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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Big Dog
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Big Dog » Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:11 pm

hey, Mike:

thanks for this thread, which raises questions that I never knew I should have. :D

born4law
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby born4law » Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:32 pm

Hi Mike, very grateful for your input here. I've got a concern of my own you could hopefully answer.

How often are applicants Googled? Is it by now standard operating procedure to view applicants' web presence (Google/LinkedIn/Facebook/other sites the applicant runs or publishes on) and see what's out there?

On the same token, are applications printed out or viewed digitally? I ask this because if links are provided on resumes, etc., then are they simply clicked and followed through, or not because they're printed and it's just too much of a hassle to type links off of paper applications?

Thanks!

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fatpeopleavenger
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby fatpeopleavenger » Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:20 am

Hey Mike,

This is an unusual question but I'll ask anyways. I know the overall LSAT score is all that matters but do schools occasionally look at the breakdown of an applicant's LSAT score? For example, if an applicant did very well with logical reasoning sections but did miserable in logic games, would this make any impression on an admission committee? Or do schools never look at the breakdown of an LSAT score?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:37 pm

I'm going to try to answer a few questions in the thread, starting now. Sorry to have been off the grid, I've been swimming in work with a good deal of new clients plus the new website plus trying to get polls up and running on the blog which has been much more cantankerous than I thought it would be.

Because of the above, I need to reiterate I really doubt I can respond to PM's with much timeliness and apologize for that. I respect that some people PM me with individual questions that are private and wish I could answer more frequently. Also, if you do PM me and if I don't respond in 6 hours so you PM me again with the same exact question it will make it even less likely I can respond. You know who you are :)

Finally, I noted over the weekend that USNWR Law School Rankings AND God of War Ascension come out March 12th. I think Morse and his team timed this to ovverlap so they can go on a binge of gaming and ignore all of the media phone calls on the 12th. Any other theories?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:45 pm

johmica wrote:Thanks so much for offering this service.

My question pertains to my unorthodox work history since undergraduate school. I graduated in 2000 with dual B.A.s in Philosophy and German from Berea College. I was awarded the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, allowing me a year of independent study abroad (I spent time in eastern Europe). After my Fellowship year abroad, I began studies in a graduate program, but withdrew from the university after completing a year's coursework. For personal reasons that I won't go in to in detail, I decided that my graduate studies would be best postponed until my two young children had grown a bit older, and a bit less dependent upon my attentions.

Fast-forward thirteen years. My children are now 16 and 13 years old, and I am hoping to begin law school in the Fall semester of 2014. I understand that many law school admissions officers view favorably work experience in their applicants, but I suspect that the work experience they most value is of the white-collar variety. I've been a licensed plumber for the last eight years or so, you see.

I hope to be competitive in the T14. My uGPA is not exceptional by any standards, falling somewhere in the 3.35 range, but I'm hopeful that the 13 years between that performance and now will mitigate the damage. I have not yet taken the LSAT (scheduled for June), but am consistently scoring in the 177-180 range on timed practice tests, and study nightly. My biggest concern is how admissions officers will view the last 13 years I've spent working in the construction industry. Will it be a deterrent to admissions in the Harvard/Columbia/UChicago circle, will it be relatively innocuous, or could it possibly be viewed as a strong "soft."

I've posed this question in different threads on this forum before, but because of the unusual nature of my circumstance, the general consensus tends to be "it's anyone's guess." You, however, seem to be in a position to offer real-world insight. I thank you for any advice you have to offer.


Johmica:

If anything, I think this will help you. Admissions is entirely about differentiating from large numbers of people. Differentiating empirical is the best way to do this, e.g. LSAT or uGPA, but there are many other ways. Law schools get TONS of applications from people who have dabbled the legal employment field but hardly any from people with the kind of long-term, "roll up your sleeves" experience you have. so, while for individual schools it remains anyone's guess, I think in general you will stand out positively.

I hope this helps! Best of luck to you and well wishes for your family!

-Mike

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:10 pm

born4law wrote:Hi Mike, very grateful for your input here. I've got a concern of my own you could hopefully answer.

