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

Special forum where professionals are encouraged to help law school applicants, students, and graduates.

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DetroitRed
Posts: 230
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:40 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby DetroitRed » Wed May 21, 2014 8:46 pm

Hi Mike and Karen,

Thanks for answering our questions. It's one thing to read a book written by a former admissions officer cum admissions consultant (e.g. Ann Levine), but it's entirely another to be able pose questions to such a person and receive timely, useful answers.
Anyway, my question: My LSDAS GPA and undergrad GPA are significantly different. (.13 different, to be exact.) I have a feeling the majority of schools will evaluate me as if I had the higher GPA, and with that I'm really thrilled. My question, however, is which GPA to include on my resume. I would prefer to include only my LSDAS GPA to avoid drawing attention to the lower degree GPA, but it seems incorrect (and, worse, might come across as intentionally misleading) to include my LSDAS GPA in the same portion of my resume that lists my undergrad institution. What should I do?
Last edited by DetroitRed on Wed May 21, 2014 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed May 21, 2014 9:08 pm

DetroitRed wrote:Hi Mike,

Thanks for answering our questions. It's one thing to read a book written by a former admissions officer cum admissions consultant (e.g. Ann Levine), but it's entirely another to be able pose questions to such a person and receive timely, useful answers.
Anyway, my question: My LSDAS GPA and undergrad GPA are significantly different. (.13 different, to be exact.) I have a feeling the majority of schools will evaluate me as if I had the higher GPA, and with that I'm really thrilled. My question, however, is which GPA to include on my resume. I would prefer to include only my LSDAS GPA to avoid drawing attention to the lower degree GPA, but it seems incorrect (and, worse, might come across as intentionally misleading) to include my LSDAS GPA in the same portion of my resume that lists my undergrad institution. What should I do?


And the LSDAS (or CAS/LSAC/cumulative) GPA is what counts for reporting purposes, so you are good there. As long as it is properly labeled LSAC GPA or CAS GPA, you are not misrepresenting what it is. Another way to think about it is that it is not necessary to have your GPA on your resume in all cases. The reader will definitely find your GPA elsewhere :)

Cheers,
Karen

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drawstring
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby drawstring » Wed May 21, 2014 10:18 pm

At top schools does it look bad if during a few terms you took 1-3 classes? Would an addendum be advisable if there is a good reason for the low course load?

Thank you

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Fri May 23, 2014 4:18 pm

drawstring wrote:At top schools does it look bad if during a few terms you took 1-3 classes? Would an addendum be advisable if there is a good reason for the low course load?

Thank you


The transcript will be examined, so and it might look odd (not bad - just raise questions) that you took a lighter course load on more than one occasion, but there are a lot a variables here. A brief addendum may be necessary if it is not explained elsewhere (like on your resume or transcript).

Cheers,
Karen

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inyoureyes89
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby inyoureyes89 » Mon May 26, 2014 3:11 am

Thanks so much for the information -- it's been incredibly helpful!

I've been waitlisted at a few schools where I'm below the LSAT median (in some cases, at or slightly below the 25 percentile) but I'm around median for GPA. Doing some research on past cycles, I've found that most waitlist-accepted students have close to the school's median LSAT numbers. Then again... this was during the application boom.

My question is this: do I even stand a chance? I've been expressing interest, writing LOCIs, sending additional LORs, etc., but I feel like there are waitlisted candidates with better numbers than me (just looking at Law School Numbers). I'm not a URM, if that clarifies things.

Pau.C.
Posts: 90
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Pau.C. » Tue May 27, 2014 12:33 pm

.
Last edited by Pau.C. on Sun Jul 17, 2016 6:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

gottago
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby gottago » Tue May 27, 2014 5:05 pm

nvm
Last edited by gottago on Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BayRidge
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby BayRidge » Tue May 27, 2014 7:08 pm

Hi Mike and Karen,

I actually have a follow-up question about the recent accommodations decision. Before the decision, I had been planning on taking the June LSAT and I tried to get extra time from the LSAC but was denied. Now, it appears that they will grant me extra time for the September LSAT.

Is it better to apply earlier to T14 schools with a weaker June score and then supplement my application with a stronger September score or cancel the June LSAT, wait until mid-October and submit my apps with a single, stronger score from the September LSAT?

Macro question: The position of top schools like HYS on multiple scores has made me feel that taking the test once with a strong score gives me better chances of getting in than taking the test twice with one weak and one strong score. Am I right?

