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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OVOXO
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby OVOXO » Fri Jun 27, 2014 12:43 pm

Karen — How does Harvard look at 3+ takes? I took the LSAT 4 times and though my numbers themselves are competitive (4.03/171), I fear that my 4 takes will be a major knock against my candidacy at HLS.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Fri Jun 27, 2014 12:44 pm

KAYCEE wrote: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.


Kaycee,
It sounds like you still have room to improve your GPA given that you are taking classes this summer and next as well as during the school year, so that should be your main focus.
Tell your story in a positive way -- it sounds like you've made it through some rough times and are now focused on your future, so that should be apparent in your application.
Applying early is a good idea, but don't rush the application. Make sure that your resume and personal statement are well thought out and professional looking. We have a few articles on our blog about personal statements; here's one on the top 10 mistakes:
http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/the-to ... -mistakes/

Hope this helps!
Cheers,
Karen

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Fri Jun 27, 2014 12:51 pm

OVOXO wrote:Karen — How does Harvard look at 3+ takes? I took the LSAT 4 times and though my numbers themselves are competitive (4.03/171), I fear that my 4 takes will be a major knock against my candidacy at HLS.


It really depends on the situation, timing of the tests, and the rest of the application. In general (not just for HLS) when someone takes the test more than 3 times, there has to be a good reason for it (bad luck with cancelling, sickness, string of bad days, etc.)

wade
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby wade » Fri Jun 27, 2014 1:02 pm

Do you happen to know how often schools receive the LSAC overlap report? Are they updated every week or month?

Thanks!

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Fri Jun 27, 2014 1:13 pm

wade wrote:Do you happen to know how often schools receive the LSAC overlap report? Are they updated every week or month?

Thanks!


Schools who participate in that can run it anytime they'd like, so they can run it every day if they want.
And just to clarify since there is always some confusion around this:
--> Not all schools participate in this
--> Schools can only see overlaps with the schools who are participating
--> School only see students who are deposited at their school plus another participating school (or schools if the admit is deposited at several)

Cheers,
KB

pancho
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby pancho » Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:32 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
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!


Thank you very much Karen!

DebtAverse
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby DebtAverse » Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:52 pm

Looks like my post might have gotten buried in the thread, so I'm reposting it. Hope that isn't annoying or anything. :)

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 » Sat Jun 28, 2014 8:08 pm

DebtAverse wrote:Looks like my post might have gotten buried in the thread, so I'm reposting it. Hope that isn't annoying or anything. :)

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!


I wouldn't say that it is categorically harmful to have an online degree, but it is not a typical degree for law school so it is still a bit of an unknown from the admissions committee side of things. I think it may become more common in the future, and I know that there are students who have been admitted to top schools with an online UG degree, but as with all apps, there are many other elements that are important. So, yes, a strong LSAT will paint a better picture for the adcomm, as will a solid resume and PS.

Cheers,
Karen

2654815451
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby 2654815451 » Sun Jun 29, 2014 11:48 am

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
DebtAverse wrote:Looks like my post might have gotten buried in the thread, so I'm reposting it. Hope that isn't annoying or anything. :)

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!


I wouldn't say that it is categorically harmful to have an online degree, but it is not a typical degree for law school so it is still a bit of an unknown from the admissions committee side of things. I think it may become more common in the future, and I know that there are students who have been admitted to top schools with an online UG degree, but as with all apps, there are many other elements that are important. So, yes, a strong LSAT will paint a better picture for the adcomm, as will a solid resume and PS.

Cheers,
Karen



I will also be graduating with an online degree. I work full time and can't go to school unless it is online at the time. I will be quitting my job if I get accepted into a law school though. I do participate in Mock Trial; so, I go to campus for that in the evenings once a week. This fall I will be taking an evening class in addition to Mock Trial. I try to through in some campus classes in the evenings to even out my experience.

Hahalollawl
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Hahalollawl » Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:48 pm

Hey all,

First off, thank you for taking questions as many of us go through this sometimes (always?) stressful process. It's nice to have a resource with some insight that many of us might not get otherwise.

I have a question about waitlist movement. Now that we are in July, at what point do you think the majority of waitlist movement will have occurred (particularly at T14 schools)? Obviously some movement can occur at just about any moment up until orientation, but I would think it slows to a trickle at most as you get closer to the beginning of the academic year as classes should (you would think) be starting to take shape.

