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

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MikeSpivey
Posts: 2608
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:07 pm

february1 wrote:Hi Mike,

During undergrad I was part of a fraternity that was kicked off campus under fairly seedy circumstances. I was not personally involved, but my involvement prior was a strong part of my resume. I know this is very much a marginal thing that law schools would look at, so do you think I would be better off completely excluding it from my application? Would they ever look into something like that? Looking at several T-14 schools.

Thank you!


Hey Feb.

I can't not possibly see how this would hurt you, unless the reader had some odd perturbation against fraternities themselves. I'm not sure why you would need to include that one fact on any application though -- you weren't the cause of it. So feel confident in leaving it out.

Best,

Mike

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:16 pm

WichitaShocker wrote:Hello Spivey,
I have a question regarding taking the LSAT multiple times. I've taken the LSAT three times. Increasing my score with each retake by 8 and 7 points. However since my three takes have been over 3 years I am eligible to take the test again. I am applying this cycle and attending next year. I have already submitted my apps, but have not indicated on any a plan to retake. My question is, how will adcomms view 4 takes, and how will they react if my December score is lower than my highest?

Thank you for doing this Q&A!


Are you satisfied with the high score?
4 takes is a lot, and if it is likely that it will be the same or go down, I wouldn't recommend the retake.
Cheers,
KB

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FSK
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby FSK » Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:19 pm

I really dig the new profile pictures..... :mrgreen:

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WichitaShocker
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby WichitaShocker » Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:20 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
WichitaShocker wrote:Hello Spivey,
I have a question regarding taking the LSAT multiple times. I've taken the LSAT three times. Increasing my score with each retake by 8 and 7 points. However since my three takes have been over 3 years I am eligible to take the test again. I am applying this cycle and attending next year. I have already submitted my apps, but have not indicated on any a plan to retake. My question is, how will adcomms view 4 takes, and how will they react if my December score is lower than my highest?

Thank you for doing this Q&A!


Are you satisfied with the high score?
4 takes is a lot, and if it is likely that it will be the same or go down, I wouldn't recommend the retake.
Cheers,
KB


Thank you for the reply Karen. I am somewhat happy with my high score, but I also think I can get a higher score (I did not really study for the first two takes). Do you think admission committees will look at a 4th take negatively even being spread over 3 years?

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:34 pm

WichitaShocker wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:
WichitaShocker wrote:Hello Spivey,
I have a question regarding taking the LSAT multiple times. I've taken the LSAT three times. Increasing my score with each retake by 8 and 7 points. However since my three takes have been over 3 years I am eligible to take the test again. I am applying this cycle and attending next year. I have already submitted my apps, but have not indicated on any a plan to retake. My question is, how will adcomms view 4 takes, and how will they react if my December score is lower than my highest?

Thank you for doing this Q&A!


Are you satisfied with the high score?
4 takes is a lot, and if it is likely that it will be the same or go down, I wouldn't recommend the retake.
Cheers,
KB


Thank you for the reply Karen. I am somewhat happy with my high score, but I also think I can get a higher score (I did not really study for the first two takes). Do you think admission committees will look at a 4th take negatively even being spread over 3 years?


It really depends on the school -- there is no universal bright line yes/no threshold for too many takes. I will say that 4 takes is stepping into the gray area where the number might be an issue - even over 3 years.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:40 pm

Wichita,

I would add that not many schools have the luxury to care about the psychological impression that "too many LSAT scores" could impart. So it seems to happen only at the top, probably 5, from our observations.

I hope this helps!

Mike

Adrian Monk
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Adrian Monk » Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:40 pm

Karen- no q, but love your profile picture :)
Last edited by Adrian Monk on Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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WichitaShocker
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby WichitaShocker » Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:42 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:Wichita,

I would add that not many schools have the luxury to care about the psychological impression that "too many LSAT scores" could impart. So it seems to happen only at the top, probably 5, from our observations.

I hope this helps!

Mike


Mike and Karen thank you both for your replies. I just wanted to let you guys know I really appreciate what you guys do for the legal community.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Sep 19, 2014 7:11 pm

Thanks for the thanks!

Also, for those sick of looking at spreadsheet, here is an infographic of who is up or down in LSAT medians:

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/201314 ... nd-losers/

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WichitaShocker
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby WichitaShocker » Fri Sep 19, 2014 7:24 pm

Just a heads up, you have Nebraska on the increase side with a decrease.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Sep 19, 2014 7:51 pm

WichitaShocker wrote:Just a heads up, you have Nebraska on the increase side with a decrease.


