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 » Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:51 am

Here is an infographic with due dates for T/50 and some other metrics. Kudos and thanks to our wonderful intern for this!

Apologies in advance for the link to the link. I tried all early am to get this to just embed, but couldn't figure word press out. if anyone knows how and wants to clue me in, I will fix. Thanks!

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/inforg ... m-15-to16/

Edit. Made an edit to the infographic

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haus
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby haus » Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:54 pm

Mike and Karen,

Your tweet/blog post on applicant volume caught my eye. George Mason saw a drop of 45.45% for class of 2016 vice that of class of 2015. Their numbers only beat out the University of Iowa (by less than half a percent).

I am surprised that GMU took a hit this big but managed reasonably stable numbers for class size, and stats.

lateralis
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby lateralis » Sun Jan 12, 2014 10:56 pm

Hey Mike,

Great blog post on the change in application volumes!

Any idea when the Official Guide will feature the updated 509s? I see it was last updated in May but perhaps we don't have to wait another few months for the initial release?

Thanks!

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jenesaislaw
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby jenesaislaw » Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:48 am

lateralis wrote:Hey Mike,

Great blog post on the change in application volumes!

Any idea when the Official Guide will feature the updated 509s? I see it was last updated in May but perhaps we don't have to wait another few months for the initial release?

Thanks!


Just use LST for 2012 data. Class of 2013 data will be available in mid April on LST and the ABA. Official Guide is always behind, but I have a call with LSAC in the morning and I will let you know if I find anything.

NYstate
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby NYstate » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:36 am

MikeSpivey wrote:
NYstate wrote:Spivey:

I'm getting ready to leave for a few months but I have to ask you a question before I go: How often do you advise students to take time off and retake (and reapply)? The past few weeks when I've been back on the forums it seems there are still many 0LS who will refuse to retake, don't understand the reality of law school and hiring, and think that any school can get them where they want with a career. How do you handle these folks if you get them in your practice? Do they listen to your advise more than TLS because they pay you?

Have you noticed any increase in students' understanding that numbers are crucially important and that the LSAT is learnable, or has it remained the same over the past few years?


Where you go?

In respect to (1), it is highly individualized. Many clients we t we do, because most can do better and better matters. That doesn't mean we encourage them to take a cycle off often, but we highly encourage most to work the cycle.

For (2), I think there has always been a pretty strong understanding that numbers are deeply important, at least since I've been at this since 2000. The stakes are higher now because the scholarships are much more lucrative and employment is much more iffy, so in that sense perhaps there is more of a finepoint of school outcomes. But people with 169 freaked out over not getting 170's in 2000 about as much as they do now, trust me. It's just in our nature.


Thanks for the response. I just get frustrated by the 0 Ls who resist good advice.

I'm leaving for work because I work now in Europe. The weather and work and seeing doctors kept me here longer than I thought. People at my firm wonder why I waste my time caring about 0Ls. We are so far removed from school and it doesn't impact me at all. But I care because I see so many people making potentially life ruining decisions. I know that people now see IBR and PAYE as solid backup plans, so in that way people don't have to become suicidal about not making loan payments and being harassed by creditors like they used to.

But for so many 0Ls law school is just a mistake. They go to the wrong school in the wrong location because of ranking (see the threads on Alabama), they stay in school when they should drop out, and many of them who want biglaw, and borrow six figures to get there, deeply regret their choice once they are caught up in the demanding lifestyle. ( the craziest part for me was when 0 ALS would post their biglaw budget and how they would repay debt when that hadn't even taken a single class, much less an exam.) Biglaw is a hard, demanding job, but 0Ls write that their plan is to make partner, maybe not at a V5, but some regional V firm, as if those jobs aren't difficult to get. Making partner is something a handfull of grads from any school achieve and partnership tracks take years longer than it used to- with deferrals, etc.

Maybe because I was in school during the recession and saw people lose their jobs and their careers, I'm just hesitant to tell people to borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars to go to law school. I am still stunned by how small class sizes are compared to 5 or 6 years ago and that 0Ls don't comprehend the difference at biglaw now.Couple that with reading the Vale of Tears thread, and I'm even more cautious.

lateralis
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby lateralis » Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:18 pm

jenesaislaw wrote:
lateralis wrote:Hey Mike,

Great blog post on the change in application volumes!

