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.

Which would you prefer most?

Poll ended at Sat Apr 23, 2016 11:05 am

1. Blog advice
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2. Podcast advice
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3. Video advice
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4. Just keep it all on TLS
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5. Tweet it
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Total votes: 0

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Kanye West
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Kanye West » Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:15 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.


I want to give you a firm handshake for this post.

Also, not sure if it's common, but I like WUSTL's idea of assigning a current student to an admitted student fora any questions that might come up, and just starting the "you're in the family" feeling early on. Props to WUSTL.

bostonbrewer
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby bostonbrewer » Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:22 pm

I'm sure this has been discussed earlier in this thread, but is there an accepted/standard way to tell a school if you don't plan on attending? Should you do this? I feel like it would be impolite to not send anything and just let the seat deposit deadline pass but is that the standard course of action?

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Nonconsecutive
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Nonconsecutive » Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:30 pm

bostonbrewer wrote:I'm sure this has been discussed earlier in this thread, but is there an accepted/standard way to tell a school if you don't plan on attending? Should you do this? I feel like it would be impolite to not send anything and just let the seat deposit deadline pass but is that the standard course of action?


If you are accepted I would just return the form where you choose to attend, or decline. If you haven't been accepted yet, just send admissions an email telling them you'd like to withdraw your application. You also do this after acceptance if you didn't want to use the form.

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kershka
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby kershka » Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:31 pm

Kanye West wrote:
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.


I want to give you a firm handshake for this post.

Also, not sure if it's common, but I like WUSTL's idea of assigning a current student to an admitted student fora any questions that might come up, and just starting the "you're in the family" feeling early on. Props to WUSTL.

Harvard and NYU do the same thing with some combination of students/alumni/professors and it is a really nice touch. I already feel like I am a part of both communities and I've never set foot in either NYC or Cambridge.

But mostly I second the twitter idea; I would spend far less time compulsively checking TLS/LSN/email/phone/status checkers/etc if I could see how likely it was that decisions would be released on any particular day.

Also, since this is my first time posting in this thread, just want to add my thanks to Mike and Karen. This has been an incredibly useful resource and we all really appreciate you answering our questions and calming our nerves through this process. You are both fantastic human beings :D

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neprep
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby neprep » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:04 am

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!


…exercise greater discrimination while sending out promotional materials through LSAC.

It appears both unrealistic and disingenuous to solicit applications to unranked, unaccredited or otherwise regionally-oriented law schools from someone with stats that will get him or her into HYS or CCN$$.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:38 am

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!


^^ I second this, and I would hire enough people in the office so that applications could be read and decisions could be given more quickly.

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JustHawkin
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby JustHawkin » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:08 am

KarenButtenbaum 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!


^^ I second this, and I would hire enough people in the office so that applications could be read and decisions could be given more quickly.

Interesting, no personal statement?

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby ScottRiqui » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:25 am

JustHawkin wrote:
KarenButtenbaum 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!


^^ I second this, and I would hire enough people in the office so that applications could be read and decisions could be given more quickly.

Interesting, no personal statement?


I think he's just talking about getting rid of all the redundant questions in the application that are already answered by the resume, other than the name & contact info (so that you can associate the application with the resume in case they get separated).

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Lavitz
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Lavitz » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:34 am

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!

I'll respond as if I'm Cornell:
  • Complete applications a lot faster. If necessary, hire Spivey Consulting to advise me on how to process applications faster.
  • Lurk TLS so that I know what I can do to improve the process for applicants.
  • Lurk the current students facebook groups and interact with current students to make sure I did my job right and admitted a class that gets along with each other.
  • Run an admissions blog like Yale, and write an entry every time I do something interesting in Ithaca, so that people won't be too scared to come here.
  • If within my power, nag professors to e-mail admits like some other schools do.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:50 am

Lavitz wrote:[*]Lurk the current students facebook groups and interact with current students to make sure I did my job right and admitted a class that gets along with each other.

Can I ask how an admissions person is actually supposed to do this? How do LS applications reveal which students will get along with each other?

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nothingtosee
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby nothingtosee » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:57 am

Did the recent bandwidth data ever come out?

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Lavitz
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Lavitz » Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:04 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Lavitz wrote:[*]Lurk the current students facebook groups and interact with current students to make sure I did my job right and admitted a class that gets along with each other.

Can I ask how an admissions person is actually supposed to do this? How do LS applications reveal which students will get along with each other?

Not sure to be honest. Maybe I'm being an idealist. But I think there are ways to figure out based on the resume and personal statement who would be humble, sociable, kind, etc. and who would be an obnoxious gunner. I think our class is pretty good, and if the adcomms do still check our facebook group, they're definitely getting some entertainment value out of it right now. There are some other details I could go into, but can't really post because everyone here knows who I am, but suffice to say, I think it's possible to at least hang out with current students at the weekly perk on Wednesdays and find out how they're doing after I admitted them, rather than saying, "Ok, we're done with you. We're focusing on the class of 2017 now, so we won't bother checking to make sure the classes we've been admitting actually enjoy their time here."

