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

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:23 pm

No trending, really dumb things Deans say at AALS:

https://twitter.com/SpiveyConsult

AJB
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby AJB » Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:32 pm

I took the LSAT in October and decided to cancel. During the middle sections of the exam (probably 2-5), there was a JV football game at the test center on the field next door which would could hear through the window. There were loud whistles, cheering, chants, etc...which was obviously very distracting, especially considering these were my LR and RC sections. I filed a complaint with LSAC, to no avail, because no one else filed a formal complaint or complained to the test supervisor. I had the option to cancel or keep my score. I didn't feel I did very well (certainly not to the best of my abilities) due to those factors and I decided to cancel. I just retook in December and got a 165...a much more accurate score IMO. I was wondering if I should write a brief addendum to explain the cancelled score.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:43 pm

AJB wrote:I took the LSAT in October and decided to cancel. During the middle sections of the exam (probably 2-5), there was a JV football game at the test center on the field next door which would could hear through the window. There were loud whistles, cheering, chants, etc...which was obviously very distracting, especially considering these were my LR and RC sections. I filed a complaint with LSAC, to no avail, because no one else filed a formal complaint or complained to the test supervisor. I had the option to cancel or keep my score. I didn't feel I did very well (certainly not to the best of my abilities) due to those factors and I decided to cancel. I just retook in December and got a 165...a much more accurate score IMO. I was wondering if I should write a brief addendum to explain the cancelled score.


I don't think there's a need for an addendum when you have one cancelled score and one valid, accurate score Glad you got the score that you wanted!
Cheers,
Karen

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Nonconsecutive
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Nonconsecutive » Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:51 pm

Hello,

With the recent batch of December scores coming out I was wondering about how schools handle updated score reports. Another poster asked about this in a different thread and I figured I would ask here (I searched for a similar question and didn't find it).

When a school receives an updated report with a new LSAT score does that automatically get added in to an applicants file who has already been admitted? I understand that the new score would be a factor for those applicants who are still under consideration, but if you are already admitted do you need to contact them about the new score? The reason I could see this mattering is largely in regards to scholarships. For instance if one was admitted with a median LSAT, then a retake pushed them above the 75th, that would likely matter for merit aid (at least I would assume) and you would want the school to take that into consideration despite already being admitted.

Thanks!

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:03 pm

Nonconsecutive wrote:Hello,

With the recent batch of December scores coming out I was wondering about how schools handle updated score reports. Another poster asked about this in a different thread and I figured I would ask here (I searched for a similar question and didn't find it).

When a school receives an updated report with a new LSAT score does that automatically get added in to an applicants file who has already been admitted? I understand that the new score would be a factor for those applicants who are still under consideration, but if you are already admitted do you need to contact them about the new score? The reason I could see this mattering is largely in regards to scholarships. For instance if one was admitted with a median LSAT, then a retake pushed them above the 75th, that would likely matter for merit aid (at least I would assume) and you would want the school to take that into consideration despite already being admitted.

Thanks!


Each school has a different process, but almost all schools will receive an electronic update so it will go into your electronic file automatically. Those schools that get paper updates usually get those in addition to the electronic update.
It certainly wouldn't hurt to update the school with the good news as a happy FYI.

Cheers,
Karen

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby iamgeorgebush » Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:46 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:No trending, really dumb things Deans say at AALS:

https://twitter.com/SpiveyConsult

Woah, did you notice on the CNN pic that they reversed Boston and NYC?

AJB
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby AJB » Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:49 pm

Another question-
My GPA in College tended to be anywhere from a 3.4-3.6 consistently, except for my junior year. Where it was a 3.28, and a 3.00, dropping me down to a 3.42. I believe this was most likely to me having a close to full time work-study job for the government, while taking the normal 5 classes at my university, along with upper-level classes from my major. Would writing an addendum with this kind of explanation hurt me? I'm wondering if an admissions committee would see this as a negative, that I couldn't balance my time effectively enough, etc.