Any idea when the Official Guide will feature the updated 509s? I see it was last updated in May but perhaps we don't have to wait another few months for the initial release?

Thanks!


Just use LST for 2012 data. Class of 2013 data will be available in mid April on LST and the ABA. Official Guide is always behind, but I have a call with LSAC in the morning and I will let you know if I find anything.


I was specifically interested in application volumes for schools outside of the top 50. Are those on LST? I didn't seem them there.

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jenesaislaw
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby jenesaislaw » Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:29 pm

Just spoke to the ABA about this a few hour ago. Application volume by school should be out within a week on the ABA statistics website.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:50 am

Here is a visual representation of the application deadlines for the top 100 law schools:

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/applic ... w-schools/

I had been getting lots of questions about this of late, 'tis the season!

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lawschool22
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby lawschool22 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:52 am

Mike/Karen,

For some schools, sending in the Need Access form and applying for need-based aid is optional.

If, based on your parent's financial situation (which I find it ridiculous they consider that for someone who has been financially independent from their parents for 6 years and who will be receiving no parental assistance, but I digress) you do not expect to receive any need-based aid, is there a risk to sending this in?

By that I mean, will they consciously or sub-consciously consider your overall financial situation when coming up with your merit-based aid offer? If they believe you can "afford" law school, might that affect what they end up giving you in merit aid, or are they two totally separate processes?

Thanks!

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Nonconsecutive
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Nonconsecutive » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:13 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:Here is a visual representation of the application deadlines for the top 100 law schools:

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/applic ... w-schools/

I had been getting lots of questions about this of late, 'tis the season!


Nice work as usual, thanks for the share!

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koalacity
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby koalacity » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:14 pm

lawschool22 wrote:Mike/Karen,

For some schools, sending in the Need Access form and applying for need-based aid is optional.

If, based on your parent's financial situation (which I find it ridiculous they consider that for someone who has been financially independent from their parents for 6 years and who will be receiving no parental assistance, but I digress) you do not expect to receive any need-based aid, is there a risk to sending this in?

By that I mean, will they consciously or sub-consciously consider your overall financial situation when coming up with your merit-based aid offer? If they believe you can "afford" law school, might that affect what they end up giving you in merit aid, or are they two totally separate processes?

Thanks!

Ooh, GREAT question, ls22. I would also be very interested in knowing this.

linkx13
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby linkx13 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:25 pm

koalacity wrote:
lawschool22 wrote:Mike/Karen,

For some schools, sending in the Need Access form and applying for need-based aid is optional.

If, based on your parent's financial situation (which I find it ridiculous they consider that for someone who has been financially independent from their parents for 6 years and who will be receiving no parental assistance, but I digress) you do not expect to receive any need-based aid, is there a risk to sending this in?

By that I mean, will they consciously or sub-consciously consider your overall financial situation when coming up with your merit-based aid offer? If they believe you can "afford" law school, might that affect what they end up giving you in merit aid, or are they two totally separate processes?

Thanks!

Ooh, GREAT question, ls22. I would also be very interested in knowing this.


My understanding is that it really depends on the school. Some will absolutely adjust merit down if they give a lot of need based aid to an applicant (or vice versa I'd suppose). I'd think that you'd end up with the same amount either way, so I don't see a downside to apply for need based aid since I don't think you'd lose anything.

On the need based critique, I feel you. However, in my opinion it HAS to be done with an assessment of parent's financial conditions in mind. There is just way too big of an effect on applications to not consider it. Some one with parents that are rich should not by default be in the same boat as some one whose parents are on welfare. There will definitely be exceptions to this, but there are channels to consider those on a case by case basis.

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andapieceoftoast
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby andapieceoftoast » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:45 pm

First time poster in this thread -- thank you so much for putting it together!

In your experience, when a school says "please allow x to y weeks for a decision to be rendered" should that really be relied upon to gauge acceptance time? I am out of several schools' ranges at this point but obviously do NOT want to contact the schools for fear of reprisal.

I'm assuming this is just one of those "calm down, wait it out scenarios," yes?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:13 pm

andapieceoftoast wrote:First time poster in this thread -- thank you so much for putting it together!

