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 Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:16 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:My understanding of rolling admissions is that files get read as submitted, but that decisions are only quickly made on the strongest & weakest applications while the middle gets saved for a later day/cycle decision.


For many (if not most) schools, you search your files based on the LSAT/uGPA scores and read those first that are at or above your medians first. The chronological aspect comes in place in that the strong files get read, roughly, in the order they arrive. Files that are not as strong remain unread until a later point.

Again, this is in general as individual schools do things differently and some certainly read them entirely chronologically.

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abcde12345
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby abcde12345 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:20 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:[Response]I thought that might help.


Thank you so much! That was a very helpful answer, and really cleared things up for me. Thanks for taking time to answer questions in such a detailed and informative way.

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gguuueessttt
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby gguuueessttt » Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:20 pm

sinfiery wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
gguuueessttt wrote:Thanks for doing this!

One question I have is how do you feel about personal statements that are based on the applicant's goals or philosophies, rather than an event that has happened to him or her in the past?


I'll break chronological order here (apologies to the others) because I have a few seconds before I have a conference call. I like it! It's a bit differentiated (a word you will hear me use a lot), and I think could poise as a compelling PS.

I would be cautious about a laundry list of goals and try to focus on one or two. This could cut either way, elevating or harmful, depending on how sophisticated and well-written it is. I';d say if you are on the bubble, slightly below that schools medians, etc this is a great idea! Conversely, If you are very confident you will get into the school you are applying to, you may want to be a bit more risk averse and just write a standard PS. I hope this helps!

I was planning on going this route blindly, but seeing this post has greatly calmed my nerves about this approach.


Awesome. Thank you.


Thanks so much for the answer!

Sinf, I largely thought of asking this question based on what you said about your PS subject.

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sinfiery
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby sinfiery » Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:52 pm

gguuueessttt wrote:
Thanks so much for the answer!

Sinf, I largely thought of asking this question based on what you said about your PS subject.

haha, crazy coincidence

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:41 pm

Thanks for the feedback, everyone! I should be back on the grid to answer one or two more tonight and try to finish the existing questions tomorrow or Wednesday.

I am a bit saddened by the fact that no one asked me how my Fantasy Football team did this weekend.

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chem!
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby chem! » Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:52 pm

How much can significant work experience, stellar LORs and a 4.0 in a Master's degree mitigate a hideous 20 year old uGPA and a rather unimpressive (but not awful) LSAT score? My understanding is that it really won't matter that I'm a non-traditional student because numbers are numbers, but I thought I'd ask.

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Arculease
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Postby Arculease » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:08 pm

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Last edited by Arculease on Sat Mar 19, 2016 2:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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dingbat
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby dingbat » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:33 pm

chem! wrote:How much can significant work experience, stellar LORs and a 4.0 in a Master's degree mitigate a hideous 20 year old uGPA and a rather unimpressive (but not awful) LSAT score? My understanding is that it really won't matter that I'm a non-traditional student because numbers are numbers, but I thought I'd ask.
I don't want to hijack, but it depends on the school. Someone I know has an LSAT that's probably 10 points below median, and a dismal uGPA, but 30-ish years work experience

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:34 am

dingbat wrote:
chem! wrote:How much can significant work experience, stellar LORs and a 4.0 in a Master's degree mitigate a hideous 20 year old uGPA and a rather unimpressive (but not awful) LSAT score? My understanding is that it really won't matter that I'm a non-traditional student because numbers are numbers, but I thought I'd ask.
I don't want to hijack, but it depends on the school. Someone I know has an LSAT that's probably 10 points below median, and a dismal uGPA, but 30-ish years work experience


I think that, in general, your initial understanding is right. If you are below both of the schools medians, those other factors unfortunately and unfairly won't elevate your chances enough. If you split the medians and have a higher LSAT, I would think you are in a much better way than most, however, as certainly the 20 year old uGPA will be de-emphasized for understandable reasons and the 4.0 Master's will offer some more salient information. Dingbat is right, and I think that if I were in this situation I would apply to a large number of schools, hoping to catch the right admissions office.

