Spivey Consulting Q&A with Adcoms from Yale, Harvard, Penn, Chicago etc.

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masked kavana
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby masked kavana » Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:18 pm

Hi Mike and Karen,

I was wondering if you had any tips on negotiating a scholarship when you are admitted ED (no other offers to negotiate with).

Thank you!

1278
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby 1278 » Fri Jan 24, 2014 5:04 pm

Mike and Karen thank you both for your kind efforts!

I have a question about foreign GPA evaluation. How do schools (especially HLS) view them? Do you have a numerical equivalence for each level? Like, what would be "superior" and what would be "above average"? Is this evaluation as important as the GPA of domestic students or would you concentrate more on LSAT?

thanks so much!
Last edited by 1278 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Nonconsecutive
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Nonconsecutive » Fri Jan 24, 2014 5:14 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.


Hmm, intriguing questions indeed. However, based on the subsequent responses in this thread, I'm curious as to just how much these "swag" packages actually cost a law school? I've been involved with marketing/reach-out endeavors before, and honestly even the best packages I've received would cost very little in bulk (in my experience). I know these things add up when you are sending out 100s and 100s of them, but the creation of goodwill seems to be worth it to me. Of course Karen mentioned a low return on swag, and obviously I can't compare to that kind of experience, maybe I just like collectibles too much. :)

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sublime
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby sublime » Fri Jan 24, 2014 5:22 pm

..

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Jan 24, 2014 5:38 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:New slogan:

Spivey Consulting: Now searchable again on Google!

Woot!


Here is a new one to us.

Spivey Consulting: Now popular on Baidu!

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Jan 24, 2014 6:10 pm

masked kavana wrote:Hi Mike and Karen,

I was wondering if you had any tips on negotiating a scholarship when you are admitted ED (no other offers to negotiate with).

Thank you!


I think it is possible.

That said, I think it is a really bad idea to talk about scholarship negotiation strategy publicly. All it could possibly do is dampen amount and chances -- keep in mind that admissions professionals read TLS.

So I will say remember you are in it for the long haul. Wish I could say more. But the first rule of scholarship negotiations is you don't talk about scholarship negotiation.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Jan 24, 2014 7:01 pm

I'm curious as to just how much these "swag" packages actually cost a law school? I've been involved with marketing/reach-out endeavors before, and honestly even the best packages I've received would cost very little in bulk (in my experience). I know these things add up when you are sending out 100s and 100s of them, but the creation of goodwill seems to be worth it to me. Of course Karen mentioned a low return on swag, and obviously I can't compare to that kind of experience, maybe I just like collectibles too much. :)


I just talked to an AdComm who guessed roughly $20 per admit.

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Magical Trevor
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Magical Trevor » Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:39 pm

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


Attempt to make the admissions process as efficient and timely as possible. Watching people who submitted applications well after mine get final decisions does not give me a positive outlook about the school's staff. I get the fact that schools are trying to game numbers, but treating me like a number means that I will send the numbers on my checks elsewhere.

I would also attempt to get faculty involved early. Some schools have had 1Ls cold call me while others have had professors and career center people email me with follow up phone calls. The former offered no useful information, the latter were surprisingly open regarding their school's strengths and weaknesses and answered very specific questions with hard data. Also unsurprisingly, the latter will likely be the school I attend.

theycallmefoes
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby theycallmefoes » Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:54 pm

Hi Mike and Karen,

I was wondering, when is it acceptable to leave a question blank? I'm asking about two questions in particular: 1. What is the amount of your student loans? 2. To what other schools are you applying/planning on applying?

Thanks so much!

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:20 pm

theycallmefoes wrote:Hi Mike and Karen,

I was wondering, when is it acceptable to leave a question blank? I'm asking about two questions in particular: 1. What is the amount of your student loans? 2. To what other schools are you applying/planning on applying?

Thanks so much!


foes I think I spoke on this several times in the URM thread about a month ago. Maybe you can find it --if not let me know!