Maybe there really is no other way to measure whether you've done a good job besides your medians and your eventual employment data, but I'd like to at least try to use another measure for fun.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:11 am

nothingtosee wrote:Did the recent bandwidth data ever come out?


Tweeted it.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:12 am

ScottRiqui wrote:
JustHawkin wrote:
KarenButtenbaum 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!


^^ I second this, and I would hire enough people in the office so that applications could be read and decisions could be given more quickly.

Interesting, no personal statement?


I think he's just talking about getting rid of all the redundant questions in the application that are already answered by the resume, other than the name & contact info (so that you can associate the application with the resume in case they get separated).


Correct. Actually I would probably double down on the PS type stuff like someone suggest and ask a few shorter answer questions.

Incidentally we don't just do admissions consulting. We consult for law schools too. So I might take some of these suggestions to some law schools! Thanks, all!

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TheMostDangerousLG
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby TheMostDangerousLG » Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:08 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!


..send all "reverse splitters" a waitlist notification and LSAT prep manual.

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koalacity
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby koalacity » Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:12 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.

THIS.

eta: both of these, actually (Spivey and LS22's suggestions).

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:22 pm

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

...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).


Now you really get to play admissions dean. You have limited resources. Would you cannibalize a $120,000 scholarship and do this? That 120k would get someone above both your medians...

Would you rather that than giving a travel stipend for people to visit your school?

etc etc. Those are examples (I actually think fun examples) of the strategic decision making we all faced in admissions.

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The-Specs
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby The-Specs » Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:06 pm

TheMostDangerousLG 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!


..send all "reverse splitters" a waitlist notification and LSAT prep manual.


LOL @ this IRL

+1,000,000

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jkintzele
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby jkintzele » Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:57 pm

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

...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).


Now you really get to play admissions dean. You have limited resources. Would you cannibalize a $120,000 scholarship and do this? That 120k would get someone above both your medians...

Would you rather that than giving a travel stipend for people to visit your school?

etc etc. Those are examples (I actually think fun examples) of the strategic decision making we all faced in admissions.


I see your point. But by LSAT logic...:

A) You're discounting the idea that, by improving the admissions packages you wouldn't gain at least one additional above the median student who's decision is influenced by the baller admissions package that got him/her excited about your school. Or the long-term recruitment benefits of improving the brand image of your school (both of these might be a stretch, but still are possibilities).

B) You're taking for granted that you'd need to chop out $120,000 to create a swag package for 500 - 800 admitted students. (~$170/student package). I think you could spend even $50 per student (generous) more to add things like a t-shirt, hat, obiter dictum, gel pen, etc. to the package and spend no where near that much.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:20 pm

Lavitz wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Lavitz wrote:[*]Lurk the current students facebook groups and interact with current students to make sure I did my job right and admitted a class that gets along with each other.

Can I ask how an admissions person is actually supposed to do this? How do LS applications reveal which students will get along with each other?

Not sure to be honest. Maybe I'm being an idealist. But I think there are ways to figure out based on the resume and personal statement who would be humble, sociable, kind, etc. and who would be an obnoxious gunner. I think our class is pretty good, and if the adcomms do still check our facebook group, they're definitely getting some entertainment value out of it right now. There are some other details I could go into, but can't really post because everyone here knows who I am, but suffice to say, I think it's possible to at least hang out with current students at the weekly perk on Wednesdays and find out how they're doing after I admitted them, rather than saying, "Ok, we're done with you. We're focusing on the class of 2017 now, so we won't bother checking to make sure the classes we've been admitting actually enjoy their time here."

Maybe there really is no other way to measure whether you've done a good job besides your medians and your eventual employment data, but I'd like to at least try to use another measure for fun.

I think undergrad adcomms tend to do this. But honestly, I don't think the class all getting along together should be especially high on an adcomm's list of priorities; it's professional school, in theory all the students are adults, they're going to be in the same profession, so they should suck it up and play nicely with each other. But the point is to get a degree that allows you to be licensed, not to make friends. Making friends is great, don't get me wrong (and I swear I liked my classmates!), but it's not why you go to law school. Enjoying your time is not the goal of law school.

(Admittedly I might feel differently if I lived in Ithaca rather than a major city... :P. But honestly, law school's a job, not more undergrad.) (which I really don't mean in a condescending way, so if it comes out like that, I apologize.)

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:32 pm

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

...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).


Now you really get to play admissions dean. You have limited resources. Would you cannibalize a $120,000 scholarship and do this? That 120k would get someone above both your medians...

Would you rather that than giving a travel stipend for people to visit your school?

etc etc. Those are examples (I actually think fun examples) of the strategic decision making we all faced in admissions.