Also, it might be weird to have this coming from me since I am deposited at a school I got in to off the waitlist, but it does seem like some of the waitlists I'm on have not seen very much movement. I obviously don't have hard numbers for this, but I guess anecdotally the waitlist movement this year has seemed rather limited. Specific examples I've paid attention to are U Chicago, U Penn, and UVA. UVA was apparently overenrolled (based on an email from Cordel Faulk), U Penn hasn't seen very much movement that I know of, and I'm not sure there's even been ANY movement at all on U Chicago's waitlist. So anyways, do you guys have an impression of the waitlist movement so far this year?

Thank you for your time!

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rahulg91
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby rahulg91 » Tue Jul 01, 2014 1:56 pm

Hahalollawl wrote:It does seem like some of the waitlists I'm on have not seen very much movement. I obviously don't have hard numbers for this, but I guess anecdotally the waitlist movement this year has seemed rather limited. Specific examples I've paid attention to are U Chicago, U Penn, and UVA. UVA was apparently overenrolled (based on an email from Cordel Faulk), U Penn hasn't seen very much movement that I know of, and I'm not sure there's even been ANY movement at all on U Chicago's waitlist. So anyways, do you guys have an impression of the waitlist movement so far this year?


Just thought I'd add on to this. Cornell had only a couple (that we know of) admits off the reserve list, and none off the WL yet, Michigan has had very little movement as well. NU and GULC have had more movement, but I'd also like to know if the bulk of WL movement is yet to come, or if it has already past.

Thanks!

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Jul 01, 2014 2:04 pm

rahulg91 wrote:
Hahalollawl wrote:It does seem like some of the waitlists I'm on have not seen very much movement. I obviously don't have hard numbers for this, but I guess anecdotally the waitlist movement this year has seemed rather limited. Specific examples I've paid attention to are U Chicago, U Penn, and UVA. UVA was apparently overenrolled (based on an email from Cordel Faulk), U Penn hasn't seen very much movement that I know of, and I'm not sure there's even been ANY movement at all on U Chicago's waitlist. So anyways, do you guys have an impression of the waitlist movement so far this year?


Just thought I'd add on to this. Cornell had only a couple (that we know of) admits off the reserve list, and none off the WL yet, Michigan has had very little movement as well. NU and GULC have had more movement, but I'd also like to know if the bulk of WL movement is yet to come, or if it has already past.

Thanks!


I know this is not what a lot of WL hopefuls want to hear, but I think it will be a slow summer for WL movement. There will likely be some movement in onesies and twoseis (and possibly a few more) but I don't think that we are going to see significant numbers at a lot of T-14 schools. There is still hope for some people who really want to hang in there until the end because there are still people who are holding two deposits into July. Annd many schools will have second deposit deadlines around now, so there may be some decisions being made in the coming weeks.

Hang in there and remain flexible if you want it - and be kind to others and get off the WL if you won't attend :)

Cheers,
KB

Hahalollawl
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Hahalollawl » Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:02 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
rahulg91 wrote:
Hahalollawl wrote:It does seem like some of the waitlists I'm on have not seen very much movement. I obviously don't have hard numbers for this, but I guess anecdotally the waitlist movement this year has seemed rather limited. Specific examples I've paid attention to are U Chicago, U Penn, and UVA. UVA was apparently overenrolled (based on an email from Cordel Faulk), U Penn hasn't seen very much movement that I know of, and I'm not sure there's even been ANY movement at all on U Chicago's waitlist. So anyways, do you guys have an impression of the waitlist movement so far this year?


Just thought I'd add on to this. Cornell had only a couple (that we know of) admits off the reserve list, and none off the WL yet, Michigan has had very little movement as well. NU and GULC have had more movement, but I'd also like to know if the bulk of WL movement is yet to come, or if it has already past.

Thanks!


I know this is not what a lot of WL hopefuls want to hear, but I think it will be a slow summer for WL movement. There will likely be some movement in onesies and twoseis (and possibly a few more) but I don't think that we are going to see significant numbers at a lot of T-14 schools. There is still hope for some people who really want to hang in there until the end because there are still people who are holding two deposits into July. Annd many schools will have second deposit deadlines around now, so there may be some decisions being made in the coming weeks.

