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

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:07 pm

teampeeta wrote: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!


If someone went over two pages and the directions explicitly say 2 pages, they are not following directions. The penalty: annoying the reader. Do you really want to do that?

They do care because they put the directions in the instructions. But that doesn't mean that you are an auto-ding if you don't follow them, but you are clearly not following instructions.

I'm sure you can find a way to cut it down. Arial narrow is a good font to try :)

Cheers,
KB

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Nonconsecutive
Posts: 2249
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Nonconsecutive » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:10 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote: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.


That is what I figured, thanks for the response! :)

Bulls96
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Bulls96 » Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:24 pm

Hi Mike, Karen,

If an applicant is borderline and is leaned toward being admitted, would seeing that the applicant has registered for the February LSAT make admissions rethink the decision and instead waitlist the applicant to wait and see the February score?

I want to take the February LSAT to try to get the waitlist off of one school, but don't want to hurt my chances at another school where I believe I'm borderline and could be admitted.

Thanks for your time!

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:57 pm

Bulls96 wrote:Hi Mike, Karen,

If an applicant is borderline and is leaned toward being admitted, would seeing that the applicant has registered for the February LSAT make admissions rethink the decision and instead waitlist the applicant to wait and see the February score?

I want to take the February LSAT to try to get the waitlist off of one school, but don't want to hurt my chances at another school where I believe I'm borderline and could be admitted.

Thanks for your time!


I think in many cases it would, yes. You have to do a sort of risk/reward matrix of calculations given your scenario --I know that sucks. Feel free to call my work number and I'll give you some free advice on this issue if you want.

Mike

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PunkedbyReality
Posts: 72
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby PunkedbyReality » Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:16 pm

I just withdrew from a top-15 school after one semester due to a host of personal reasons. My GPA was a 2.75 for the semester. In light of this, I have two questions:

1) Could I re-apply and get into a top-10 school given the concern of law schools to maintain their medians in the current landscape?

My relevant admissions information:
LSAT: 169 (2012)
Undergrad GPA: 3.71 (competitive honors program)
First-generation college/grad student
Not a URM

I do have fairly reasonable reasons for performing poorly, and for not thriving at my previous school. I could probably take the LSAT for a fourth time and score in the low to mid 170s as I did in my practice tests.

2) How would admissions committees factor in my semester at my previous school in their evaluation of my application?

There is little information addressing these specific questions on the web, as well as on TLS. Any insight into my chances given this unusual scenario would be greatly appreciated, and helpful to other students in similar situations. Thank you.

arivtal
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:39 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby arivtal » Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:21 pm

Thank you so much for your time and help.

Q: In your experience, what kind of boost (if any) can one expect as a non-URM Hispanic? I am Colombian-Cuban and am wondering if there is a chance that I might outperform my numbers because of this.

LSAT: 168
GPA: International "Superior"

Thanks again!

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:12 am

PunkedbyReality wrote:I just withdrew from a top-15 school after one semester due to a host of personal reasons. My GPA was a 2.75 for the semester. In light of this, I have two questions:

1) Could I re-apply and get into a top-10 school given the concern of law schools to maintain their medians in the current landscape?

My relevant admissions information:
LSAT: 169 (2012)
Undergrad GPA: 3.71 (competitive honors program)
First-generation college/grad student
Not a URM

I do have fairly reasonable reasons for performing poorly, and for not thriving at my previous school. I could probably take the LSAT for a fourth time and score in the low to mid 170s as I did in my practice tests.

2) How would admissions committees factor in my semester at my previous school in their evaluation of my application?

There is little information addressing these specific questions on the web, as well as on TLS. Any insight into my chances given this unusual scenario would be greatly appreciated, and helpful to other students in similar situations. Thank you.


This is tough because there are two realities here which would indicate somewhat incongruous results:
--> all of the numbers are predictive measures of how you'll do in law school, and you have actual performance in law school to add to the mix (despite the reasons for the poor performance, it is what it is)
--> applications are down and your numbers might help a school fill a seat.

My initial reaction to something like this is to say that putting time between you and this performance is probably the best remedy, especially since you are a somewhat recent graduate, but we have no idea how long this dip in applications will last, and this is a good time to apply.
There is no harm in retaking the LSAT if you think you can do better - it might even help if you can get in the 170's. That's the first step!

Cheers,
KB

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Mojosodope
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Mojosodope » Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:26 am

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
PunkedbyReality wrote:I just withdrew from a top-15 school after one semester due to a host of personal reasons. My GPA was a 2.75 for the semester. In light of this, I have two questions:

1) Could I re-apply and get into a top-10 school given the concern of law schools to maintain their medians in the current landscape?

My relevant admissions information:
LSAT: 169 (2012)
Undergrad GPA: 3.71 (competitive honors program)
First-generation college/grad student
Not a URM

I do have fairly reasonable reasons for performing poorly, and for not thriving at my previous school. I could probably take the LSAT for a fourth time and score in the low to mid 170s as I did in my practice tests.

2) How would admissions committees factor in my semester at my previous school in their evaluation of my application?

