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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yot11
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby yot11 » Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:50 am

MikeSpivey wrote:Here are the 20 law schools that have seen the greatest (pick your word here, greatest sounds odd) drop in applications 2008-2013.

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/the-20 ... 2008-2013/


Looks like there's 25 schools on that list ;)

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:51 am

yot11 wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:Here are the 20 law schools that have seen the greatest (pick your word here, greatest sounds odd) drop in applications 2008-2013.

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/the-20 ... 2008-2013/


Looks like there's 25 schools on that list ;)


Awesome. I was channeling that "All you base" video I linked a page or so back. At the end of the opening script the bad guy says "Ha Ha ha" and the written script says "haha" That must have left a lasting impression on me.

It's fixed now, thanks!

simplytea
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby simplytea » Wed Jul 30, 2014 11:39 am

MikeSpivey wrote:
abcde12345 wrote:I have a question that has never been adequately answered on TLS:

I recently went to a law school admissions panel with the deans of admission from Stanford, NYU, Duke, and Cornell. One of the deans said (and I can't remember which) "Not all 3.5s are created equal." All the deans of admission nodded in great approval. They said they determine the value of a GPA through some function of the college's average LSAT (and also, but less so, the college's average GPA). Thus, it would seem that "UG does matter."

On TLS, however, most people will say UG doesn't matter. They have a good point: rankings don't care which school the GPA came from. Are the deans exaggerating or outright lying (in the same way they claim they "Look at all LSATs"? Are TLSers just perpetuating a myth? Who is right here?

Thank you


abc...This is a question that is very much idiosyncratic for each individual law school and thus difficult for me to answer--and likely the cause for the mixed messages!

I will say that when in doubt, assume the the LSAC calculated gpa is what is important, not the flat gpa + subjective and soft factors in that gpa.

I certainly can not speak for any of the schools at your panel. What I can say is that on your LSAC report law school admissions offices are giving a "LCM" which shows what that school's median LSAT was for all of its test takers the previous year. (or something very close to that, perhaps it is a three year average or something very slightly different. I think I got it and will edit this post if the technical definition is slightly different). The LCM generally gives you valuable information on the overall student population at the school and is PARTICULARLY helpful when you as a admissions file reader do not know much about said school. A real life example for me would be Transylvania University in Lexington, KY. Transylvania almost had a high LCM, much higher than I suspected not knowing much about the school and this was valuable information in the decision-matrix, per se. So yes, on a general level knowing the school's LCM gives a bit more information and can enhance a 3.5 knowing the academic competition is steep at the school. One last note, a school may not have a LCM listed on the LSAC report if there are not enough test-takers at the school that given year, i.e. LSAC determines that the statistical power is not strong enough.

Similarly, you are provided with the undergraduate school's median gpa (again, I may be slightly off technically and will look into that). This gives very valuable information and grade inflation, whether the school fights grade-inflation, etc, Princeton University strongly fights grade inflation and a 3.5 from Princeton is not created equal. We see this on the LSAC report and, at least when I was in admissions, Princeton also sent us a letter to this effect.

Some majors are generally accepted to have lower gpas than others. This is another factor I imagine the deans at your panel may have been referencing.

So certainly, all gpas are not equal including equal LSAC reported gpas. But, keep in mind a that the admissions office is tasked with increasing their median GPA. When in doubt, I certainly think that having a higher gpa is what is most important, higher meaning above the law schools median.

Let me be entirely forthright and I hope everyone reads this the right way. Knowing what I know based on all my years of experience; If my SOLE reason for going to an undergraduate university was to get into the highest ranked law school(and I honestly can not imagine this should be anyone's sole reason) I would go to a school I know has high grade inflation and I would major in a major that tended to produce the highest gpas.

I do not espouse the above in the least, fyi. Indeed, perhaps there is some research that such universities/majors have a deleterious impact on LSAT scores (I'm not aware of this), in which case I would not do what I just said I would do :) But, in answering this specific question I thought that might help.