As an aside, one year I was in admissions an applicant applied to something like 185 law schools. I kind of felt bad fir the 10 or so schools he/she did not apply to.

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Postby VasaVasori » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:56 am

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wert3813
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby wert3813 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:59 am

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:11 am

wert3813 wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:As an aside, one year I was in admissions an applicant applied to something like 185 law schools. I kind of felt bad fir the 10 or so schools he/she did not apply to.


Timeout you can see where all we applied???


This was reported to us at a LSAC conference the following year--and the name if the applicant and schools he/she applied to were not revealed.

skri65
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby skri65 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:12 am

Do applicants that are just under the medians need something truly special to gain acceptance or is there a "margin of error."? In other words, assume a school has a 3.5/165 median, how significant is the difference between a 165/3.6 applicant and a 164/3.45 applicant?

Also, what are the chances of applicants who are exactly at the previous years median? Is there a MORE than 50% chance of admission, assuming average softs, or is it a complete toss up?

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wert3813
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby wert3813 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:25 am

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remix
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby remix » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:59 am

Thanks for doing this, Mike.

For pretty big score jumps in LSAT (say, 5+), when schools ask for them, do addenda actually make a difference?

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chem!
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby chem! » Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:22 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
dingbat wrote:
chem! wrote:How much can significant work experience, stellar LORs and a 4.0 in a Master's degree mitigate a hideous 20 year old uGPA and a rather unimpressive (but not awful) LSAT score? My understanding is that it really won't matter that I'm a non-traditional student because numbers are numbers, but I thought I'd ask.
I don't want to hijack, but it depends on the school. Someone I know has an LSAT that's probably 10 points below median, and a dismal uGPA, but 30-ish years work experience


I think that, in general, your initial understanding is right. If you are below both of the schools medians, those other factors unfortunately and unfairly won't elevate your chances enough. If you split the medians and have a higher LSAT, I would think you are in a much better way than most, however, as certainly the 20 year old uGPA will be de-emphasized for understandable reasons and the 4.0 Master's will offer some more salient information. Dingbat is right, and I think that if I were in this situation I would apply to a large number of schools, hoping to catch the right admissions office.

As an aside, one year I was in admissions an applicant applied to something like 185 law schools. I kind of felt bad fir the 10 or so schools he/she did not apply to.


Thank you for your reply. I appreciate it!

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NewYorkL
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby NewYorkL » Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:17 pm

How much does being a URM impact upon an application? Some people speculate that it can add points to your LSAT depending on if your AA, Puerto Rican, Mexican etc. Is this true or simply a myth?


Also is a diversity statement a must to highlight your diversity or should it be in your personal statement or should I be prepared to submit both a diversity statement and personal statement?

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Rahviveh
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Rahviveh » Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:33 pm

NewYorkL wrote:How much does being a URM impact upon an application? Some people speculate that it can add points to your LSAT depending on if your AA, Puerto Rican, Mexican etc. Is this true or simply a myth?


Also is a diversity statement a must to highlight your diversity or should it be in your personal statement or should I be prepared to submit both a diversity statement and personal statement?


Can you also shed some insight on non-URM hispanics?

Fantastic thread btw

M458
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby M458 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:43 pm

NewYorkL wrote:How much does being a URM impact upon an application? Some people speculate that it can add points to your LSAT depending on if your AA, Puerto Rican, Mexican etc. Is this true or simply a myth?


Also is a diversity statement a must to highlight your diversity or should it be in your personal statement or should I be prepared to submit both a diversity statement and personal statement?


To piggyback on this question, do International (non-resident) Mexican applicants see any sort of positive impact similar to the "URM boost"? I wonder b/c I grew up here and went to undergrad here in the US, but still not a citizen or resident.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:02 pm

NoodleyOne wrote:To what extent will a decent GPA addendum (but not one to the effect of medical reason) mitigate the damage of lower GPA?

