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

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shawmaster
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2014 10:45 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby shawmaster » Sat Sep 27, 2014 4:15 pm

Hi Karen
How are foreign transcripts equated to US GPA, lets say 'Above Average' evaluation, in what U.S GPA range that would be classified?

logicfreak
Posts: 47
Joined: Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:56 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby logicfreak » Sun Sep 28, 2014 9:14 am

If a candidate took the LSAT 4 times, would adcomms be more likely to favor one of the following scenarios over the other:

Situation 1
1)cancel
2)cancel
3)cancel
4)170

Situation 2
1)cancel
2)cancel
3)some score within the 55-75th percentile score
4)170

User avatar
MikeSpivey
Posts: 2607
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:28 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Sun Sep 28, 2014 10:46 am

logicfreak wrote:If a candidate took the LSAT 4 times, would adcomms be more likely to favor one of the following scenarios over the other:

Situation 1
1)cancel
2)cancel
3)cancel
4)170

Situation 2
1)cancel
2)cancel
3)some score within the 55-75th percentile score
4)170


I'm not sure how you could know your percentile, but I *guess* I'd cancel if I thought I would go from 55% to a 170. They are just so divergent and those types of scores look odd to people. Three cancels look odd too, so you are actually going to need an addendum on this one and it needs to be concise but meaningful.

cavalier2015
Posts: 367
Joined: Thu Dec 26, 2013 12:50 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby cavalier2015 » Sun Sep 28, 2014 11:09 am

i took the LSAT yesterday for the first time and really messed up. I had a terrible test center irregularity and it just threw me off balance the entire time.

I was averaging about a 175 (average taken from my PTs 52-72 under timed conditions/ lowest score: 171 highest: 178). But I would be lucky if I even broke a 160 on this exam. Everything that could go wrong did. My timing was way off in LR, didn't even get to read all of the last comparative passage on the RC, and i had to completely guess on 2 full logic games (yes i know, i feel like complete shit). I am still in shock.

I wanted to apply this cycle. I am unsure what to do so I am seeking out help from you guys. My GPA isn't stellar (about 3.4) but I had so much confidence going into the LSAT but things got messed up.

Should I cancel my score or let my shitty score come in, retake in December get a score closer to my average (probably still below a 175, maybe a 170/171) and just add an addendum for my bad LSAT score. I know schools generally consider your higher LSAT score but I am not sure if I should just cancel this score or not.

I was going to do expedited ED at UVA either way. I am instate for UVA if that makes any difference.

any help would be appreciated.

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MikeSpivey
Posts: 2607
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Sun Sep 28, 2014 12:23 pm

cavalier2015 wrote:i took the LSAT yesterday for the first time and really messed up. I had a terrible test center irregularity and it just threw me off balance the entire time.

I was averaging about a 175 (average taken from my PTs 52-72 under timed conditions/ lowest score: 171 highest: 178). But I would be lucky if I even broke a 160 on this exam. Everything that could go wrong did. My timing was way off in LR, didn't even get to read all of the last comparative passage on the RC, and i had to completely guess on 2 full logic games (yes i know, i feel like complete shit). I am still in shock.

I wanted to apply this cycle. I am unsure what to do so I am seeking out help from you guys. My GPA isn't stellar (about 3.4) but I had so much confidence going into the LSAT but things got messed up.

Should I cancel my score or let my shitty score come in, retake in December get a score closer to my average (probably still below a 175, maybe a 170/171) and just add an addendum for my bad LSAT score. I know schools generally consider your higher LSAT score but I am not sure if I should just cancel this score or not.

I was going to do expedited ED at UVA either way. I am instate for UVA if that makes any difference.

any help would be appreciated.


If you are just so certain you scored 15 points lower than you were likely to score, I would cancel. Take the LSAT in DEC. Guess what, Dec isn't late, it is still relatively early. Have all of your application materials in before your score, and come back and let me know how great your cycle was because it will be. I have seen things play out like that hundreds of times for people in very similar circumstances.
Last edited by MikeSpivey on Sun Sep 28, 2014 10:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

cavalier2015
Posts: 367
Joined: Thu Dec 26, 2013 12:50 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby cavalier2015 » Sun Sep 28, 2014 12:31 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
cavalier2015 wrote:i took the LSAT yesterday for the first time and really messed up. I had a terrible test center irregularity and it just threw me off balance the entire time.

