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

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KarenButtenbaum
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:39 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:08 pm

Pau.C. wrote:Thanks for all the help. I have a question about Personal Statements.

I have heard mixed ideas concerning including the specific school in the PS. Some people say that you have to personalize every PS to the school, and others have said that just having a paragraph at the end that that talks about the school is obvious and does not mean much, especially for the top schools.

Which would you suggest?

Thanks!


In general, I don't think it's a good idea to personalize the ps to each school. There are exceptions, of course, but I think it rarely adds value to do that.

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olaf
Posts: 5
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby olaf » Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:13 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
Pau.C. wrote:Thanks for all the help. I have a question about Personal Statements.

I have heard mixed ideas concerning including the specific school in the PS. Some people say that you have to personalize every PS to the school, and others have said that just having a paragraph at the end that that talks about the school is obvious and does not mean much, especially for the top schools.

Which would you suggest?

Thanks!


In general, I don't think it's a good idea to personalize the ps to each school. There are exceptions, of course, but I think it rarely adds value to do that.


Relatedly, how do you feel about why school X addenda? Reading threads from this past cycle, it seemed like applicants who included these addenda fared better, at least at Penn and UVA.... yp?

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CocoSunshine
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby CocoSunshine » Thu Jun 19, 2014 3:47 am

Hi Karen and Mike,

I'm an international applicant (had my UG out of US) for the next cycle. This year, I knew many internationals with a 170+ LSAT waitlisted at a lot of T14 schools. I can see it is harder and harder for internationals to get accepted. What would you say about the trend? How is internationals' application different? What can we do to boost our chance besides rasing grades & LSAT?

Thank you very much in advance!

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:02 pm

Karen and I are at a conference for pre-law advisors, admissions people, and others. Apologies we are slow.

But, this is somewhat funny so I wanted to share. Among the attendees are some people for LSAC. I pestered them for an LSAT score release date to no avail. But what I did get to find out is that apparently after we posted this April Fools farce they were spammed with angry phone calls:

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/breaki ... sept-2014/

So, no more April Fool's fun for us. But, as an aside we are adding Elana Kagan to our firm as an admissions intern.

linkx13
Posts: 288
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby linkx13 » Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:34 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:Karen and I are at a conference for pre-law advisors, admissions people, and others. Apologies we are slow.

But, this is somewhat funny so I wanted to share. Among the attendees are some people for LSAC. I pestered them for an LSAT score release date to no avail. But what I did get to find out is that apparently after we posted this April Fools farce they were spammed with angry phone calls:

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/breaki ... sept-2014/

So, no more April Fool's fun for us. But, as an aside we are adding Elana Kagan to our firm as an admissions intern.

´
Haha. I can only imagine what those calls were like.

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jw316
Posts: 521
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby jw316 » Thu Jun 19, 2014 2:55 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:Karen and I are at a conference for pre-law advisors, admissions people, and others. Apologies we are slow.

But, this is somewhat funny so I wanted to share. Among the attendees are some people for LSAC. I pestered them for an LSAT score release date to no avail. But what I did get to find out is that apparently after we posted this April Fools farce they were spammed with angry phone calls:

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/breaki ... sept-2014/

So, no more April Fool's fun for us. But, as an aside we are adding Elana Kagan to our firm as an admissions intern.


I see what you did there

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Jun 19, 2014 3:14 pm

olaf wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:
Pau.C. wrote:Thanks for all the help. I have a question about Personal Statements.

I have heard mixed ideas concerning including the specific school in the PS. Some people say that you have to personalize every PS to the school, and others have said that just having a paragraph at the end that that talks about the school is obvious and does not mean much, especially for the top schools.

Which would you suggest?

Thanks!


In general, I don't think it's a good idea to personalize the ps to each school. There are exceptions, of course, but I think it rarely adds value to do that.


Relatedly, how do you feel about why school X addenda? Reading threads from this past cycle, it seemed like applicants who included these addenda fared better, at least at Penn and UVA.... yp?