Mike

Instinctive
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Instinctive » Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:37 pm

sublime wrote:I think these, and all sorts of reach out programs vary by applicant. Me, I just wanted to be left the hell alone. Phone calls were not appreciated, especially since I was working the graveyard shift at the time, and sending me a bag or whatever just meant that I had to wake up early and walk to the leasing office to pick up something I would never use.

On the other hand, I know people who love that shit.

I think the best thing a school can do, without any real additional costs would be to tailor their "recruitment" to the individual applicant as much as possible, in a more substantial way than trying to get me to email admits because they are from my state.

Of course there are tons and tons of issues concerning the practicability of that, but I am always interested in outside of the box ideas to get an edge in admissions, especially when they add only negligible costs. One example would be WUSTL's softball interview which seems to be mostly intended to 1) gauge interest and 2) market the school and city.

Although at the same time, you risk annoying people by making it mandatory, it all depends.

Speaking of, are there any outside of the box admissions strategies that you guys like? Either ones that have been adopted or that you have just heard about?


+1 to this. I love the availability of resources, but Duke has been my best experience. They email "Here's ____ if you want it." Then they leave it alone. I still have MONTHS before a decision and am waiting on more than 50% of my apps. It's getting claustrophobic!

I guess my answer to Mike's original hypo is:

I'd like a bit more obvious, MBA-style notifications. All the MBA programs I applied to have a date where you get to know if you got an interview. Then another to know if you're in or not. You know the date far in advance so just wait! Haha.

mccllln2
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby mccllln2 » Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:46 am

How do you feel that targeted Personal Statements are received by most admissions officers? Is it a usually a plus or are applicants better off writing a generic one and then a "Why X" essay as well?

theycallmefoes
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby theycallmefoes » Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:23 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
theycallmefoes wrote:Hi Mike and Karen,

I was wondering, when is it acceptable to leave a question blank? I'm asking about two questions in particular: 1. What is the amount of your student loans? 2. To what other schools are you applying/planning on applying?

Thanks so much!


foes I think I spoke on this several times in the URM thread about a month ago. Maybe you can find it --if not let me know!

Mike

Hi Mike,

Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I scrolled through your posts for a while, and I think I did find the part about disclosing the schools to which one's applying. You advocate either answering fully or leaving it blank, correct? But could leaving it blank ever hurt admissions chances? Apologies if you clarified this already, and I didn't see it.

However, I didn't see a discussion concerning disclosure of loan history/financial aid information. Could you speak briefly about this, or send me a link to where it was discussed?

Thanks for all the help!

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:34 pm

1278 wrote:Mike and Karen thank you both for your kind efforts!

I have a question about foreign GPA evaluation. How do schools (especially HLS) view them? Do you have a numerical equivalence for each level? Like, what would be "superior" and what would be "above average"? Is this evaluation as important as the GPA of domestic students or would you concentrate more on LSAT?

thanks so much!


There is a lot of information in the CAS report to help the reader decipher the foreign academic record. Your transcript (and a translation of it) will be included, so that is helpful to the reader. There is no universal numerical equivalent for each level, but and an overall rating and somewhat of an "equivalency" scale is included, which helps put the person's performance in context.

The GPA will not count for anything in the ABA reporting, so the LSAT is pretty significant not only for reporting purposes and overall evaluation, but often as an additional indication of English proficiency.

Cheers,
KB

1278
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby 1278 » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:47 am

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
1278 wrote:Mike and Karen thank you both for your kind efforts!

I have a question about foreign GPA evaluation. How do schools (especially HLS) view them? Do you have a numerical equivalence for each level? Like, what would be "superior" and what would be "above average"? Is this evaluation as important as the GPA of domestic students or would you concentrate more on LSAT?

thanks so much!


There is a lot of information in the CAS report to help the reader decipher the foreign academic record. Your transcript (and a translation of it) will be included, so that is helpful to the reader. There is no universal numerical equivalent for each level, but and an overall rating and somewhat of an "equivalency" scale is included, which helps put the person's performance in context.