Thanks for your help!

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed May 28, 2014 11:43 am

Sorry for the absence everyone! We are both back on the grid as of tomorrow!
Cheers,
KB

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed May 28, 2014 11:48 am

inyoureyes89 wrote:Thanks so much for the information -- it's been incredibly helpful!

I've been waitlisted at a few schools where I'm below the LSAT median (in some cases, at or slightly below the 25 percentile) but I'm around median for GPA. Doing some research on past cycles, I've found that most waitlist-accepted students have close to the school's median LSAT numbers. Then again... this was during the application boom.

My question is this: do I even stand a chance? I've been expressing interest, writing LOCIs, sending additional LORs, etc., but I feel like there are waitlisted candidates with better numbers than me (just looking at Law School Numbers). I'm not a URM, if that clarifies things.


You were waitlisted (not denied) for a reason, so you do have a chance. Admitting people off the WL is not all about the numbers, but sometimes it's what the school needs to maintain targets. Expressing interest is an important step, so it looks like you are doing what you can. There will be movement, but I understand that the waiting is the hardest part sometimes.

Good luck and hang in there!
Cheers,
Karen

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed May 28, 2014 11:57 am

Pau.C. wrote:If I plan to re-apply to the T6, does it look bad if I reuse my Diversity Statement? I know that I am allowed to, but would it look bad, especially to those top schools? Does it imply that I didn't put the work in or that I am lazy?

Thanks!

A personal statement should change for most schools, but a diversity statement doesn't have to change. You are writing about something that isn't generally update-able, so it makes sense that you'd have the same diversity statement.

Cheers,
Karen

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed May 28, 2014 12:14 pm

gottago wrote:If an LOR writer contacts admissions to tell them that "their current opinions differ from what they had written in their letters," or to broadly discuss what they had written, does that require an additional FERPA authorization, or is the authorization associated with the original letter good enough even if it's a year old?


Are you asking about the form waiving your right to see it? FERPA only kicks in when you become a student at the school - not as an applicant. Sorry that I can't be more help here!

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drawstring
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby drawstring » Wed May 28, 2014 5:52 pm

If someone withdraws from schools (both those they were accepted to and those they are on the WL at) they plan to reapply to, should they mention anything about reapplying in the withdrawal email?

Thanks

gottago
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby gottago » Wed May 28, 2014 8:55 pm

nvm
Last edited by gottago on Mon Jun 02, 2014 4:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

ltrego
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby ltrego » Thu May 29, 2014 4:53 am

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
gottago wrote:If an LOR writer contacts admissions to tell them that "their current opinions differ from what they had written in their letters," or to broadly discuss what they had written, does that require an additional FERPA authorization, or is the authorization associated with the original letter good enough even if it's a year old?


Are you asking about the form waiving your right to see it? FERPA only kicks in when you become a student at the school - not as an applicant. Sorry that I can't be more help here!


Not Mike or Karen, but I might have an answer that will help based on 3 years working in a university reg office. I assume you are talking about the FERPA authorization that you, as the student, have to fill out before profs can write LORs on your behalf, if those LORs include educational info? FERPA only prevents professors from sharing information regarding your educational record without your permission. Therefore, while the FERPA authorization probably only covers the initial letter (though, you should check the verbiage on the authorization you signed), if the prof is just speaking broadly about his/her opinions about you (eg "Although I said he was a stellar student, I have since found him to be a complete imbecile."), that is completely allowed under FERPA. This would be true even if you had never signed an authorization, since FERPA only covers educational records and a prof's general opinions aren't part of your educational record.

If, however, the prof is sharing specific educational information (grades, class enrollment, etc.) in this subsequent communication, that might require an additional authorization (dependent upon the verbiage in the original authorization).

This link provides some more info on what is and isn't covered by FERPA when it comes to LORs and related communication: http://privacy.ufl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/ferpa-and-letters-of-recommendation.pdf

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu May 29, 2014 11:26 am

drawstring wrote:If someone withdraws from schools (both those they were accepted to and those they are on the WL at) they plan to reapply to, should they mention anything about reapplying in the withdrawal email?

Thanks


In general, it is fine to let schools know that you are re-applying when withdrawing from the WL. Timing matters when withdrawing after being admitted, so you should do it sooner rather than later. How you withdraw matters and many schools will keep records of your application when you reapply. If the reason for withdrawing and reapplying (rather than requesting a deferral) makes sense, then you can include it.