Gratzi, fixed it.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Sep 19, 2014 7:54 pm

Anyone want 5 free undergraduate admissions consulting session with an expert, for a sibling, friend, stranger you want to impress, etc?

We have a friend who does undergraduate admissions consulting who is going to give away just that via our twitter account at: https://twitter.com/SpiveyConsult

We will raffle it off sometime this weekend. Enjoy the free services!

Mike

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat Sep 20, 2014 6:17 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:Anyone want 5 free undergraduate admissions consulting session with an expert, for a sibling, friend, stranger you want to impress, etc?

We have a friend who does undergraduate admissions consulting who is going to give away just that via our twitter account at: https://twitter.com/SpiveyConsult

We will raffle it off sometime this weekend. Enjoy the free services!

Mike



Speaking of twitter, there is some good news for everyone.

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haus
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby haus » Sat Sep 20, 2014 6:25 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:Anyone want 5 free undergraduate admissions consulting session with an expert, for a sibling, friend, stranger you want to impress, etc?

We have a friend who does undergraduate admissions consulting who is going to give away just that via our twitter account at: https://twitter.com/SpiveyConsult

We will raffle it off sometime this weekend. Enjoy the free services!

Mike



Speaking of twitter, there is some good news for everyone.

That is bigger than I would have imagined... Nice.

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TheodoreKGB
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby TheodoreKGB » Tue Sep 23, 2014 10:04 am

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Last edited by TheodoreKGB on Sun Mar 15, 2015 11:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PowerHungry
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby PowerHungry » Tue Sep 23, 2014 5:15 pm

I haven't known I've wanted to be a lawyer forever. I didn't really decide that until later in life and even then, it's an idea with advantages and disadvantages for me personally.

How can I take that and still craft a meaningful personal statement when I don't have a lot of "why law" in my background?

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Sep 23, 2014 9:04 pm

PowerHungry wrote:I haven't known I've wanted to be a lawyer forever. I didn't really decide that until later in life and even then, it's an idea with advantages and disadvantages for me personally.

How can I take that and still craft a meaningful personal statement when I don't have a lot of "why law" in my background?


I have good news for you! Your personal statement does not need to be all about why you want to go to law school! They'll teach you the law in law school, so don't worry about not having much in your background. I've said it before that there really isn't a bad topic for a personal statement, but just about every topic can turn into either a well written PS or poorly written PS. (OK, I can think of a few bad topics, like torturing puppies or things of that ilk, but in general, this is true).

Think about some characteristics about yourself that you want to highlight to the admissions committee and think about how you can showcase those qualities into a narrative that can be demonstrated to the reader. In other words show them you are (insert quality/characteristic here) - don't tell them. It is not an easy task to write about yourself - most people find it incredibly difficult to strike the right tone and content, so you are not alone!

We have a few blog posts on this topic that might be helpful to you, so rather than rewriting some things here, I'll just post the links:

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/the-to ... -mistakes/

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/the-3- ... statement/

Good luck!
Cheers,
KB

throwaway91
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby throwaway91 » Tue Sep 23, 2014 9:48 pm

I'm reposting this from the main board since this question appears like it may more appropriately be answered by one of you two (especially you Karen, since I'm most interested in reference to Harvard).

Is it alright to have a dean's letter sent to schools that dont require them? I think in my case the letter itself would would be very favorable because I have a great relationship with the dean. I want to send it to every school I apply to because I think it will greatly help demonstrate how much difference there is between me now and me at the time of the incident (a few years back). Definitely better than I can do in just the c and f addendum myself.

Thanks for any insight you both can give on this!

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Sep 23, 2014 9:59 pm

throwaway91 wrote:I'm reposting this from the main board since this question appears like it may more appropriately be answered by one of you two (especially you Karen, since I'm most interested in reference to Harvard).

Is it alright to have a dean's letter sent to schools that dont require them? I think in my case the letter itself would would be very favorable because I have a great relationship with the dean. I want to send it to every school I apply to because I think it will greatly help demonstrate how much difference there is between me now and me at the time of the incident (a few years back). Definitely better than I can do in just the c and f addendum myself.

Thanks for any insight you both can give on this!