How often are applicants Googled? Is it by now standard operating procedure to view applicants' web presence (Google/LinkedIn/Facebook/other sites the applicant runs or publishes on) and see what's out there?

On the same token, are applications printed out or viewed digitally? I ask this because if links are provided on resumes, etc., then are they simply clicked and followed through, or not because they're printed and it's just too much of a hassle to type links off of paper applications?

Thanks!


Bourne (I like this version of your name better)

I don't think applicants are Googled, LinkedIn'd, or Facebook'd in mass or very often. Certainly if things seem to not make sense in the application or there are some disconnects between various parts of the application, this can happen.

Much more frequently, I think, an admissions officer may try to figure out who someone is based on their posts on this board. But this is because admissions officers can obsess over "is this admit coming to our school" so their isn't any nefarious purpose, just passion about filling the class with the best possible candidates. You'd be amazed at how easy it can be to reverse-engineeer who a specific applicant is based on what they say on TLS.

I honestly can't really give you a good answer for digital versus print. When I started in admissions I believe it was almost 100% print when the "file went to committee", and there has been a predictable trend towards digital/paperless ever since. But again, I have no idea what that breakdown might be and I do know of offices that still prefer to have a file in hand when reading an application.

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TheThriller
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby TheThriller » Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:14 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
born4law wrote:Hi Mike, very grateful for your input here. I've got a concern of my own you could hopefully answer.

How often are applicants Googled? Is it by now standard operating procedure to view applicants' web presence (Google/LinkedIn/Facebook/other sites the applicant runs or publishes on) and see what's out there?

On the same token, are applications printed out or viewed digitally? I ask this because if links are provided on resumes, etc., then are they simply clicked and followed through, or not because they're printed and it's just too much of a hassle to type links off of paper applications?

Thanks!


Bourne (I like this version of your name better)

I don't think applicants are Googled, LinkedIn'd, or Facebook'd in mass or very often. Certainly if things seem to not make sense in the application or there are some disconnects between various parts of the application, this can happen.

Much more frequently, I think, an admissions officer may try to figure out who someone is based on their posts on this board. But this is because admissions officers can obsess over "is this admit coming to our school" so their isn't any nefarious purpose, just passion about filling the class with the best possible candidates. You'd be amazed at how easy it can be to reverse-engineeer who a specific applicant is based on what they say on TLS.

I honestly can't really give you a good answer for digital versus print. When I started in admissions I believe it was almost 100% print when the "file went to committee", and there has been a predictable trend towards digital/paperless ever since. But again, I have no idea what that breakdown might be and I do know of offices that still prefer to have a file in hand when reading an application.


AKA, be on your best behavior.

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nickb285
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby nickb285 » Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:36 pm

TheThriller wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:Much more frequently, I think, an admissions officer may try to figure out who someone is based on their posts on this board. But this is because admissions officers can obsess over "is this admit coming to our school" so their isn't any nefarious purpose, just passion about filling the class with the best possible candidates. You'd be amazed at how easy it can be to reverse-engineeer who a specific applicant is based on what they say on TLS. .


AKA, be on your best behavior.


This.

Anecdotally--I have a relative who works at a university which houses one of the schools to which I applied. One day she ran into someone who is involved in the law school's admissions process and mentioned my acceptance, to which the latter responded that while they were happy to have me, I should "probably tone down the language online." :oops: Doesn't seem to have hindered my cycle any, but something to keep in mind for other applicants.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:41 pm

nickb285 wrote:
TheThriller wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:Much more frequently, I think, an admissions officer may try to figure out who someone is based on their posts on this board. But this is because admissions officers can obsess over "is this admit coming to our school" so their isn't any nefarious purpose, just passion about filling the class with the best possible candidates. You'd be amazed at how easy it can be to reverse-engineeer who a specific applicant is based on what they say on TLS. .


AKA, be on your best behavior.


This.

Anecdotally--I have a relative who works at a university which houses one of the schools to which I applied. One day she ran into someone who is involved in the law school's admissions process and mentioned my acceptance, to which the latter responded that while they were happy to have me, I should "probably tone down the language online." :oops: Doesn't seem to have hindered my cycle any, but something to keep in mind for other applicants.