Cheers,
karen

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu May 29, 2014 10:16 pm

Hey everyone,

A quick couple of heads up.

1. We will have a new blog post up tomorrow. Around July of last cycle we sort of hit a crescendo of questions on Letters of Rec, so we thought we could help quell those concerns this year with a detailed blog. It's coming!

2. We are soon to do our annual website update. Each year I have solicited TLS for input and suggestions. If there are any website gurus or people who get into this stuff, and you want to suggest anything we should do, please feel free to do so. Our site is: http://www.spiveyconsultuing.com

One possibility. We may get a page up of really good examples from past cycles (but it might be password protected). We need to respect former client wishes who want to help us with some of their application essays, etc. but don't want share everything with the world. That is just one idea. We are open to more. Thanks!

Mike

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri May 30, 2014 5:00 pm

BayRidge wrote:Hi Mike and Karen,

I actually have a follow-up question about the recent accommodations decision. Before the decision, I had been planning on taking the June LSAT and I tried to get extra time from the LSAC but was denied. Now, it appears that they will grant me extra time for the September LSAT.

Is it better to apply earlier to T14 schools with a weaker June score and then supplement my application with a stronger September score or cancel the June LSAT, wait until mid-October and submit my apps with a single, stronger score from the September LSAT?

Macro question: The position of top schools like HYS on multiple scores has made me feel that taking the test once with a strong score gives me better chances of getting in than taking the test twice with one weak and one strong score. Am I right?

Thanks for your help!


Bayridge,

The reason this question is difficult to answer is because the new answer is entirely different from what he has been for the 31 or so combined years Karen and I have done this. So we kept waiting for the other to answer :) If I were you (disclaimer: I am not) I would take it in Sept with the extra time, as that time will no longer be flagged and you are likely to do better then.

I hope this helps!

Mike

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat May 31, 2014 10:24 am

Here is the blog we spoke of on Letters of Rec.

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/letter ... mendation/

Also, thanks to everyone who PM'd us about website suggestions!

-Mike

deebanger
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby deebanger » Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:27 am

Mike/Karen

I have this guideline regarding the time to submit the application, and would love to hear any input from you guys. is this correct, or no or is anything very wrong.

September/October/November- early, in good shape.

December/first or second week of Jan- not early, at the same time not late too

Last 2 weeks of January/Feb- late, at a bit of a disadvantage

March- very late, at a significant disadvantage.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:19 am

deebanger wrote:Mike/Karen

I have this guideline regarding the time to submit the application, and would love to hear any input from you guys. is this correct, or no or is anything very wrong.

September/October/November- early, in good shape.

December/first or second week of Jan- not early, at the same time not late too

Last 2 weeks of January/Feb- late, at a bit of a disadvantage

March- very late, at a significant disadvantage.


There are a lot of variables here, but I think this is pretty good guideline for a school that has a deadline in March or April. All things being equal, it is usually advantageous to apply on the early side.

Cheers,
KB

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Jun 02, 2014 11:50 am

deebanger wrote:Mike/Karen

I have this guideline regarding the time to submit the application, and would love to hear any input from you guys. is this correct, or no or is anything very wrong.

September/October/November- early, in good shape.

December/first or second week of Jan- not early, at the same time not late too

Last 2 weeks of January/Feb- late, at a bit of a disadvantage

March- very late, at a significant disadvantage.



With some exceptions for 100's of reasons, I tend to see it as trying to have everything in when schools stop their recruitment travels season. That occurs in Nov. Sooner...great. Later....it is starting to creep into "at your own risk." As some t14 schools, you could see that getting things in early really helped this cycle.

As a total aside, a just tweeted a hilarious look at my 2000 travel schedule. Apparently we did not have computers back then.

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JustHawkin
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby JustHawkin » Mon Jun 02, 2014 8:47 pm

Looks like penmanship is on the struggling side of things also.

:lol:

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:17 am

JustHawkin wrote:Looks like penmanship is on the struggling side of things also.

:lol:


You shouldn't make fun of my dysgraphia :(

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bloomingtea
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby bloomingtea » Tue Jun 03, 2014 12:04 pm

I have a question, not really advice related but hopefully you will respond.

Why do schools ask where we are going when we decline admission or withdraw admission? Are they using that information for something?

Thanks in advance!


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