I think when schools offer the "why x" essay as an option, it's a good idea to include. Otherwise, it may not add much value.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Jun 19, 2014 3:23 pm

CocoSunshine wrote:Hi Karen and Mike,

I'm an international applicant (had my UG out of US) for the next cycle. This year, I knew many internationals with a 170+ LSAT waitlisted at a lot of T14 schools. I can see it is harder and harder for internationals to get accepted. What would you say about the trend? How is internationals' application different? What can we do to boost our chance besides rasing grades & LSAT?

Thank you very much in advance!


There are a lot of unknown variables with this type of question, so I'm not sure that I'd agree that it is harder for international students to get accepted. I think that the LSAT is an important element, but even if the undergraduate GPA doesn't count for reporting purposes, the evaluation of that transcript is still a key element, as is the personal statement, resume and letters of recommendation.

If you already have a strong GPA and LSAT, you want to make sure that your resume, personal statement, and letters of rec are equally as strong.

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olaf
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby olaf » Thu Jun 19, 2014 3:35 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
olaf wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:
Pau.C. wrote:Thanks for all the help. I have a question about Personal Statements.

I have heard mixed ideas concerning including the specific school in the PS. Some people say that you have to personalize every PS to the school, and others have said that just having a paragraph at the end that that talks about the school is obvious and does not mean much, especially for the top schools.

Which would you suggest?

Thanks!


In general, I don't think it's a good idea to personalize the ps to each school. There are exceptions, of course, but I think it rarely adds value to do that.


Relatedly, how do you feel about why school X addenda? Reading threads from this past cycle, it seemed like applicants who included these addenda fared better, at least at Penn and UVA.... yp?


I think when schools offer the "why x" essay as an option, it's a good idea to include. Otherwise, it may not add much value.


Thanks!

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MikeSpivey
Posts: 2617
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Jun 19, 2014 3:51 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
olaf wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:
Pau.C. wrote:Thanks for all the help. I have a question about Personal Statements.

I have heard mixed ideas concerning including the specific school in the PS. Some people say that you have to personalize every PS to the school, and others have said that just having a paragraph at the end that that talks about the school is obvious and does not mean much, especially for the top schools.

Which would you suggest?

Thanks!


In general, I don't think it's a good idea to personalize the ps to each school. There are exceptions, of course, but I think it rarely adds value to do that.


Relatedly, how do you feel about why school X addenda? Reading threads from this past cycle, it seemed like applicants who included these addenda fared better, at least at Penn and UVA.... yp?


I think when schools offer the "why x" essay as an option, it's a good idea to include. Otherwise, it may not add much value.


I would add if they offer different essay options and why x is one of them, my initial default would always lean towards answering this one.

Also, if you are WL'd the why x always makes sense in a loci.

Instinctive
Posts: 436
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Instinctive » Thu Jun 19, 2014 6:08 pm

Hope conference is going well!

Y'all have been so helpful throughout my cycle that as it comes to a close, I have one final thing I'd love to hear opinions on (I didn't see anything in thread about this):

If you committed to (deposited at) a prestigious school and you then had some other WL activity, what is the best way to inform the school you deposited at that you will actually not be attending? With small classes, the admissions dean has built what feels like a personal relationship, which kind of says "phone call", but it is also professional and bad news, both of which say "well-written email."

Thanks in advance.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:25 pm

Instinctive wrote:Hope conference is going well!

Y'all have been so helpful throughout my cycle that as it comes to a close, I have one final thing I'd love to hear opinions on (I didn't see anything in thread about this):

If you committed to (deposited at) a prestigious school and you then had some other WL activity, what is the best way to inform the school you deposited at that you will actually not be attending? With small classes, the admissions dean has built what feels like a personal relationship, which kind of says "phone call", but it is also professional and bad news, both of which say "well-written email."

Thanks in advance.


Congrats on the new admit from the WL! You aren't the first person to do this, and you won't be the last :)
A timely and well-written email will suffice. Even if you called, they might want something in writing.