What effects do Diversity statements from non-URMs have on admissions?


Noodley, thanks for the questions.

The first is difficult to answer without knowing the nature of the reasons, and thus, the addendum. I will say this, which might not be a popular statement but which I think is true in many cases. An addendum that addresses a low gpa or lsat or addenda that address both are a dime a dozen in admissions. We get them all the time and I know many admissions officers over time develop some cynicism towards them. This likely sounds unfair but think of it this way: if you received 50 letters a day for 5-6 straight months from your neighbor explaining how their dogs barking as a puppy does not address how their dog will act as an adult, you might eventually start tuning the letters out. I believe this is often the case in addendums that address gpa or lsat scores.

For an LSAT Addendum, the best things you can do is retake the LSAT and say "my score went up the first test was not a great indicator" or point to your gpa above that school's median and say "here is my gpa, here is my SAT/ACT/LSAT score, I have always produced better results scholastically than would be predicated by my test scores because I am highly motivated and I will continue to do so." or something to those effects, For gpa addendum, I would focus on improvement (if you improve over time) and for both I would certainly say something along the lines of "this is not an excuse" which will help overcome some of the aforementioned cynicism.

In respect to Diversity Statements, I have always been impressed with how carefully law school admissions offices read these. Clear, growing up under challenging socioeconomic conditions represent a much better topic than growing up left-handed (I've seen such an addendum) so the topic is important. But know that it will be considered carefully.

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gaud
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby gaud » Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:03 pm

tagging for future TLS generations; thank you for doing this!

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:07 pm

gaud wrote:tagging for future TLS generations; thank you for doing this!


It's fun and a pleasure. I'll probably have to stop at M458's question but will do something like this again, for future generations or perhaps the waitlist period later this cycle.

I should note that on my blog I have a few early posts on the admissions decision-making timeline.

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Rahviveh
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Rahviveh » Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:08 pm

Mike could you get into some of the logistics of how these processes work?

How do adcoms go through the process of sorting through apps? Obviously you have your auto-admit numbers, but when they see a PS they like or a DS they like, how do they objectively factor that into their decision-making? Given the fact that there's thousands of applications to read...

Also, is yield protection a myth?

EDIT - CRAP i just missed the cutoff. Oh well :(

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:17 pm

ChampagnePapi wrote:Mike could you get into some of the logistics of how these processes work?

How do adcoms go through the process of sorting through apps? Obviously you have your auto-admit numbers, but when they see a PS they like or a DS they like, how do they objectively factor that into their decision-making? Given the fact that there's thousands of applications to read...

Also, is yield protection a myth?

EDIT - CRAP i just missed the cutoff. Oh well :(


Champagne, I'll get to this question on yield protection too, and as far the process, this is what I alluded to that is on my blog. I'm really trying to go out of my way to not make this thread a herald for my website which is why I have, almost annoying perhaps, not included the link. Anyway, there are two posts on the admissions process here:

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/

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Rahviveh
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Rahviveh » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:39 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
ChampagnePapi wrote:Mike could you get into some of the logistics of how these processes work?

How do adcoms go through the process of sorting through apps? Obviously you have your auto-admit numbers, but when they see a PS they like or a DS they like, how do they objectively factor that into their decision-making? Given the fact that there's thousands of applications to read...

Also, is yield protection a myth?

EDIT - CRAP i just missed the cutoff. Oh well :(


Champagne, I'll get to this question on yield protection too, and as far the process, this is what I alluded to that is on my blog. I'm really trying to go out of my way to not make this thread a herald for my website which is why I have, almost annoying perhaps, not included the link. Anyway, there are two posts on the admissions process here:

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/


Thank you so much! I am a huge geeek when it comes to admissions and I love this thread :)


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