I don't see any harm in sending it in as part of the application, so if you think it will be helpful, then I would say send it in. You may have to fill out a form later if the letter doesn't answer all of the questions asked on the form (if they are still using a form, it will be sent with admissions materials).

Cheers,
KB

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Tyr
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Tyr » Wed Sep 24, 2014 8:58 am

This thread is invaluable.

Just how much is time a mitigating factor for a poor GPA? I'm hoping to apply with an LSAT score around the 75th percentile for schools, but my GPA will be below their 25th percentile (I'm talking sub-3.0). I figure I can only apply to schools where my LSAT is at their 75th to have any chance. However, that GPA is 8 years old and in the last 6 years I've taken additional undergrad classes simply because I enjoy learning new things. These more recent classes (and in more difficult subjects) have a combined GPA closer to 3.8. I know the new classes won't affect my LSAC GPA, but it should at least show I've taken classes and done better. Thoughts?

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed Sep 24, 2014 9:49 am

Tyr wrote:This thread is invaluable.

Just how much is time a mitigating factor for a poor GPA? I'm hoping to apply with an LSAT score around the 75th percentile for schools, but my GPA will be below their 25th percentile (I'm talking sub-3.0). I figure I can only apply to schools where my LSAT is at their 75th to have any chance. However, that GPA is 8 years old and in the last 6 years I've taken additional undergrad classes simply because I enjoy learning new things. These more recent classes (and in more difficult subjects) have a combined GPA closer to 3.8. I know the new classes won't affect my LSAC GPA, but it should at least show I've taken classes and done better. Thoughts?


There is no bright-line rule for time and mitigation of a sub-3.0 GPA, but it sounds like you've done what you can to mitigate it. 8 years is a good amount of time, and I'm assuming that you have some work experience to show in those 8 years. And a high LSAT will be and should be your focus. The good news is that, in my 17 years in law school admissions, I have never seen a better time for someone in your position to be applying to law school :D

Good luck!
Cheers,
KB

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed Sep 24, 2014 3:20 pm

For those of you taking a little test in the coming days, we wrote this blog article last year, but it is still very much applicable this year. Go forth and conquer!
http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/oct-5t ... conquered/

Cheers,
KB

PS Mike is unavailable for the next few days, so if you are having trouble reaching him, please contact me instead.

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Hat.trick
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Hat.trick » Wed Sep 24, 2014 7:24 pm

Hello Dean Spivey,

I have a quick question. I submitted my resume to law schools a few weeks back and in it i had Business Administration minor. However, since then my college has discontinued the minor so i will not be graduating with that minor. It has no effect in my GPA or anything. I was just wondering how law schools would view this and if it could be a possible C&F issue later on because i said i had a minor that i didnt actually have. Thoughts?

thank you so much

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed Sep 24, 2014 10:42 pm

Hat.trick wrote:Hello Dean Spivey,

I have a quick question. I submitted my resume to law schools a few weeks back and in it i had Business Administration minor. However, since then my college has discontinued the minor so i will not be graduating with that minor. It has no effect in my GPA or anything. I was just wondering how law schools would view this and if it could be a possible C&F issue later on because i said i had a minor that i didnt actually have. Thoughts?

thank you so much


There is no harm in sending an updated resume! I don't think that this will rise to the level of any misconduct.
Cheers,
KB

shawmaster
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby shawmaster » Sat Sep 27, 2014 4:00 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
Tyr wrote:This thread is invaluable.

Just how much is time a mitigating factor for a poor GPA? I'm hoping to apply with an LSAT score around the 75th percentile for schools, but my GPA will be below their 25th percentile (I'm talking sub-3.0). I figure I can only apply to schools where my LSAT is at their 75th to have any chance. However, that GPA is 8 years old and in the last 6 years I've taken additional undergrad classes simply because I enjoy learning new things. These more recent classes (and in more difficult subjects) have a combined GPA closer to 3.8. I know the new classes won't affect my LSAC GPA, but it should at least show I've taken classes and done better. Thoughts?


There is no bright-line rule for time and mitigation of a sub-3.0 GPA, but it sounds like you've done what you can to mitigate it. 8 years is a good amount of time, and I'm assuming that you have some work experience to show in those 8 years. And a high LSAT will be and should be your focus. The good news is that, in my 17 years in law school admissions, I have never seen a better time for someone in your position to be applying to law school :D

Good luck!
Cheers,
KB

How about Harvard?


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