Thanks!

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lawschool22
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby lawschool22 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:01 pm

AJB wrote:Another question-
My GPA in College tended to be anywhere from a 3.4-3.6 consistently, except for my junior year. Where it was a 3.28, and a 3.00, dropping me down to a 3.42. I believe this was most likely to me having a close to full time work-study job for the government, while taking the normal 5 classes at my university, along with upper-level classes from my major. Would writing an addendum with this kind of explanation hurt me? I'm wondering if an admissions committee would see this as a negative, that I couldn't balance my time effectively enough, etc.

Thanks!


I'll let Karen and Mike give you the real answer ( :D ), but I would definitely not point this out if I were you. It sounds bad to say "I couldn't handle having a not-even-full-time job + undergrad," given how much work your 1L year is going to be...

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:41 am

iamgeorgebush wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:No trending, really dumb things Deans say at AALS:

https://twitter.com/SpiveyConsult

Woah, did you notice on the CNN pic that they reversed Boston and NYC?


That's why I tweeted it :)

Hoping4Happiness
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Hoping4Happiness » Sat Jan 04, 2014 4:15 am

Hello,
My December retake was five points lower than the score I had gotten on my June test... I was torn on whether to write an addendum... on one side I would like to explain what happened... On the other I don't want to bring more attention to my low score (if that makes any sense) what is your experience with this?

Thank you for your insight.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:23 am

Hoping4Happiness wrote:Hello,
My December retake was five points lower than the score I had gotten on my June test... I was torn on whether to write an addendum... on one side I would like to explain what happened... On the other I don't want to bring more attention to my low score (if that makes any sense) what is your experience with this?

Thank you for your insight.


Hoping,

In general, I would not. Not so much because of drawing attention to your lower score (they don't care about that score at all), but because you can not believe the extreme number of LSAT addenda admissions officers see, and for this reasons, they often roll their eyes at them.

Here is a great litmus tests for everyone, though. If the reason you didn't do as well as you had anticipated can be explained in some manner of "I really should have not taken the test that day" e.g. illness, significant personal matter" etc and it is genuine than it bears noting in a concise addendum.

One more thing. I have spent a good part of the past 48 hours speaking to a large number of people on the phone about the LSAT. I want you guys to know that in zero shape, form, or manner should an LSAT score be tied to anyone's feeling of self-esteem. It is an arbitrary test that is designed by some goofy folks and that correlates rather poorly with career success. Indeed, it correlates negatively in some dynamics.

One of the most successful Vanderbilt Law graduate who I had the pleasure to admit as a student scored a 152. He is the CEO of a tremendously lucrative business now and gives tremendously back to the law school. That kid was going to be successful the day he wan born, he just had it in him. No test could tell him otherwise.

-Mike

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chneyo
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby chneyo » Sat Jan 04, 2014 1:57 pm

...
Last edited by chneyo on Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Nonconsecutive
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Nonconsecutive » Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:45 pm

chneyo wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
One more thing. I have spent a good part of the past 48 hours speaking to a large number of people on the phone about the LSAT. I want you guys to know that in zero shape, form, or manner should an LSAT score be tied to anyone's feeling of self-esteem. It is an arbitrary test that is designed by some goofy folks and that correlates rather poorly with career success. Indeed, it correlates negatively in some dynamics.

One of the most successful Vanderbilt Law graduate who I had the pleasure to admit as a student scored a 152. He is the CEO of a tremendously lucrative business now and gives tremendously back to the law school. That kid was going to be successful the day he wan born, he just had it in him. No test could tell him otherwise.



Mike, you're a rock-star.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat Jan 04, 2014 9:26 pm

It is a pleasure and, most importantly, it is true. 100%.

Thanks for the thanks!