Cheers,
KB

pancho
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby pancho » Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:19 pm

Hi Mike and Karen,

I have accepted a substantial scholarship to a regional school and am unsure about whether it will actually be a good fit. If I find myself at orientation certain that the school will not be a good fit and at that time accordingly decide to not actually start classes at said program, will schools I apply to for c/o 2018 look down upon this action? I imagine they will be able to see that I deposited at this school for c/o 2017 but will the fact that I actually never studied there -- as opposed to, for example, leaving after a term -- make it no big deal? Will I need to disclose that I deposited in the event they cannot already see this? Technically I will not have matriculated if I never actually attended a single class, right?

Thanks!

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yot11
Posts: 184
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby yot11 » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:05 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:here is your 5/9/14 LSAT Bandwidth data:

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/lsat-b ... s-of-5914/


Mike/Karen,

Do you have any thoughts as to why every bandwidth saw a decrease in number of applicants except for the 170+ bandwidths?

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WeeBey
Posts: 535
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby WeeBey » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:52 pm

Hello Karen and Mike,

Im applying next cycle and Ive looked through your pass responses at what qualifies URM, I am a black Canadian, whose parents came as refugees from Africa. Some on these forums say black canadians do receive a boost but then others say i wouldn't because I would be considered a non-resident alien.

This makes a big difference to me because if i am considered urm, Id have a chance at schools worth attending (T6), if not, i might as well stay in Canada.

On another note, how do you guys review Canadian transcripts? Grading policies in Canada are quite different than the US, most undergraduate classes at my school are curved to a C+ (average class GPA from all my courses were 2.3), where as I hear its usually a B/B+ in the States.

Thank you

DebtAverse
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby DebtAverse » Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:08 pm

Hi Karen and Mike,

It was exciting to find this thread, as it is very helpful to learn about the admissions process from "the other side." :)
I am graduating with a bachelor's degree this summer and plan to apply to schools in the fall. I am becoming concerned, however, that the admissions process may not go well for me because my degree is from the online program of an unranked school. The school does have a physical campus and I am told that no one can tell the difference from the diploma.
Anyway, as admissions officers, I am curious how you would regard a student with this background. Would it be harmful if my professors mentioned the online aspect of my degree in their LORs? Would it be useful/harmful for me to address the online nature of the degree? Could a good LSAT score and GPA mitigate the potential disadvantages of the school/degree style?

Thanks for your time!

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed Jun 25, 2014 7:26 am

pancho wrote:Hi Mike and Karen,

I have accepted a substantial scholarship to a regional school and am unsure about whether it will actually be a good fit. If I find myself at orientation certain that the school will not be a good fit and at that time accordingly decide to not actually start classes at said program, will schools I apply to for c/o 2018 look down upon this action? I imagine they will be able to see that I deposited at this school for c/o 2017 but will the fact that I actually never studied there -- as opposed to, for example, leaving after a term -- make it no big deal? Will I need to disclose that I deposited in the event they cannot already see this? Technically I will not have matriculated if I never actually attended a single class, right?

Thanks!


Very good question, and I'm glad that you are asking. It is entirely dependent on the process at each school, so there is not a universal answer, but when you check in at orientation, the school can count you as matriculated. So even if you don't sit on a single class, it is possible to raise the "matriculation" flag that may show up on a future CAS report. However, this is something that is easily explained if the flag is raised. You should be able to find out if it's on your CAS report, and it will be no big deal as long as it is explained properly. This isn't the ideal situation, so I hope you are able to figure out the right fir prior to orientation, but it is important to find the right fit.
Good Luck!

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed Jun 25, 2014 7:29 am

Sorry we are slow to respond the past few days, but both Mike and I are traveling this week. We will be more back on the grid in the coming days!

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Jun 25, 2014 8:41 am

yot11 wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:here is your 5/9/14 LSAT Bandwidth data:

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/lsat-b ... s-of-5914/


Mike/Karen,

Do you have any thoughts as to why every bandwidth saw a decrease in number of applicants except for the 170+ bandwidths?


Likely the biggest factor (or only) is due to the decrease last year. The changes are small as far as sheer numbers.