In your experience, when a school says "please allow x to y weeks for a decision to be rendered" should that really be relied upon to gauge acceptance time? I am out of several schools' ranges at this point but obviously do NOT want to contact the schools for fear of reprisal.

I'm assuming this is just one of those "calm down, wait it out scenarios," yes?


Yep, the problem is as follows. "Rolling admisions" does not mean what most people thing it does. In fact,
a lot of the front office people on admissions do not know what it means. So, at times, you may even get misleading dates from the source.

Rolling doesn't mean when you apply is where you are in the Que. That position is actually most often a function of when you apply (obviously you have to apply to be in it) + weighted heavily by how strong of an applicant you are.

So... If everything looks great you may hear well before their x date. If you are on the bubble perhaps slightly after. If you are not likely and the school does not engage in "auto-dinging" it might take a long while. I have seen schools take up to 6 months from complete to decision. Ouch!
Last edited by MikeSpivey on Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:21 pm

lawschool22 wrote:Mike/Karen,

For some schools, sending in the Need Access form and applying for need-based aid is optional.

If, based on your parent's financial situation (which I find it ridiculous they consider that for someone who has been financially independent from their parents for 6 years and who will be receiving no parental assistance, but I digress) you do not expect to receive any need-based aid, is there a risk to sending this in?

By that I mean, will they consciously or sub-consciously consider your overall financial situation when coming up with your merit-based aid offer? If they believe you can "afford" law school, might that affect what they end up giving you in merit aid, or are they two totally separate processes?

Thanks!


In general, I don't think that there is any harm sending it in. As with so many things, it will depend on the school and their process, but just because your parents have money does not mean that they will automatically fund your legal education -- especially when you've been independent from them for several years. Admissions and Financial Aid people get that.
Admissions and financial aid offices often work together post-admission, but I wouldn't let that deter you from sending in your information.

Hope that is helpful!
Cheers,
KB

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lawschool22
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby lawschool22 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:15 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
lawschool22 wrote:Mike/Karen,

For some schools, sending in the Need Access form and applying for need-based aid is optional.

If, based on your parent's financial situation (which I find it ridiculous they consider that for someone who has been financially independent from their parents for 6 years and who will be receiving no parental assistance, but I digress) you do not expect to receive any need-based aid, is there a risk to sending this in?

By that I mean, will they consciously or sub-consciously consider your overall financial situation when coming up with your merit-based aid offer? If they believe you can "afford" law school, might that affect what they end up giving you in merit aid, or are they two totally separate processes?

Thanks!


In general, I don't think that there is any harm sending it in. As with so many things, it will depend on the school and their process, but just because your parents have money does not mean that they will automatically fund your legal education -- especially when you've been independent from them for several years. Admissions and Financial Aid people get that.
Admissions and financial aid offices often work together post-admission, but I wouldn't let that deter you from sending in your information.

Hope that is helpful!
Cheers,
KB


Thanks, Karen. I appreciate the advice!

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koalacity
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby koalacity » Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:11 pm

Thank you, Karen, for the above answer!

I have another financial aid question (that I haven't been able to find much on by searching TLS)-what should an applicant do in applying for aid if their parents are unwilling to provide financial information? Would an applicant still be considered for need-based aid in that scenario?

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:45 pm

koalacity wrote:Thank you, Karen, for the above answer!

I have another financial aid question (that I haven't been able to find much on by searching TLS)-what should an applicant do in applying for aid if their parents are unwilling to provide financial information? Would an applicant still be considered for need-based aid in that scenario?


I wish I had a better answer for you, but this is going to vary depending on the school as well as the individual circumstances in each case. But, there is probably a process in place at each school to handle this type of scenario.

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koalacity
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby koalacity » Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:59 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
koalacity wrote:Thank you, Karen, for the above answer!

I have another financial aid question (that I haven't been able to find much on by searching TLS)-what should an applicant do in applying for aid if their parents are unwilling to provide financial information? Would an applicant still be considered for need-based aid in that scenario?


I wish I had a better answer for you, but this is going to vary depending on the school as well as the individual circumstances in each case. But, there is probably a process in place at each school to handle this type of scenario.