This is AWESOME information. Thanks Mike! Is there any way people can figure out the LCM/GCM for their undergrad? I can't seem to find data here anywhere (tbh I haven't signed up for CAS because it's expensive, lol, but will be doing so as soon as I get paid)

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:36 pm

simplytea wrote:This is AWESOME information. Thanks Mike! Is there any way people can figure out the LCM/GCM for their undergrad? I can't seem to find data here anywhere (tbh I haven't signed up for CAS because it's expensive, lol, but will be doing so as soon as I get paid)


I believe that it is on the Grade Summary Report, which you will receive once you sign up for CAS.
BTW, if finances are an issue, you should absolutely apply for a fee waiver from LSAC. And if you don't get it on the first try, you should appeal. They have a very good approval rate from the appeal process - I can't remember what it is but it is high enough that you should appeal if you don't get it :)

Cheers,
KB

sunbai1029
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby sunbai1029 » Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:42 pm

hey Mike! hey Karen! Who came up with the Foxes logo? That's pretty nifty.

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BananaSplit626
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby BananaSplit626 » Wed Jul 30, 2014 5:09 pm

Hi Mike,

I was just wondering if there's a reason you didn't offer a response to my question on the previous page. Maybe it's too specific? Sorry, I don't know how this works!

Thank you

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Jul 30, 2014 5:16 pm

BananaSplit626 wrote:Hi Mike,

I was just wondering if there's a reason you didn't offer a response to my question on the previous page. Maybe it's too specific? Sorry, I don't know how this works!

Thank you


Sorry about that.

Statistically, they (schools in lower end of t14) probably shouldn't care. But schools still care. So yes, a higher LSAT should get you more $$$. ironically, it could also get you YP'd. It also could get you into a higher ranked school. So, there are +'s and -'s but overall it could very well get you more $$$.

Just an fyi, 100% of the time if we don't answer a question it is because we are super busy and see the question, and then forget that we didn't answer it because we are caught up in doing x, y, or z. If we can't answer a question for any of a variety of reasons, we try to say "we can't answer for ___ this reason) unless, again we get busy.

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BananaSplit626
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby BananaSplit626 » Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:09 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
BananaSplit626 wrote:Hi Mike,

I was just wondering if there's a reason you didn't offer a response to my question on the previous page. Maybe it's too specific? Sorry, I don't know how this works!

Thank you


Sorry about that.

Statistically, they (schools in lower end of t14) probably shouldn't care. But schools still care. So yes, a higher LSAT should get you more $$$. ironically, it could also get you YP'd. It also could get you into a higher ranked school. So, there are +'s and -'s but overall it could very well get you more $$$.

Just an fyi, 100% of the time if we don't answer a question it is because we are super busy and see the question, and then forget that we didn't answer it because we are caught up in doing x, y, or z. If we can't answer a question for any of a variety of reasons, we try to say "we can't answer for ___ this reason) unless, again we get busy.


Thank you so much for the response. I completely understand how busy you are, and also know you're in business. We greatly appreciate your time here.

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sneakyleo
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby sneakyleo » Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:04 pm

Hi Mike and Karen! This is such a fantastic thread.

I have a quick question about personal statements. I have seen it said in various places on this forum that it is categorically a bad idea to write about religion in a PS. Do you think this is the case? Does such a topic automatically make an applicant look not very intellectual, and/or is it too sensitive a topic (like voicing political beliefs would be)? I'm not talking about stating beliefs/opinions, but more about describing experiences and how they shaped the applicant. Is this as risky a topic as many have implied?

Thank you!

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:34 pm

sneakyleo wrote:Hi Mike and Karen! This is such a fantastic thread.

I have a quick question about personal statements. I have seen it said in various places on this forum that it is categorically a bad idea to write about religion in a PS. Do you think this is the case? Does such a topic automatically make an applicant look not very intellectual, and/or is it too sensitive a topic (like voicing political beliefs would be)? I'm not talking about stating beliefs/opinions, but more about describing experiences and how they shaped the applicant. Is this as risky a topic as many have implied?