-Mike

mccllln2
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby mccllln2 » Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:42 pm

After scanning the thread I haven't seen anyone ask anything like this. I spent two years of undergrad at one big state school and didn't do that well, 3.0 range. I decided to get it together, transferred to another equally strong big state school and got about 3.5ish gpa while i was there. Because I took a lot more credits at the second school my LSAC GPA is about 3.3ish. My question is would it be beneficial to write some kind of addendum asking them to focus on my time at the second school? Or should I just assume they'll notice and value the upward trend in grades, work load etc.? Obviously if there was a compelling reason I was originally doing poorly I would write one but the truth is I was in a bad place and just decided to get my life together.

Sorry this is a very specific question, thank you guys for doing this, this thread has been so helpful!

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:12 am

** quick explanation on personal C&F matters**

Please read if you are going to PM us your C&F situation. I can not help (nor Karen) unless we have an executed contract. This has nothing to do with anything financial at all, whether the contract would be for $0.0 or for a fee is immaterial to this reasoning. But in order to give individual, C&F advice that has long-term implications it would be crazy for us as a business to do so without some legal sign -off.

Thanks for understanding!

-Mike

oceanmd
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby oceanmd » Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:36 pm

Karen and Mike,
I apologize if this has already been asked. I was planning on applying this cycle, but changed my mind, and will be applying next cycle. I received a good number of application fee waivers, including schools that I am interested in, though my LSAT is below their numbers. Should I contact these schools and let them know that I appreciate the waiver, that I am very interested in the school and will be submitting my application this fall? Thank you for all your help.

ZVBXRPL
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby ZVBXRPL » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:59 pm

oceanmd wrote:Karen and Mike,
I apologize if this has already been asked...

No need to apologize. An 'I don't know if this has already been asked but...' would suffice. Save apologies for serious issues like running over your neighbor's dog, ignoring people's texts while binging on Star Wars, or getting pulled over. But in all seriousness, perhaps you should change your application year on LSAC's website.

Newb2law
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Newb2law » Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:31 pm

Hello,
Thank you so much for taking the time to help guide us. As someone who is 2 years out of college with no law firm experience, is there a certain strategy I should use in my personal statement? My current draft talks about some organizations I was involved in at uni and how it inspired me to get involved in environmental law. It just seems really lackluster to me, but then again I've had a really lackluster life thus far.
Last edited by Newb2law on Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

oceanmd
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby oceanmd » Sun Jan 05, 2014 8:35 pm

ZVBXRPL wrote:
oceanmd wrote:Karen and Mike,
I apologize if this has already been asked...

No need to apologize. An 'I don't know if this has already been asked but...' would suffice. Save apologies for serious issues like running over your neighbor's dog, ignoring people's texts while binging on Star Wars, or getting pulled over. But in all seriousness, perhaps you should change your application year on LSAC's website.
Before I change the status, should I email the schools, or just change the cycle in LSAC and that's it? Thank you

mccllln2
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby mccllln2 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:28 pm

oceanmd wrote:
ZVBXRPL wrote:
oceanmd wrote:Karen and Mike,
I apologize if this has already been asked...

No need to apologize. An 'I don't know if this has already been asked but...' would suffice. Save apologies for serious issues like running over your neighbor's dog, ignoring people's texts while binging on Star Wars, or getting pulled over. But in all seriousness, perhaps you should change your application year on LSAC's website.
Before I change the status, should I email the schools, or just change the cycle in LSAC and that's it? Thank you


Just want to reiterate this question, is it a good idea to contact the schools?. My intended application year has always been 2015 on LSAC but I'd still like to hang onto the fee waivers I've received this year as well as my PT invite from Duke. Thanks!

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:35 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:** quick explanation on personal C&F matters**

Please read if you are going to PM us your C&F situation. I can not help (nor Karen) unless we have an executed contract. This has nothing to do with anything financial at all, whether the contract would be for $0.0 or for a fee is immaterial to this reasoning. But in order to give individual, C&F advice that has long-term implications it would be crazy for us as a business to do so without some legal sign -off.