That's a good story, thanks for sharing. I can not imagine it would ever come into play with someone who has already been admitted and you'd have to be pretty over-the-top to have it impede your admissions chances, but it definitely could if you were.

Where this really comes in play is for employment. Employers google job applicants obsessively and with impunity. The biggest red flag/most common for hiring partners, incidentally...entitlement. This is coming from many meetings with many hiring partners. Professionals who have had a really first time job almost always have their entitlement beaten out of them, per se, so by the time they reach hiring partner they have come to absolutely loathe it. Indeed, I have gone to various conferences where, sadly, that is all you hear. "Blah blah blah so entitled"

Anyway, I rambled off, but yes be careful especially if you are on the employment boards.

wannabelawstudent
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby wannabelawstudent » Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:47 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
eav1277 wrote: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:


Retaking makes since in most cases, and almost can't hurt. So it is not the retaking that is the issue, it is the notion that "I will retake and score a 175 when I got a 165" that harms people. The more certain people are that this will happen, the more despondent they get when it does not.

Oh I thought of another one that is worse and more prevalent and will address soon. I owe Mr Rizzle an answer now.

I dont think you ever posted what was the worse and more prevalent issue. I'm kinda curious. Any other TLS misconceptions you can think of would be greatly appreciated.
Last edited by wannabelawstudent on Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

LRGhost
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby LRGhost » Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:47 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
nickb285 wrote:
TheThriller wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:Much more frequently, I think, an admissions officer may try to figure out who someone is based on their posts on this board. But this is because admissions officers can obsess over "is this admit coming to our school" so their isn't any nefarious purpose, just passion about filling the class with the best possible candidates. You'd be amazed at how easy it can be to reverse-engineeer who a specific applicant is based on what they say on TLS. .


AKA, be on your best behavior.


This.

Anecdotally--I have a relative who works at a university which houses one of the schools to which I applied. One day she ran into someone who is involved in the law school's admissions process and mentioned my acceptance, to which the latter responded that while they were happy to have me, I should "probably tone down the language online." :oops: Doesn't seem to have hindered my cycle any, but something to keep in mind for other applicants.


That's a good story, thanks for sharing.


Ugh

btp
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby btp » Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:30 am

Hello Mike,

Thank you for your time. My first question is how soon do schools receive our LSAT scores after we do? This is my 2nd score so I am unsure if I should call or email my schools to notify them that I have an updated file. Also do you think that there is any advantage to negotiating with schools before or after the new USNWR are released? Thank you.

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jetsfan1
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby jetsfan1 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:34 am

tag

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:04 am

btp wrote:Hello Mike,

Thank you for your time. My first question is how soon do schools receive our LSAT scores after we do? This is my 2nd score so I am unsure if I should call or email my schools to notify them that I have an updated file. Also do you think that there is any advantage to negotiating with schools before or after the new USNWR are released? Thank you.


Admissions offices get the scores when you do. So immediately. I'd still call them and let them know, it's likely a professional courtesy in their eyes.

Negotiating for sch0larships? That is interesting. In theory, no because they should have a formula for a set amount of money they have and then set amount multiplied by (x) for how much they have already offered. But, USNWR rankings, if nothing else, effect behavior so I imagine you could see some schools panic if they fall significantly in the rankings and try to get more money dedicated for scholarships. My best guess is I really do not know :/

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Steve2207
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Steve2207 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:52 am

I have been watching this thread, and I sincerely thank you for taking the time to answer these questions Mike. I am curious as to how much (if at all), a withdrawal letter is appreciated from students that have already been accepted. I mean, what is the general view of someone who withdrawals an application? Also, is there any frustration with a potential student after they notify you of their decision not to attend? Thanks in advance!

btp
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby btp » Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:16 pm

Stemming from a previously asked question, do admission committees reverse-engineer people who post on law school numbers? It would inform the committee of acceptances, rejections, scholarships, and in some cases how a particular individual ranks the schools that they applied to. I wasn't sure if Ad Coms cared about any of the information they could find on that site or not. Thank you Mike.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:50 am

btp wrote:Stemming from a previously asked question, do admission committees reverse-engineer people who post on law school numbers? It would inform the committee of acceptances, rejections, scholarships, and in some cases how a particular individual ranks the schools that they applied to. I wasn't sure if Ad Coms cared about any of the information they could find on that site or not. Thank you Mike.