Thank you!


I think it can be done the right way, but I've also seen it done the wrong way. Describing experiences and how they shape the applicant sounds like the right way to go if you do decide to write about it. It's not completely off limits, in my opinion.
Cheers,
Karen

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sneakyleo
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby sneakyleo » Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:16 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:I think it can be done the right way, but I've also seen it done the wrong way. Describing experiences and how they shape the applicant sounds like the right way to go if you do decide to write about it. It's not completely off limits, in my opinion.
Cheers,
Karen


Thank you, Karen!

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whitespider
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby whitespider » Tue Aug 05, 2014 3:17 pm

Hey Mike and Karen,

Quick question... I know conventional wisdom is to avoid any mention of HS activities, awards and extracurriculars on a resume designed for LS admission, but are there exceptions to that rule?

More specifically, if one were to have placed in the top ten nationally on his HS mock trial team (after wins at the regional and state level), would that be worth listing in some sort of "achievements" section?

Apologies if this is an exceedingly stupid question with an obvious answer, but I thought it best to check.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:21 pm

Spider,

To your specific accomplishment, yes it is very salient and I would keep. In general, I would shy away from that (I had "Captain, High School Football, Baseball, and Indoor Track teams" on my resume until like 25 and in hindsight that was pathetic)but there are certainly times to include. Also, there are times to include the High School you went to in the Education section of your resume, believe it or not.

JCutt. Thanks for chiming in!

-Mike

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:41 pm

Here is an article we should have written a long time ago, "Debunking the 1 Page Resume Myth"

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/debunking-the-1-page-law-school-resume-myth/

simplytea
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby simplytea » Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:51 am

Hey Mike,

I posted a question in another thread but realized that you, or Karen, would probably be able to give me better advice than other TLSers would. I worked 20-25 hours throughout my college career to pay off tuition, and as such didn't have time to get close to specific professors. Those I did get close to are in the field of International Affairs and are currently focused on troubles in the Middle East (all of whom have families there as well, not to mention that it's summer and they don't check their email very often). What should I do if I don't have a great professor to write my recommendation? I have wonderful employer references (all of whom are lawyers and will write great letters), but not an academic one as of yet.

Can you help me with this conundrum?

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Aug 07, 2014 11:08 am

simplytea wrote:Hey Mike,

I posted a question in another thread but realized that you, or Karen, would probably be able to give me better advice than other TLSers would. I worked 20-25 hours throughout my college career to pay off tuition, and as such didn't have time to get close to specific professors. Those I did get close to are in the field of International Affairs and are currently focused on troubles in the Middle East (all of whom have families there as well, not to mention that it's summer and they don't check their email very often). What should I do if I don't have a great professor to write my recommendation? I have wonderful employer references (all of whom are lawyers and will write great letters), but not an academic one as of yet.

Can you help me with this conundrum?


Academic letters are very important to many schools. I think a non-academic letter is good as a supplement to the other letters, but I wouldn't give up on trying to get in touch with them just yet. Professors are not always easy to connect with in the summer, but you could reach out to make sure that they and their families are OK. Give it some time and follow up - not harassing them, but follow up with concern and tact. It is worth some extra time to get those academic letters --and its still early in the process.

Cheers,
karen

Irish11
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Irish11 » Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:42 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:Here is an article we should have written a long time ago, "Debunking the 1 Page Resume Myth"

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/debunking-the-1-page-law-school-resume-myth/



I had pretty much this exact question, so thanks for this!

As a follow-up, regarding "value-added" items: I've been out of school for three years and so have substantial professional experience. When I was in school, I was very active in extracurriculars and always had somewhere between 2-4 part time jobs. I've included the jobs I feel are relevant in terms of writing/research, but left off the bagel shop and the babysitting and the call center, etc, etc. I don't think any subpar grades were a result of spending Sunday mornings serving breakfast at Bob Evans.