The GPA will not count for anything in the ABA reporting, so the LSAT is pretty significant not only for reporting purposes and overall evaluation, but often as an additional indication of English proficiency.

Cheers,
KB


Thank you so much Karen! This was very helpful to me, and I'm sure to all other foreign applicants as well.

Thanks again to both you and Mike for all the kind help ITT!

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:17 pm

mccllln2 wrote:How do you feel that targeted Personal Statements are received by most admissions officers? Is it a usually a plus or are applicants better off writing a generic one and then a "Why X" essay as well?


Speaking in broad, general terms, targeted personal statements are really not necessary and most will regurgitate information from the admissions office or law school's website. You are often wasting valuable space in your personal statement telling an admissions committee member about a school which they know very well already.

There are exceptions to this statement, of course. Berkeley is one.

Please don't misinterpret this to read that it can't be done well, but the majority of ones that I've read add no value to the overall application.

The Why X essay will vary from school to school, but that is often more helpful to the application than a targeted PS.

Of course, this is in broad terms; individual cases will vary :)

Cheers,
KB

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alecks
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby alecks » Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:54 pm

I'm sure you've already answered this in one shape or form- but I'm conflicted about submitting addendums. If I keep them short and have half decent excuses, do you think it will hurt my application? For example, a 3.0 one semester bc I was working almost full time, a 20 pt LSAT score difference... etc... I was reading that UCLA said it's better to give too much information as opposed to too little when it comes to any possible gaps.

Thanks :)

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:25 pm

alecks wrote:I'm sure you've already answered this in one shape or form- but I'm conflicted about submitting addendums. If I keep them short and have half decent excuses, do you think it will hurt my application? For example, a 3.0 one semester bc I was working almost full time, a 20 pt LSAT score difference... etc... I was reading that UCLA said it's better to give too much information as opposed to too little when it comes to any possible gaps.

Thanks :)


alecks -

I think you have hit the issue with your question without realizing it. You are right to keep them brief and offer the facts, but you have to be careful of the tone. You should be giving reasons or circumstances, not offering excuses.
Adding detail to fill in gaps may help provide context to an application, but excusing yourself from responsibility may hurt it.
I hope that is helpful!
Cheers,
KB

linkx13
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby linkx13 » Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:36 pm

Hi guys,

Not sure if you know this (and I imagine it varies by school), but do you know if admissions officers read scholarship essays when making a determination on whether to admit an application, or if they don't generally even read them unless the applicant has already been admitted.

I'm trying to determine if some late scholarship essay submissions could possibly affect my chances at getting in (positively)

sup_stan
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby sup_stan » Tue Jan 28, 2014 7:19 pm

Hi Karen,

I would really appreciate it if you could answer a few questions regarding the Harvard admission process. I interviewed with a member of the Harvard admission staff more than a month ago and have not heard back since. I am kind of paranoid at this point since people who interviewed around the same time as me or even after me were admitted last week. So below are my questions:

1) Could you confirm that on average, it takes about a month for the Harvard admission staff to determine whether an interviewed candidate should be admitted (especially at this point in the admission cycle)?

2) When the Harvard admission staff make decisions for an upcoming admission wave/batch, do they consider all the candidates that have interviewed but not admitted thus far in the admission cycle, or do they only consider those who interviewed past a certain point in time and effectively hold the rest of the interviewed candidates till very late in the cycle (say April)? For example, if the last admission wave consists entirely of people who interview from October to mid-November, will that next admission wave admit people who interview past mid-November?

3) I noticed that admission calls for a wave/batch usually go out all in a single day or a two-day time frame prior to January but they are more scattered from January forward. Is this the norm for Harvard to admit people more frequently and in a more scattered fashion beyond January?

4) If I am being effectively “held” (I heard that the hold status is no longer there for this cycle), how soon can I expect Harvard to re-read my files for admission?

5) Has there been any precedent where a waitlist-to-admit candidate got a one-year deferral?

I know those questions may be hard to answer but I could really use some clarification so I can manage my expectations. Thanks in advance for your responses!

