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 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:51 am

bombombom wrote: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:


No larger than the applicant pool. But yes, one of the keys to the WL is staying in the game with a positive attitude. Like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fdcIwHKd_s

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby ScottRiqui » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:00 pm

MikeSpivey 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?


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


So is it unreasonable to think that if you're below a school's 25th percentile, it doesn't really matter much just how far you are below the 25th? Or that being a little bit above their 75th is about as good as being way above it?

When I picture adcomms "building" a class with certain numbers in mind for their desired 25/50/75 percentiles, I imagine them dropping applicants into one of four "buckets" - below 25th, 25th to 50th, 50th to 75th, and above 75th. If the 75th percentile LSAT they're aiming for is a 167, both a 170 and a 173 are going to put the applicant in the same bucket, so do the adcomms really view them differently? Same with a 2.7 uGPA versus a 3.0 - they're both going into the "below 25th" bucket, so is the person with the 2.7 substantially worse-off than the applicant with the 3.0?

I'm curious because as a super-splitter, I think I outperformed my numbers this cycle, and it would explain a lot if all "below-25th" GPAs were treated as roughly the same.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:04 pm

ScottRiqui wrote:
MikeSpivey 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?


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


So is it unreasonable to think that if you're below a school's 25th percentile, it doesn't really matter much just how far you are below the 25th? Or that being a little bit above their 75th is about as good as being way above it?

When I picture adcomms "building" a class with certain numbers in mind for their desired 25/50/75 percentiles, I imagine them dropping applicants into one of four "buckets" - below 25th, 25th to 50th, 50th to 75th, and above 75th. If the 75th percentile LSAT they're aiming for is a 167, both a 170 and a 173 are going to put the applicant in the same bucket, so do the adcomms really view them differently? Same with a 2.7 uGPA versus a 3.0 - they're both going into the "below 25th" bucket, so is the person with the 2.7 substantially worse-off than the applicant with the 3.0?

I'm curious because as a super-splitter, I think I outperformed my numbers this cycle, and it would explain a lot if all "below-25th" GPAs were treated as roughly the same.


Scott, I predicted that the floor would drop for a good number of schools this cycle and that would be favorable to "super splitters" and I think we have seen much of that. I wish I could share some client data with you guys on that end :)

But, keep in mind that LSAT scores correlate with bar passage, 1st year grades, etc... gpa as well and psychologically with the immeasurable "motivation" factor. So I think for most schools there still will be a hardline number...it just will get lowered some.

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Pneumonia
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Pneumonia » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:03 pm

I have been wondering something lately that, although I think it has been at least visited in this thread, I'm not sure has been directly asked or answered.

Why do schools offer so much money to people so far above their 75th's? Say for example that Princeton's 75th is a 165. Why would they give a full ride +stipend to someone with a 177 rather than two half scholarships to two applicants who have 166's, ? Assuming comparable GPA's?

I guess another way of asking this is: why do schools seem to be willing to offer more $$$$'s to an applicant who is at their 95th percentile LSAT than one who is at their 80th? Obviously this is less relevant at the very top where schools are fighting for any 170+ that they can get, but it is a phenomenon I have noticed in the T30-100.

Maybe the answer lies in the notion of holistic review, because it seems to me that if Princeton's 75th is a 165 then from from a numerical perspective they would rather have 10 people matriculate in the 165-167 range than 5 people in the 175-177 range. Any thoughts?

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sublime
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby sublime » Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:04 pm

..

takeittothelimit
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby takeittothelimit » Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:20 pm

Mike and Karen,

First time poster here. In college, I had a diagnosed mental disorder that severely impacted my GPA in a negative manner in my freshman and sophomore years. However, following treatment and medication, my GPA was significantly higher my last two years. My overall GPA is just under 2.9. I was considering discussing the mental disorder in my PS or an addendum but I am afraid that, even though I am in total remission and have been for years, an admissions committee may feel as though I cannot handle the stress of law school or practicing law or may have some other prejudice against my application. Do you think I should write an addendum in this case? If so, should I be vague and just say a "severe medical issue" or should I specifically state what the diagnosis was? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

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KingJamesLBJ
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KingJamesLBJ » Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:48 pm

sublime wrote:
Pneumonia wrote:I have been wondering something lately that, although I think it has been at least visited in this thread, I'm not sure has been directly asked or answered.