btp, yes, some do. I think I may have covered that previously but let me know if you have a more specific question in mind that I did not address. Thanks- Mike

vinnnyvincenzo
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby vinnnyvincenzo » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:57 am

How long should someone wait to send in a LOCI to a waitlisted school?

lyra4
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby lyra4 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:11 pm

Hi Mike,

This is really an edge case so I hope you don't mind answering this. I've yet to hear anything back from my first choice school, GMU. I applied in January to the school; my husband, who is active duty, just found out that he will be stationed in the DC area for the next 4 years starting this summer. (I am very very lucky!)

I'd like to write a LOCI to the school to tell them that they are very much still my top choice; should I mention in the letter that my husband transferred his GI Bill to me and that I plan to use it to pay for school? I will mention the orders to transfer to the area, I don't know if it's a bad move to come out and say "hey, I plan to pay for school with the GI Bill" at the end of a letter about how they are my top choice. It would cover in state tuition, which I should get because of the orders to transfer to the area. I'm not particularly sure that they care and so if it's worth bringing up or not.

thank you in advance for the advice!

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:00 pm

lyra4 wrote:Hi Mike,

This is really an edge case so I hope you don't mind answering this. I've yet to hear anything back from my first choice school, GMU. I applied in January to the school; my husband, who is active duty, just found out that he will be stationed in the DC area for the next 4 years starting this summer. (I am very very lucky!)

I'd like to write a LOCI to the school to tell them that they are very much still my top choice; should I mention in the letter that my husband transferred his GI Bill to me and that I plan to use it to pay for school? I will mention the orders to transfer to the area, I don't know if it's a bad move to come out and say "hey, I plan to pay for school with the GI Bill" at the end of a letter about how they are my top choice. It would cover in state tuition, which I should get because of the orders to transfer to the area. I'm not particularly sure that they care and so if it's worth bringing up or not.

thank you in advance for the advice!


While I try to make sure that everyone knows I am never speaking for an individual school, I would say yes, yes, yes include. I think knowing that your husband will be there for 4 years will be m,re important to a school's admissions office and I think including salient information (which all of the above is) helps in a LOCI.

You are indeed lucky!

-Mike

lyra4
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby lyra4 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:16 pm

Thank you so much for the quick response- that was super helpful. I've sent off my LOCI and put in a sentence at the end that I was intending to use the GI Bill. Now to try to be patient and wish for the best!

LRGhost
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby LRGhost » Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:32 pm

lyra4 wrote:Thank you so much for the quick response- that was super helpful. I've sent off my LOCI and put in a sentence at the end that I was intending to use the GI Bill. Now to try to be patient and wish for the best!


GL!

txtochitown
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby txtochitown » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:55 pm

Hi Mike,

Thanks for all your help in trying to navigate the law school game. But question, if you are accepted at school B and pay both seat deposits and school A takes you off of their wait list say late july/ early august. What has to be done if you prefer school A?

Thank you so much.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:59 pm

txtochitown wrote:Hi Mike,

Thanks for all your help in trying to navigate the law school game. But question, if you are accepted at school B and pay both seat deposits and school A takes you off of their wait list say late july/ early august. What has to be done if you prefer school A?

Thank you so much.


This happens all of the time. You likely will lose your seat deposit at school "B" (unless theirs is refundable which makes no sense to me but some still do that) and go to school "A". This is why there is so much movement off of the wait list all summer long.

txtochitown
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby txtochitown » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:22 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
txtochitown wrote:Hi Mike,

Thanks for all your help in trying to navigate the law school game. But question, if you are accepted at school B and pay both seat deposits and school A takes you off of their wait list say late july/ early august. What has to be done if you prefer school A?

Thank you so much.


This happens all of the time. You likely will lose your seat deposit at school "B" (unless theirs is refundable which makes no sense to me but some still do that) and go to school "A". This is why there is so much movement off of the wait list all summer long.


Thank you so much for the prompt response! I don't want to give up that seat deposit money but if I can get into a better school. Fingers crossed I get a response sooner than later.


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