There is little information addressing these specific questions on the web, as well as on TLS. Any insight into my chances given this unusual scenario would be greatly appreciated, and helpful to other students in similar situations. Thank you.


This is tough because there are two realities here which would indicate somewhat incongruous results:
--> all of the numbers are predictive measures of how you'll do in law school, and you have actual performance in law school to add to the mix (despite the reasons for the poor performance, it is what it is)
--> applications are down and your numbers might help a school fill a seat.

My initial reaction to something like this is to say that putting time between you and this performance is probably the best remedy, especially since you are a somewhat recent graduate, but we have no idea how long this dip in applications will last, and this is a good time to apply.
There is no harm in retaking the LSAT if you think you can do better - it might even help if you can get in the 170's. That's the first step!

Cheers,
KB


Wouldn't he be considered a Transfer applicant since he completed one semester?

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:27 am

Mojosodope wrote:
Wouldn't he be considered a Transfer applicant since he completed one semester?


Most schools in the top will only look at transfers with one full year of work.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:18 pm

haus wrote: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.


Haus, I think we are going to see both of those schools admitting like crazy this cycle, fyi. not bad options to apply to for many.

Mike

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:23 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
PunkedbyReality wrote:I just withdrew from a top-15 school after one semester due to a host of personal reasons. My GPA was a 2.75 for the semester. In light of this, I have two questions:

1) Could I re-apply and get into a top-10 school given the concern of law schools to maintain their medians in the current landscape?

My relevant admissions information:
LSAT: 169 (2012)
Undergrad GPA: 3.71 (competitive honors program)
First-generation college/grad student
Not a URM

I do have fairly reasonable reasons for performing poorly, and for not thriving at my previous school. I could probably take the LSAT for a fourth time and score in the low to mid 170s as I did in my practice tests.

2) How would admissions committees factor in my semester at my previous school in their evaluation of my application?

There is little information addressing these specific questions on the web, as well as on TLS. Any insight into my chances given this unusual scenario would be greatly appreciated, and helpful to other students in similar situations. Thank you.


This is tough because there are two realities here which would indicate somewhat incongruous results:
--> all of the numbers are predictive measures of how you'll do in law school, and you have actual performance in law school to add to the mix (despite the reasons for the poor performance, it is what it is)
--> applications are down and your numbers might help a school fill a seat.

My initial reaction to something like this is to say that putting time between you and this performance is probably the best remedy, especially since you are a somewhat recent graduate, but we have no idea how long this dip in applications will last, and this is a good time to apply.
There is no harm in retaking the LSAT if you think you can do better - it might even help if you can get in the 170's. That's the first step!

Cheers,
KB


Punked, let me add my 2 cents (feel free to ask for change).

Karen hit the bi-headed coin, if you will. The first reality is far and away how you do in law school is the best predictor of how well you will do at a different law school. It is why, for transfer applicants, class rank is important and emphasized. BUT, for transfer applicants LSAT and uGPA do not go to the ABA. For you, they do. and this plays into your favor

So, what matters for you is, obviously, the reason for your performance and, looking forward, assurances that it was due to extenuating circumstances that you take ownership of (I realize that sounds like an oxymoron) and that do not seem likely to happen again.

Schools are going to want your scores, I think it is just going to happen later in the cycle. So if you do the withdraw and reapplication addendum/addenda well, work the waitlist well, I think t10 - t12 is still very viable.

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PunkedbyReality
Posts: 72
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby PunkedbyReality » Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:52 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:
PunkedbyReality wrote:I just withdrew from a top-15 school after one semester due to a host of personal reasons. My GPA was a 2.75 for the semester. In light of this, I have two questions:

1) Could I re-apply and get into a top-10 school given the concern of law schools to maintain their medians in the current landscape?

My relevant admissions information:
LSAT: 169 (2012)
Undergrad GPA: 3.71 (competitive honors program)
First-generation college/grad student
Not a URM

I do have fairly reasonable reasons for performing poorly, and for not thriving at my previous school. I could probably take the LSAT for a fourth time and score in the low to mid 170s as I did in my practice tests.

2) How would admissions committees factor in my semester at my previous school in their evaluation of my application?

There is little information addressing these specific questions on the web, as well as on TLS. Any insight into my chances given this unusual scenario would be greatly appreciated, and helpful to other students in similar situations. Thank you.


This is tough because there are two realities here which would indicate somewhat incongruous results:
--> all of the numbers are predictive measures of how you'll do in law school, and you have actual performance in law school to add to the mix (despite the reasons for the poor performance, it is what it is)
--> applications are down and your numbers might help a school fill a seat.

My initial reaction to something like this is to say that putting time between you and this performance is probably the best remedy, especially since you are a somewhat recent graduate, but we have no idea how long this dip in applications will last, and this is a good time to apply.
There is no harm in retaking the LSAT if you think you can do better - it might even help if you can get in the 170's. That's the first step!

Cheers,
KB


Punked, let me add my 2 cents (feel free to ask for change).