For people who have been out of school awhile, would it hurt to leave irrelevant PT jobs off? Is there an advantage to adding them?

Thanks! This thread is amazing.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:21 pm

Irish11 wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:Here is an article we should have written a long time ago, "Debunking the 1 Page Resume Myth"

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/debunking-the-1-page-law-school-resume-myth/



I had pretty much this exact question, so thanks for this!

As a follow-up, regarding "value-added" items: I've been out of school for three years and so have substantial professional experience. When I was in school, I was very active in extracurriculars and always had somewhere between 2-4 part time jobs. I've included the jobs I feel are relevant in terms of writing/research, but left off the bagel shop and the babysitting and the call center, etc, etc. I don't think any subpar grades were a result of spending Sunday mornings serving breakfast at Bob Evans.

For people who have been out of school awhile, would it hurt to leave irrelevant PT jobs off? Is there an advantage to adding them?

Thanks! This thread is amazing.

It would not hurt to leave irrelevant PT jobs off the resume. I could see some cases where it might be helpful if they were the only job that you had or if it was truly unique from the norm (like a cranberry bog farmer or voice-over actor) but otherwise, it's OK leave them out.

gavaga1
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby gavaga1 » Thu Aug 07, 2014 6:00 pm

.
Last edited by gavaga1 on Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Aug 07, 2014 7:54 pm

gavaga1 wrote:What about leaving irrelevant PT jobs on the resume? I worked throughout college and thus have very little in terms of extracurriculars outside of work. The work in these jobs was somewhat substantive, but I'd have trouble casting the responsibilities as those pertinent to a legal career. Would admissions be fine with seeing these jobs listed on my resume?

Thanks in advance! Appreciate all that you two are doing in this thread.


Yes, when the PT jobs are showing what you've done with your time, then they are not irrelevant. Everything on your resume does not necessarily have to relate to law or your future career goals. "Irrelevant PT jobs" is somewhat subjective, since very similar jobs should probably stay on one person's resume, but may be fine to leave out of another person's resume.
Cheers,
Karen

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Sun Aug 10, 2014 3:25 pm

Hear ye Hear ye (free stuff):

I am thinking about doing a Fantasy Football league this year with 2015/2016 law school applicants. The winner would get a free consulting look over for one of their entire application and a lengthy phone call discussion with me to go over the strengths and weakness, and the runner up would get a free resume and PS edit. The caveats are it will be for next cycle, so ideally we need 8 -10 more 2015/16 participants (Jennifer Winslow from SCG will be playing too) and I can't be commish, I have not the time.

Please let me know here or via PM if you are interested.

THANKS!

Mike

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mornincounselor
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Post removed.

Postby mornincounselor » Sun Aug 10, 2014 7:19 pm

Post removed.
Last edited by mornincounselor on Mon Nov 09, 2015 1:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Sun Aug 10, 2014 8:10 pm

mornincounselor wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:Hear ye Hear ye (free stuff):

I am thinking about doing a Fantasy Football league this year with 2015/2016 law school applicants. The winner would get a free consulting look over for one of their entire application and a lengthy phone call discussion with me to go over the strengths and weakness, and the runner up would get a free resume and PS edit. The caveats are it will be for next cycle, so ideally we need 8 -10 more 2015/16 participants (Jennifer Winslow from SCG will be playing too) and I can't be commish, I have not the time.

Please let me know here or via PM if you are interested.

THANKS!

Mike


I would be ecstatic to join this league, Mike.


I'll keep a running total.

+3.

Keep 'em coming!

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Sun Aug 10, 2014 10:50 pm

+4 (via PM)

simplytea
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby simplytea » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:09 am

...are we talking about real fantasy football? Because then I would invariably lose (i.e. I suck at all things sports). But if someone wants to help me... I would be game to try!


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