Why do schools offer so much money to people so far above their 75th's? Say for example that Princeton's 75th is a 165. Why would they give a full ride +stipend to someone with a 177 rather than two half scholarships to two applicants who have 166's, ? Assuming comparable GPA's?

I guess another way of asking this is: why do schools seem to be willing to offer more $$$$'s to an applicant who is at their 95th percentile LSAT than one who is at their 80th? Obviously this is less relevant at the very top where schools are fighting for any 170+ that they can get, but it is a phenomenon I have noticed in the T30-100.

Maybe the answer lies in the notion of holistic review, because it seems to me that if Princeton's 75th is a 165 then from from a numerical perspective they would rather have 10 people matriculate in the 165-167 range than 5 people in the 175-177 range. Any thoughts?



I am sure Mike and Karen can give a better answer, but Dean Perez discussed this recently in his thread also.


Thats where i saw it. I had deja vu for a minute

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:04 pm

Pneumonia wrote:I have been wondering something lately that, although I think it has been at least visited in this thread, I'm not sure has been directly asked or answered.

Why do schools offer so much money to people so far above their 75th's? Say for example that Princeton's 75th is a 165. Why would they give a full ride +stipend to someone with a 177 rather than two half scholarships to two applicants who have 166's, ? Assuming comparable GPA's?

I guess another way of asking this is: why do schools seem to be willing to offer more $$$$'s to an applicant who is at their 95th percentile LSAT than one who is at their 80th? Obviously this is less relevant at the very top where schools are fighting for any 170+ that they can get, but it is a phenomenon I have noticed in the T30-100.

Maybe the answer lies in the notion of holistic review, because it seems to me that if Princeton's 75th is a 165 then from from a numerical perspective they would rather have 10 people matriculate in the 165-167 range than 5 people in the 175-177 range. Any thoughts?


Each school has different policies, budgets, and goals for their scholarship money, but they are all using that money to help their overall profile in the end. Some schools may have a designated scholarship for a particular amount (given my a donor for that specific amount) so it may not be up to the office to split it into two awards.

When the applicant pool is as thin as it is, the schools are trying to get students with the best numbers that they can. And a full award is more likely to be successful in winning over someone with those high numbers since they will likely receive several similar awards from peer schools. This may not be the "best" way to distribute money, but since every school is doing pretty much the same thing, the price is determined by the market. In some cases, it might even be a bit of a competition for these students and every student they take with a higher LSAT is one less student for their peer schools.

And back to Mike's point a few posts above that the LSAT does correlate with things that schools like to see (first year performance, bar passage). The goal isn't always just to maintain medians or percentiles, but in the grand scheme of things, the law school wants to see their students do well and, in the end, raise the profile of the school.

Hope that is helpful!
Cheers,
KB

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:11 pm

New slogan:

Spivey Consulting: Now searchable again on Google!

Woot!

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haus
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby haus » Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:16 pm

Congrats Mike!

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:17 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:New slogan:

Spivey Consulting: Now searchable again on Google!

Woot!


Yippie!

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:19 pm

haus wrote:Congrats Mike!


I'm going to pull an all-niter searching our site.

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Clearly
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Clearly » Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:42 pm

:lol:

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lawschool22
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby lawschool22 » Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:52 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:New slogan:

Spivey Consulting: Now searchable again on Google!

Woot!


Nice. Glad to hear thats sorted out.

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Optimist Prime
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Optimist Prime » Wed Jan 22, 2014 6:56 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:New slogan:

Spivey Consulting: Now searchable again on Google!

Woot!


Yay! Looking forward to the next blog post.

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nothingtosee
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby nothingtosee » Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:40 pm

Thoughts on the surprise Columbia interview development?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:34 pm

nothingtosee wrote:Thoughts on the surprise Columbia interview development?