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:32 am

linkx13 wrote:Hi guys,

Not sure if you know this (and I imagine it varies by school), but do you know if admissions officers read scholarship essays when making a determination on whether to admit an application, or if they don't generally even read them unless the applicant has already been admitted.

I'm trying to determine if some late scholarship essay submissions could possibly affect my chances at getting in (positively)


As you suspect, this will vary, but I say send it in. It shows interest in the school and its not going to hurt your application -- as long as they are still accepting essays. Missing a deadline isn't great, but as long as you have permission to submit late, you should be OK.

Cheers,
KB

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:55 am

sup_stan wrote:Hi Karen,

I would really appreciate it if you could answer a few questions regarding the Harvard admission process. I interviewed with a member of the Harvard admission staff more than a month ago and have not heard back since. I am kind of paranoid at this point since people who interviewed around the same time as me or even after me were admitted last week. So below are my questions:

1) Could you confirm that on average, it takes about a month for the Harvard admission staff to determine whether an interviewed candidate should be admitted (especially at this point in the admission cycle)?

2) When the Harvard admission staff make decisions for an upcoming admission wave/batch, do they consider all the candidates that have interviewed but not admitted thus far in the admission cycle, or do they only consider those who interviewed past a certain point in time and effectively hold the rest of the interviewed candidates till very late in the cycle (say April)? For example, if the last admission wave consists entirely of people who interview from October to mid-November, will that next admission wave admit people who interview past mid-November?

3) I noticed that admission calls for a wave/batch usually go out all in a single day or a two-day time frame prior to January but they are more scattered from January forward. Is this the norm for Harvard to admit people more frequently and in a more scattered fashion beyond January?

4) If I am being effectively “held” (I heard that the hold status is no longer there for this cycle), how soon can I expect Harvard to re-read my files for admission?

5) Has there been any precedent where a waitlist-to-admit candidate got a one-year deferral?

I know those questions may be hard to answer but I could really use some clarification so I can manage my expectations. Thanks in advance for your responses!


I'm sorry that I am not able to give you specific information on the timing of when you can expect to hear, but I can tell you that not all hope is lost! Keep in mind that HLS will receive thousands of applications -- and many haven't even been read yet. They can't admit everyone all at once when they haven't had a chance to see the whole pool yet. They aren't done admitting, and they will probably still admit people who were interviewed at different stages along the way, so it doesn't mean that people who were interviewed in November are doomed.

If it comes to it, and you find yourself on the WL and you need a deferral, you should not stay on the wait list. Sure, there is precedent for it, but you should not count on that at all.

Cheers,
KB

ZVBXRPL
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby ZVBXRPL » Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:20 pm

Karen,

How do adcomms view visiting students. I attend an okay UG and have a chance to attend a summer program at a Top 5 school. Will it help? How would you view it?

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:22 pm

ZVBXRPL wrote:Karen,

How do adcomms view visiting students. I attend an okay UG and have a chance to attend a summer program at a Top 5 school. Will it help? How would you view it?


I'd say that it may be a small plus factor, but it depends on the details of the program, I suppose. Will it be summer courses or an enrichment program? Is it open to anyone or is it selective?

Do it if it's something that you want to do, but don't give up something else (like an awesome internship) because you think this will look good to an adcom. It won't hurt, so go for it if you are interested and able.

Cheers,
KB

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Saddle Up
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Saddle Up » Fri Jan 31, 2014 7:28 pm

This question is likely way to general, but I will give it a shot. Talking about a school outside the T14 but inside the top 25 reporting a median LSAT of 165. At what level do tuition discounts kick in? Someone with a 168 might receive what? Is there a way to project what each additional LSAT point might be worth?

A few years ago my sister received an attractive discount since she was 4-5 points over their median (I am pacing about the same). But again, that was three years ago and as I understand it applications are down, thus I was wishfully thinking that the discount might be higher these days. Also, you can factor in a slightly better GPA then what they report as median.


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