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Mack.Hambleton
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:11 pm

Do you guys think medians will drop at all after this cycle is done?

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jk148706
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby jk148706 » Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:33 pm

james.bungles wrote:Do you guys think medians will drop at all after this cycle is done?


What do I know, but that would be wild if UVA, Penn go to 168, Mich 167, NYU 169 etc

SPerez
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby SPerez » Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:21 pm

Instinctive wrote:Hope conference is going well!

Y'all have been so helpful throughout my cycle that as it comes to a close, I have one final thing I'd love to hear opinions on (I didn't see anything in thread about this):

If you committed to (deposited at) a prestigious school and you then had some other WL activity, what is the best way to inform the school you deposited at that you will actually not be attending? With small classes, the admissions dean has built what feels like a personal relationship, which kind of says "phone call", but it is also professional and bad news, both of which say "well-written email."

Thanks in advance.


Image

jmjm
Posts: 329
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby jmjm » Wed Jun 25, 2014 4:27 pm

Hi -
Does a foreign UG GPA in electrical engineering that's numerically low but rated "superior" by CAS affect chances at hys if the graduate US gpa, also in electrical engineering, is around 3.5? It's not clear whether it makes any difference but the foreign UG school is known for the rigor of its engineering curriculum.
Would 10+ years of experience working in the semiconductor chip design industry mitigate the effect of such GPA; since the applicant with over ten years out of academia will have a hard time getting professor recommendations, how much does it dent the chances to not have academic recommendations?

Thanks in advance.

2654815451
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby 2654815451 » Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:05 am

I would like to add with everyone else how TLS and these forums have aided in the application process. Thanks, Spivey, for the great answers and advice.

I'm not shooting for T-14, as my numbers are not sufficient. I'm praying to get in and receive some type of scholarship to LSU in Baton Rouge. The highest ranked school I'm applying to is Tulane New Orleans. LSU is my top choice.

Questions:

1. Being that my numbers are right below median (even in 25% range), how can I make up for that in my application? I have worked full time since high school, and currently working for District Attorney. I know a GREAT deal about child support and hope to be a prosecutor in this area. I will be graduating with my undergrad in paralegal studies next year, which brings me to my next question:
2. I will be graduating in August 2015, because I'm having to take this summer (currently in process) and next summer to graduate on time. Will this effect my chances of admission when they see the number of credit hours I have left when I apply? I'm planning to apply early.

I've taken the Feb. LSAT and waiting on my June LSAT. I would wait another year to apply to law school, but my situation really contributes to my need to go next year. I've pratically raised myself and been homeless at different times. I went straight from high school to university, but I dropped out due to working 3 jobs and trying to survive. I'm now trying to make up that time.

Thank you so much for your help. I will appreciate anyone's comments on this.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Fri Jun 27, 2014 12:33 pm

jmjm wrote:Hi -
Does a foreign UG GPA in electrical engineering that's numerically low but rated "superior" by CAS affect chances at hys if the graduate US gpa, also in electrical engineering, is around 3.5? It's not clear whether it makes any difference but the foreign UG school is known for the rigor of its engineering curriculum.
Would 10+ years of experience working in the semiconductor chip design industry mitigate the effect of such GPA; since the applicant with over ten years out of academia will have a hard time getting professor recommendations, how much does it dent the chances to not have academic recommendations?

Thanks in advance.


jmjm -
In general, the schools will look at your foreign transcript as well as it's interpretation so it really depends on a lot of other factors. Your LSAT and work experience will be helpful in making a determination here as well as your graduate work, so if those factors are encouraging, you should certainly apply.
As far as academic recommendations, you really should have one for Yale. They make it pretty clear on their website that it matters. Graduate professors are fine too for this purpose. In general, academic letters are valued in the law school admission process, so if at all possible, you should try to get them but remember that you are going to be the best judge of who is going to say the nicest things about you -- and you want them to be good. I recently wrote a blog on this topic here: http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/letter ... mendation/

I hope that is helpful -- Good luck!
Cheers,
KB


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