Mike knows this already, but I love swag. I want to get Spivey Consulting fleeces :)
In reality, the return on swag isn't all that much. When schools survey students on why they chose a school, the material things don't come up too often, but I do agree that they contribute to an overall positive feeling toward the school.

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lawschool22
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby lawschool22 » Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:40 pm

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

...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).


Now you really get to play admissions dean. You have limited resources. Would you cannibalize a $120,000 scholarship and do this? That 120k would get someone above both your medians...

Would you rather that than giving a travel stipend for people to visit your school?

etc etc. Those are examples (I actually think fun examples) of the strategic decision making we all faced in admissions.


Mike knows this already, but I love swag. I want to get Spivey Consulting fleeces :)
In reality, the return on swag isn't all that much. When schools survey students on why they chose a school, the material things don't come up too often, but I do agree that they contribute to an overall positive feeling toward the school.


Swag doesn't sway me, but I have to say, some other efforts that schools make can be differentiating factor.

For instance, the things NYU has been doing so far have been great. We have been talking about it in the NYU c/o 2017 thread, but we all have received emails from the Dean, with an offer to reach out to him w/ any questions. For those that did, he put us in touch w/ professors in our area of interest, who also were very helpful. They also had alumni in our area reach out to us and offer to meet for coffee or lunch, and they had current students from our area reach out and offer to answer any questions we may have that we didn't feel comfortable asking the administration.

Even their quick turnaround speed gives you a good feeling for the efficiency of the office, and acts as another intangible.

They also had a pretty nice swag package :D. But in general, when schools make an effort like this, it does have an effect. If I were choosing between NYU and Columbia at equal money, and Columbia didn't reach out in the same way, I would be inclined to go with NYU. So it can have some effect. I'm not sure how much it's "worth" so to speak. If NYU was $10,000 more expense, would I go with NYU still? Maybe.

But Spivey fleece would be cool. Yours would have to be monogrammed "KB" of course.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:44 pm

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

...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).


Now you really get to play admissions dean. You have limited resources. Would you cannibalize a $120,000 scholarship and do this? That 120k would get someone above both your medians...

Would you rather that than giving a travel stipend for people to visit your school?

etc etc. Those are examples (I actually think fun examples) of the strategic decision making we all faced in admissions.


I see your point. But by LSAT logic...:

A) You're discounting the idea that, by improving the admissions packages you wouldn't gain at least one additional above the median student who's decision is influenced by the baller admissions package that got him/her excited about your school. Or the long-term recruitment benefits of improving the brand image of your school (both of these might be a stretch, but still are possibilities).

B) You're taking for granted that you'd need to chop out $120,000 to create a swag package for 500 - 800 admitted students. (~$170/student package). I think you could spend even $50 per student (generous) more to add things like a t-shirt, hat, obiter dictum, gel pen, etc. to the package and spend no where near that much.


I'm glad I am not taking the LSAT then! But yea my point was simply that most schools would provide better swag if they could. Often it is purely a choice of resource allotment. If you can go to your dean and make a data driven case for $80 dollar an admit swag, you could likely get it --but that is a hard case to make. For example, I've seen "lab experiments" where you have faculty (or the dean) call some admitted students and not others, and I haven't seen a correlation of said calls with ultimate matriculation. You probably could not do a "swag" experiment of sending really good swag to some, and mediocre to others because it might cost you admits.

I liked the twitter suggestion because it is easily implementable. My suggestion was based on the fact I see no value-add in why schools ask for so much reiterative stuff.

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Lavitz
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Lavitz » Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:31 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I think undergrad adcomms tend to do this. But honestly, I don't think the class all getting along together should be especially high on an adcomm's list of priorities; it's professional school, in theory all the students are adults, they're going to be in the same profession, so they should suck it up and play nicely with each other. But the point is to get a degree that allows you to be licensed, not to make friends. Making friends is great, don't get me wrong (and I swear I liked my classmates!), but it's not why you go to law school. Enjoying your time is not the goal of law school.

(Admittedly I might feel differently if I lived in Ithaca rather than a major city... :P. But honestly, law school's a job, not more undergrad.)

I think it's kind of important to have a friendly class here because it is Ithaca and I was assuming I was Cornell in this hypo. Very few of us knew anyone else in Ithaca when we came here. So I appreciate that my class isn't a gunner minefield. And I do think it helps the school's reputation if students and alumni have positive things to say about their time there.

But I agree that the main point is admitting a class that maintains medians/can get employed. But I never said that it was something I would do to improve the admissions process, just something I would do if I were an admissions office. Mainly because I personally imagine it would be boring and unfulfilling to do the same job year after year and have my only goal be to maintain medians. So I'd like to stay in touch with the people I admitted. It would be nice to believe I could make some slight difference in how the class turns out. So while I get that most adcomms may not care what happens to classes after they're admitted, I'm just saying I would, for my own reasons.

But I'd be more than happy to continue the conversation in PM so we don't derail Mike's thread. :)

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:53 pm

Yeah, sorry, Mike. :oops:


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