Hang in there and remain flexible if you want it - and be kind to others and get off the WL if you won't attend :)

Cheers,
KB


Thank you. So to clarify, do you think most of the waitlist movement for this year (however miniscule it may be) has happened already?

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:19 pm

Hahalollawl wrote:Thank you. So to clarify, do you think most of the waitlist movement for this year (however miniscule it may be) has happened already?


I do think that the bulk of it has happened already at the top - but that's not really different from previous years. I also think that there still will be some movement in the coming weeks.
Good luck!!
Cheers,
KB

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

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:34 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
Hahalollawl wrote:Thank you. So to clarify, do you think most of the waitlist movement for this year (however miniscule it may be) has happened already?


I do think that the bulk of it has happened already at the top - but that's not really different from previous years. I also think that there still will be some movement in the coming weeks.
Good luck!!
Cheers,
KB


maybe at HYS, but there have been zero reported acceptances on TLS or LSN for either Chicago or Columbia yet

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:08 pm

james.bungles wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:
Hahalollawl wrote:Thank you. So to clarify, do you think most of the waitlist movement for this year (however miniscule it may be) has happened already?


I do think that the bulk of it has happened already at the top - but that's not really different from previous years. I also think that there still will be some movement in the coming weeks.
Good luck!!
Cheers,
KB


maybe at HYS, but there have been zero reported acceptances on TLS or LSN for either Chicago or Columbia yet


True. I've also seen little movement to complete silence from many schools in the T20 or so, but given the timing of where we are and what traditionally happens in the summer WL movement, it is unlikely that we will see huge numbers of admits moving forward - even at the schools who haven't (visibly) admitted anyone yet.

Hahalollawl
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Hahalollawl » Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:28 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
james.bungles wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:
Hahalollawl wrote:Thank you. So to clarify, do you think most of the waitlist movement for this year (however miniscule it may be) has happened already?


I do think that the bulk of it has happened already at the top - but that's not really different from previous years. I also think that there still will be some movement in the coming weeks.
Good luck!!
Cheers,
KB


maybe at HYS, but there have been zero reported acceptances on TLS or LSN for either Chicago or Columbia yet


True. I've also seen little movement to complete silence from many schools in the T20 or so, but given the timing of where we are and what traditionally happens in the summer WL movement, it is unlikely that we will see huge numbers of admits moving forward - even at the schools who haven't (visibly) admitted anyone yet.


I guess the question is if they haven't taken many (or anyone) from their waitlist yet, will they want to take any at all? Anyways, it would be nice if Chicago for example would at least give those of us on the waitlist updates every month or so. Last communication was in May and I think it was just to update their waitlist (i.e. make sure people were still interested).

Although with Penn for example, there was an email that mentioned up to 20 offers but I don't think I've seen much (if any) movement since in terms of acceptances.

Out of curiosity, do you really think there are a significant number of people still double deposited in July? I would have thought the schools they are deposited at would have gotten after them and tried to get them to withdraw from other schools by now, is that not the case?

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:55 pm

Hahalollawl wrote:I guess the question is if they haven't taken many (or anyone) from their waitlist yet, will they want to take any at all? Anyways, it would be nice if Chicago for example would at least give those of us on the waitlist updates every month or so. Last communication was in May and I think it was just to update their waitlist (i.e. make sure people were still interested).

Although with Penn for example, there was an email that mentioned up to 20 offers but I don't think I've seen much (if any) movement since in terms of acceptances.

Out of curiosity, do you really think there are a significant number of people still double deposited in July? I would have thought the schools they are deposited at would have gotten after them and tried to get them to withdraw from other schools by now, is that not the case?


Typically with waitlists, the longer we get into the summer, the fewer admits will go out. I think this holds true even for schools who haven't taken many so far. They may just have a full-ish class and not have the need to take many more.
Having been on the admissions side of things for the past 16 years, the number of people double deposited late into July always surprised me, so my view on that may be a bit skewed. It's probably not significant in the grand scheme of things. But not all schools participate in the overlap report, those that do may not run it regularly, and not all of them are quick to update statuses that feed into that report, so it is possible to avoid detection (but that's just pure "luck" not strategy).