I had guessed as much (that it'd be individual to the school and applicant), but just thought I'd check! Thank you again!

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Clearly
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Clearly » Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:32 am

Quick question. Negotiating tiny scholarship after ED acceptance, possible?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:45 am

Clearly wrote:Quick question. Negotiating tiny scholarship after ED acceptance, possible?


I've seen it done before. Likely it will be late in the process after they get a bunch of $$$ back.

1948
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby 1948 » Wed Jan 15, 2014 11:18 am

MikeSpivey wrote:
Clearly wrote:Quick question. Negotiating tiny scholarship after ED acceptance, possible?


I've seen it done before. Likely it will be late in the process after they get a bunch of $$$ back.


and how exactly would that go? ask "hey, do you have any money left over?" thanks!

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Nonconsecutive
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Nonconsecutive » Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:43 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
lawschool22 wrote:Mike/Karen,

For some schools, sending in the Need Access form and applying for need-based aid is optional.

If, based on your parent's financial situation (which I find it ridiculous they consider that for someone who has been financially independent from their parents for 6 years and who will be receiving no parental assistance, but I digress) you do not expect to receive any need-based aid, is there a risk to sending this in?

By that I mean, will they consciously or sub-consciously consider your overall financial situation when coming up with your merit-based aid offer? If they believe you can "afford" law school, might that affect what they end up giving you in merit aid, or are they two totally separate processes?

Thanks!


In general, I don't think that there is any harm sending it in. As with so many things, it will depend on the school and their process, but just because your parents have money does not mean that they will automatically fund your legal education -- especially when you've been independent from them for several years. Admissions and Financial Aid people get that.
Admissions and financial aid offices often work together post-admission, but I wouldn't let that deter you from sending in your information.

Hope that is helpful!
Cheers,
KB


I was curious if you could expand upon the above bold-italic portion (re: admissions offices and financial aid working together). Is this just verifying that your financial stuff matches up with what you submitted with your initial application? The reason I ask is that in my current position I make a lot less than the national average for that position, but that's because I live in nowheresville. I'd be worried they might think I am trying to hide money or something, if they just assume based on the title on my resume that I'm making more than I actually am.

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teampeeta
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby teampeeta » Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:56 pm

Hi Mike and Karen,

I had a quick if slightly nit-picky question. How important is the page limit for personal statements? I'm having trouble cutting my PS down and certain schools (HLS and Penn) seem very specific about what they're looking for (i.e. 11 point font, double spaced, 1 inch margins, 2 pages). Did you ever penalize people for going over the limit when you read files? Is there an unwritten rule, 2.5 pages- fine, 4 pages- PROBLEM or do schools not really care either way?

Thanks!

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:02 pm

Nonconsecutive wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:
lawschool22 wrote:Mike/Karen,

For some schools, sending in the Need Access form and applying for need-based aid is optional.

If, based on your parent's financial situation (which I find it ridiculous they consider that for someone who has been financially independent from their parents for 6 years and who will be receiving no parental assistance, but I digress) you do not expect to receive any need-based aid, is there a risk to sending this in?

By that I mean, will they consciously or sub-consciously consider your overall financial situation when coming up with your merit-based aid offer? If they believe you can "afford" law school, might that affect what they end up giving you in merit aid, or are they two totally separate processes?

Thanks!


In general, I don't think that there is any harm sending it in. As with so many things, it will depend on the school and their process, but just because your parents have money does not mean that they will automatically fund your legal education -- especially when you've been independent from them for several years. Admissions and Financial Aid people get that.
Admissions and financial aid offices often work together post-admission, but I wouldn't let that deter you from sending in your information.

Hope that is helpful!
Cheers,
KB


I was curious if you could expand upon the above bold-italic portion (re: admissions offices and financial aid working together). Is this just verifying that your financial stuff matches up with what you submitted with your initial application? The reason I ask is that in my current position I make a lot less than the national average for that position, but that's because I live in nowheresville. I'd be worried they might think I am trying to hide money or something, if they just assume based on the title on my resume that I'm making more than I actually am.


I mentioned it that way to emphasize that admission to a school is need-blind, so they work together after the decision is made. I don't think that you have anything to worry about if you are truthful in your application materials. Your tax returns won't lie.


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