Thanks for understanding!

-Mike



Hey it's me again :) I wasn't clear and I apologize, and I need to elaborate.

So I get a ton of C&F PMs. I mean a huge number -- which is totally understandable because rightfully it is not something most people want to or should post on here. For legal reasons, though, I really can't answer without a contract (not a fee, just a contract). For example, let's assume you are applying to Princeton Law and Thurston Howell III Law, and you ask me a C&F question, I give you immediate advice, and you apply to both. You get admitted to III Law but not Princeton. After three years of law school you now say, wow my earning potential from Princeton would have been 17 million lifetime but at III it is just 1 mil. I think I will sue that Spivey for 16 million, his C&F advice clearly must have kept me out of Princeton,

So by "contract" I do not mean nor was I asking for a "fee". I don't want $50 to give out advice on here, I just can't give out individual C&F advice.

So now today I am getting updated Pms, "hey send me the contract I'll sign and we can have at it" But I am also super-busy. I had 5 work calls today on a Sunday, not including unsolicited ones. That is just calls. So I really do not have the time to draw up individual contracts for 15 PMs a day. If I could, I really would. But time is about my most valuable commodity for the next few months.

Now, the good news. 95% of the C&F questions I get are super benign. Disclose and do not worry. If you forget to disclose, just update them immediately. Schools have a high tolerance for minor C&F issues, because 95% of applicants and humans probably have done a few stupid things in their youth.

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lawschool22
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby lawschool22 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:31 am

MikeSpivey wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:** quick explanation on personal C&F matters**

Please read if you are going to PM us your C&F situation. I can not help (nor Karen) unless we have an executed contract. This has nothing to do with anything financial at all, whether the contract would be for $0.0 or for a fee is immaterial to this reasoning. But in order to give individual, C&F advice that has long-term implications it would be crazy for us as a business to do so without some legal sign -off.

Thanks for understanding!

-Mike



Hey it's me again :) I wasn't clear and I apologize, and I need to elaborate.

So I get a ton of C&F PMs. I mean a huge number -- which is totally understandable because rightfully it is not something most people want to or should post on here. For legal reasons, though, I really can't answer without a contract (not a fee, just a contract). For example, let's assume you are applying to Princeton Law and Thurston Howell III Law, and you ask me a C&F question, I give you immediate advice, and you apply to both. You get admitted to III Law but not Princeton. After three years of law school you now say, wow my earning potential from Princeton would have been 17 million lifetime but at III it is just 1 mil. I think I will sue that Spivey for 16 million, his C&F advice clearly must have kept me out of Princeton,

So by "contract" I do not mean nor was I asking for a "fee". I don't want $50 to give out advice on here, I just can't give out individual C&F advice.

So now today I am getting updated Pms, "hey send me the contract I'll sign and we can have at it" But I am also super-busy. I had 5 work calls today on a Sunday, not including unsolicited ones. That is just calls. So I really do not have the time to draw up individual contracts for 15 PMs a day. If I could, I really would. But time is about my most valuable commodity for the next few months.

Now, the good news. 95% of the C&F questions I get are super benign. Disclose and do not worry. If you forget to disclose, just update them immediately. Schools have a high tolerance for minor C&F issues, because 95% of applicants and humans probably have done a few stupid things in their youth.


Not to mention, specific and individual C&F advice is something your clients pay you for, so I can't see why someone would expect you to provide it for free via PM here. :)

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:22 pm

Well most are just "should I address this" type...I wish I had more leeway to say. I probably was just grouchy yesterday because I have been stunningly overwhelmed with calls of late.

Apologies if we have been slower than normal on here.

AJB
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby AJB » Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:14 pm

If you apply somewhere ED, and then are rejected but are still considered for Regular decision...is your app moved to the bottom of the pile? Would the admissions committee then look at your app again later in the cycle...therefore hurting your chances?


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