FrostedMiniWheats
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby FrostedMiniWheats » Fri Jul 04, 2014 12:38 pm

thanks for taking questions! I had a question about the status checker. If my applications has been under review for 2 weeks, and the dates are being updated (last one was 7/3), then what does it mean if the "Resume" box under the Requirements List is unchecked? They definitely have my resume since I emailed it to them and they confirmed receiving it...Is it just a minor error? Or does it mean there was a problem of some kind?

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:27 pm

FrostedMiniWheats wrote:thanks for taking questions! I had a question about the status checker. If my applications has been under review for 2 weeks, and the dates are being updated (last one was 7/3), then what does it mean if the "Resume" box under the Requirements List is unchecked? They definitely have my resume since I emailed it to them and they confirmed receiving it...Is it just a minor error? Or does it mean there was a problem of some kind?


Each school uses the status checker differently, so it's hard to determine exactly what is happening - they may not even use the resume category anymore, so I wouldn't worry too much about that. Most schools will notify you if something is missing, but you can always call them to ask what that means if you are concerned.

The status and dates can look a little weird from the applicant's point of view, but my guess is that they have more than one internal status that have the same meaning status to the applicant. And the date change might be a reflection of a different type of "under review" status. For example, if the applicant sees "under review" it could be associated with several statuses in the admissions database. So you might be changed to a different internal status like "checked out to Mike Spivey for review" and you still see "under review" as your status. When your internal status changes, it is likely that your date will change.

I hope that clarifies the process a bit - let me know if I didn't explain that well :)

Happy 4th of July everyone! It's raining like there's a hurricane or something here New England.

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WeeBey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby WeeBey » Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:31 pm

my last post got buried, thanks in advance:

Hello Karen and Mike,

1) 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 just on the grounds that their black 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.

2) 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

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat Jul 05, 2014 4:56 pm

Hey all,

Karen and I are working on a blog article on what the new "10% rule" will do to the admissions processes and pools, ie. what impact it will have on you all. I think you will like it and should have it up in a few days.

We are also traveling, very deep into helping people get their applications in before anyone else for this next cycle, and working on a huge PR project. So apologize for being a bit slower than normal.

Stay cool,

Mike

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Sat Jul 05, 2014 9:07 pm

canadianbrother wrote:my last post got buried, thanks in advance:

Hello Karen and Mike,

1) 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 just on the grounds that their black 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.

2) 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


When schools report ethnicity to the ABA, they only count US citizens and Permanent Residents in the ethnicity data, so if you are a citizen of another country -regardless of ethnicity - you are counted as a non-resident alien.
Let me stress that this is only for ABA reporting purposes -- I am not implying that this affects any decisions on applications, I just wanted to bring it us because most people are unaware of this reporting structure. And I'd imagine that schools can use whatever methods they want to report ethnicity on promotional or internal material.

Admissions officers are not blind to the benefits of having international students in their classes, so it will certainly not be a detriment to your application. And your ethnicity is still a part of your identity, regardless of citizenship, and admissions officers aren't blind to that either.
In general, I wouldn't advise someone like you to limit your range of applications based on your Citizenship - apply to those reach schools!
Canadian schools provide similar information to LSAC, so readers will be able to see that your school is a "tough-grating school" if that's the case.
I hope this is helpful!
Cheers,
KB

packer_22
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby packer_22 » Sun Jul 06, 2014 10:39 am

Hi Karen and Mike,

Can you talk about the median application method a little bit? Specifically, how are scores either one below, at or one above the median treated in the admissions process? What about GPAs? (Specifically for T14 and even more specifically for T6?)

Thanks!

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Sun Jul 06, 2014 1:18 pm

So for the sake of argument lets say your GPA is exactly at median and your LSAT is -1. Very early cycle likely won't be read. They sort based on LSAT, then uGPA, URM, etc and you will set in a file drawer. That is the likely, cold truth of it all.

They will make their admits and soon thereafter, because you are so close, you are going to pop up. Again, since you are so close you are the classic example of an applicants that needs to standout and have a really good application. If you do, my guess is admit. if not, my guess is WL. But lets say they are really really focused on LSAT. Then the same effect occurs, it will just happen off of the WL. So if good application, then admit. If bad application, then deny. I should note by "application" I am including any interview(s) you may have and all your correspondence with the admissions office. Don't send them 600 pages emails, but do stay in touch :)

Does this help?

Mike


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