Karen hit the bi-headed coin, if you will. The first reality is far and away how you do in law school is the best predictor of how well you will do at a different law school. It is why, for transfer applicants, class rank is important and emphasized. BUT, for transfer applicants LSAT and uGPA do not go to the ABA. For you, they do. and this plays into your favor

So, what matters for you is, obviously, the reason for your performance and, looking forward, assurances that it was due to extenuating circumstances that you take ownership of (I realize that sounds like an oxymoron) and that do not seem likely to happen again.

Schools are going to want your scores, I think it is just going to happen later in the cycle. So if you do the withdraw and reapplication addendum/addenda well, work the waitlist well, I think t10 - t12 is still very viable.


Thank you both very much!

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sims1
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby sims1 » Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:45 pm

Quick question: I have sent my transcripts with my most recent fall grades to LSAC, and I know they will forward them off to each school. Is it a good idea to call each school or send them a quick email advising them that I have updated grades? I'm complete at everywhere that I have applied so I'm thinking that they may not update the application for whoever is reviewing it. Thanks!!

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jdom
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby jdom » Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:49 pm

.
Last edited by jdom on Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:01 pm

sims1 wrote:Quick question: I have sent my transcripts with my most recent fall grades to LSAC, and I know they will forward them off to each school. Is it a good idea to call each school or send them a quick email advising them that I have updated grades? I'm complete at everywhere that I have applied so I'm thinking that they may not update the application for whoever is reviewing it. Thanks!!


Send them a quick email - especially if the grades will up your Cum GPA. It won't hurt -- be brief!
Cheers,
KB

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:02 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
Mojosodope wrote:
Wouldn't he be considered a Transfer applicant since he completed one semester?


Most schools in the top will only look at transfers with one full year of work.


And to be frank, you wouldn't want to apply as a transfer with lackluster grades.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:32 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
Mojosodope wrote:
Wouldn't he be considered a Transfer applicant since he completed one semester?


Most schools in the top will only look at transfers with one full year of work.


Mojo, nope. He just won't be able to bring any credits with him.

best.

Mike

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Mojosodope
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Mojosodope » Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:38 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:
Mojosodope wrote:
Wouldn't he be considered a Transfer applicant since he completed one semester?


Most schools in the top will only look at transfers with one full year of work.


Mojo, nope. He just won't be able to bring any credits with him.

best.

Mike


Doesn't that just open up a bag of worms of people who do bad first semester to just withdrawal and reapply?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:43 pm

Mojosodope wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:
Mojosodope wrote:
Wouldn't he be considered a Transfer applicant since he completed one semester?


Most schools in the top will only look at transfers with one full year of work.


Mojo, nope. He just won't be able to bring any credits with him.

best.

Mike


Doesn't that just open up a bag of worms of people who do bad first semester to just withdrawal and reapply?


Perhaps, but why would the law schools care? Ultimately it is more revenue for them

kcdc1
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby kcdc1 » Sun Jan 19, 2014 2:59 pm

With regard to LSAT and GPA, do schools care only about 25/50/75, or do means also play a factor? For a school with a 75th LSAT at 172, is a 178 significantly different that a 174?

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JustHawkin
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby JustHawkin » Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:03 pm

kcdc1 wrote:With regard to LSAT and GPA, do schools care only about 25/50/75, or do means also play a factor? For a school with a 75th LSAT at 172, is a 178 significantly different that a 174?

I would look through the past 2 or 3 pages. I believe there is a link for one of Mike's blog posts that covers this.

ETA: A question for you guys. For a waitlist applicant who is sending in a LOCI, would it be worth mentioning how a fiancee or spouse recently got an acceptance at graduate school or a job offer in the metro area where that school is?

kcdc1
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby kcdc1 » Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:21 pm

Thanks, I had actually seen the blog post that deals with how schools approach the 25th and 75th percentile. I'm curious about whether schools place emphasis on their means.

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iamgeorgebush
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby iamgeorgebush » Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:40 am

JustHawkin wrote:
kcdc1 wrote:With regard to LSAT and GPA, do schools care only about 25/50/75, or do means also play a factor? For a school with a 75th LSAT at 172, is a 178 significantly different that a 174?

I would look through the past 2 or 3 pages. I believe there is a link for one of Mike's blog posts that covers this.

ETA: A question for you guys. For a waitlist applicant who is sending in a LOCI, would it be worth mentioning how a fiancee or spouse recently got an acceptance at graduate school or a job offer in the metro area where that school is?

Pretty sure this has been answered in this thread as well, and Mike and/or Karen said yes, it would be worthwhile.

bombombom
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby bombombom » Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:13 am

Is there a large portion of waitlist for the international applicant? The enrollment number is single-digit I think, Am I looked really desperate?Of course NO. I will fight to the end!! :twisted:

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:43 am

kcdc1 wrote:With regard to LSAT and GPA, do schools care only about 25/50/75, or do means also play a factor? For a school with a 75th LSAT at 172, is a 178 significantly different that a 174?


Unless "mean"/average (I will use average because people sometimes read mean quickly and assume median) is a default field when you run reports on your applicant pool/admits/deposits/etc, I bet not a single school could even tell you their average LSAT and GPA. For many good reasons, I can't imagine averages ever being used for real consideration. Good question, I have not thought of that in years.

Mike


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