surprise you or are entirely wrong. Just curious. Tls is a crazy group. A little aggressive at times. Lol

LRGhost
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby LRGhost » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:32 pm

For what it's worth, this thread made me send off a LOCI-lite after about 5 weeks of no communication with a school. Probably gonna send off to other schools as well. If even one staves off a WL or worse, a ding, it's worth it, and I doubt 12 sentences expressing enthusiasm for the school and reasserting basic points in Why X's can hurt. Is this generally a good format?

(For the one school I already sent one off to, I mentioned seeing them in the news and that it gave me the impetus to reassert that they're the #1 choice for me, etc. Other schools would have a less detailed letter just because this one was quoted, but is that a decent basic format?)

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:36 pm

eav1277 wrote:Well, on Behalf of all of us here/TLS, Thank you Tls is a great resource. Your posts make it that much better. Since you've been on the other side of the process you bring invaluable information/a different perspective. I think you may have answered this previously but are there any things you have read/assumptions/pieces of advice on The forum that surprise you or are entirely wrong. Just curious


One of the biggest misconception I see on here is the statement along the lines of "I plan on retaking the LSAT and scoring x higher when x is 5 points or more. I have years upon years of empirical data that shows that is highly unlikely, especially for people who have already scored in a higher percentile than most. The problem is that people who actually did score 5 or more higher, of course gravitate to this threads and say "yes yes you will" (and of course there are beautiful snowflake outliers). But again, one of the worst things you should do is "plan" on scoring much better. It very rarely happens, the internal consistency of the LSAC is very high. This is a credit to their psychometricians who I think very highly of.

I could go on and on about this topic but people seem so sensitive about it even though I am talking about macro-data, not any individual.

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John_rizzy_rawls
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby John_rizzy_rawls » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:43 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:John, Check your message board. I noted, since I Pm'd you, you do not count :) Also, I noted you thanked me immediately. I only mentioned that through PM, not here, just in case you didn't want me to call you out on here.


I actually don't see a PM from you after that way-too-long PM I sent you last night but thanks anyway Mike!

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:46 pm

John_rizzy_rawls wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:John, Check your message board. I noted, since I Pm'd you, you do not count :) Also, I noted you thanked me immediately. I only mentioned that through PM, not here, just in case you didn't want me to call you out on here.


I actually don't see a PM from you after that way-too-long PM I sent you last night but thanks anyway Mike!


Oh snap, you are right, it's not in my sent box. Maybe the same thing happened to all the individual "thanks" messages! Basically I said "I just posted a message on TLS, it does not apply to you for the following reasons (a) I Pm'd you, not visa-versa, (b) you responded immediately and said thanks, and (c) I haven't even answered your question yet"

Now I feel guilty and will answer your question now, versus tomorrow.

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eav1277
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby eav1277 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:47 pm

Interesting. Thanks. I think the retake is highly encouraged on the site. I retook in February. I hope I'll be one of the beautiful snowflake outliers you referenced. :lol:


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