Karen and I were just disgusing. We are surprised :-)

Sounds like likely either a yield protection strategy, an experiment, or someone at Columbia has studied the Hawthorne effect.

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lawschool22
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby lawschool22 » Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:36 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
nothingtosee wrote:Thoughts on the surprise Columbia interview development?


Karen and I were just disgusing. We are surprised :-)

Sounds like likely either a yield protection strategy, an experiment, or someone at Columbia has studied the Hawthorne effect.


Based on the (very limited) data we are seeing in the thread and my spreadsheet, it seems to be geared toward applicants with really high quality numbers.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:40 pm

lawschool22 wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
nothingtosee wrote:Thoughts on the surprise Columbia interview development?


Karen and I were just disgusing. We are surprised :-)

Sounds like likely either a yield protection strategy, an experiment, or someone at Columbia has studied the Hawthorne effect.


Based on the (very limited) data we are seeing in the thread and my spreadsheet, it seems to be geared toward applicants with really high quality numbers.


Err "discussing"

And that would make it more likely YP. It would make sense that the down turn in application volume would lead to some YP even near the very top.

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Nonconsecutive
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Nonconsecutive » Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:50 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
lawschool22 wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
nothingtosee wrote:Thoughts on the surprise Columbia interview development?


Karen and I were just disgusing. We are surprised :-)

Sounds like likely either a yield protection strategy, an experiment, or someone at Columbia has studied the Hawthorne effect.


Based on the (very limited) data we are seeing in the thread and my spreadsheet, it seems to be geared toward applicants with really high quality numbers.


Err "discussing"

And that would make it more likely YP. It would make sense that the down turn in application volume would lead to some YP even near the very top.


Very interesting, I was kind of wondering if it was YP myself. Of course I have no real experience to justify my assumption.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:08 pm

Arguably every interview has a pretty real YP component to it, no? I mean, if I'm Princeton Law and I call you and you say, "we'll thanks for the call but I really don't care much for Princton Law" I'd highly likely deny you.

Law schools do the SAME EXACT THING for those on the WL by the way. Call to gauge interest before they admit.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:25 pm

Okay, let's play this game. If I were a law school admissions office, I would...?

...require a resume upload and not ask for a single piece of unnecessary, reiterative data other than name & contact info on the application itself.

GO!

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dcpanther
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby dcpanther » Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:31 pm

.
Last edited by dcpanther on Fri Mar 07, 2014 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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lawschool22
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby lawschool22 » Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:39 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:Okay, let's play this game. If I were a law school admissions office, I would...?

...require a resume upload and not ask for a single piece of unnecessary, reiterative data other than name & contact info on the application itself.

GO!


Use Twitter or the admissions website to have an "admissions office status" each day. Ideally it would update each morning and would say things like, "reviewing files today, no decisions expected," "conducting interviews, no decisions expected today," "decisions likely today," etc. Some offices do this to some extent, but it's hit or miss. It would be nice to have it updated more regularly, even when there's no "news" so to speak.

It could be as specific as they like, but that would cut down on a lot of the wondering, and probably would cut down on a lot of questions they receive.

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Nonconsecutive
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Nonconsecutive » Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:52 pm

lawschool22 wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:Okay, let's play this game. If I were a law school admissions office, I would...?

...require a resume upload and not ask for a single piece of unnecessary, reiterative data other than name & contact info on the application itself.

GO!


Use Twitter or the admissions website to have an "admissions office status" each day. Ideally it would update each morning and would say things like, "reviewing files today, no decisions expected," "conducting interviews, no decisions expected today," "decisions likely today," etc. Some offices do this to some extent, but it's hit or miss. It would be nice to have it updated more regularly, even when there's no "news" so to speak.

It could be as specific as they like, but that would cut down on a lot of the wondering, and probably would cut down on a lot of questions they receive.


That is pretty much exactly what my response was going to be.

So, in light of that.

...I would ask for budget increases so that we could sent out totally awesome "swag" packages to accepted students. Some schools really drop the ball on this, I would want my acceptance packages to be legendary on TLS. (I'm only half kidding about this).


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