I was averaging about a 175 (average taken from my PTs 52-72 under timed conditions/ lowest score: 171 highest: 178). But I would be lucky if I even broke a 160 on this exam. Everything that could go wrong did. My timing was way off in LR, didn't even get to read all of the last comparative passage on the RC, and i had to completely guess on 2 full logic games (yes i know, i feel like complete shit). I am still in shock.

I wanted to apply this cycle. I am unsure what to do so I am seeking out help from you guys. My GPA isn't stellar (about 3.4) but I had so much confidence going into the LSAT but things got messed up.

Should I cancel my score or let my shitty score come in, retake in December get a score closer to my average (probably still below a 175, maybe a 170/171) and just add an addendum for my bad LSAT score. I know schools generally consider your higher LSAT score but I am not sure if I should just cancel this score or not.

I was going to do expedited ED at UVA either way. I am instate for UVA if that makes any difference.

any help would be appreciated.


If you are just so certain you score 15 points lower than you were likely to score, I would cancel. Take the LSAT in DEC. Guess what, Dec isn't late. it is still relatively early. Have all of your application materials in before your score, and come back and let me know how great your cycle was because it will be. I have seen things play out like that hundreds of times for people in very similar circumstances.


the thing is i am not sure how much lower (aka 15 or not). I know for a fact i didn't get above 170. i would be pleasantly surprised with anything above a 162. and would not be shocked one bit if i got in the 150s. Does it look THAT bad if I keep whatever I have and nail the december lsat (meaning above a 170)? I guess what I am asking is whether having to explain a really low LSAT score or a cancel is more appropriate?

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Sun Sep 28, 2014 10:13 pm

shawmaster wrote:
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?


Errr, it's never a good time to be sub-3.0 applicant at HLS. :(
Sorry!
KB

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Sun Sep 28, 2014 10:21 pm

shawmaster wrote:Hi Karen
How are foreign transcripts equated to US GPA, lets say 'Above Average' evaluation, in what U.S GPA range that would be classified?


The Admissions Offices get a lot of information from the CAS report that evaluates the foreign transcript. It often includes an equivalency scale for better identification of where the student falls on an A-F scale. I believe that it varies from school to school as well, so there is no universal equivalent of "Above Average"
Regardless, they don't report those scores, so a lot of information outside of the transcripts will be important as well.

Cheers,
KB

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Tyr
Posts: 247
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Tyr » Sun Sep 28, 2014 10:32 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
shawmaster wrote:
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?


Errr, it's never a good time to be sub-3.0 applicant at HLS. :(
Sorry!
KB


Well, hopefully UT-Austin will be more receptive to me if I can meet or exceed their 75th percentile and if not them, somebody somewhere.

dadownclub8
Posts: 50
Joined: Wed May 13, 2009 6:35 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby dadownclub8 » Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:07 am

Hi Mike and Karen. If I'm looking to take the LSAT in December and while I'm waiting for my score work on my application, would submitting right after I get my score back be too late in applying this cycle to get good results including considerable $? How much generally am I being disadvantaged by doing so?

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haus
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby haus » Mon Sep 29, 2014 6:35 am

dadownclub8 wrote:Hi Mike and Karen. If I'm looking to take the LSAT in December and while I'm waiting for my score work on my application, would submitting right after I get my score back be too late in applying this cycle to get good results including considerable $? How much generally am I being disadvantaged by doing so?

Earlier on this page Mike said:

Guess what, Dec isn't late, it is still relatively early.

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Tyr
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Tyr » Mon Sep 29, 2014 9:53 am

Hi Karen and Mike,
Does being half-URM make a difference if you do not focus your diversity statement on that aspect of yourself? I ask because I'm half-URM (NA), but I think I could have a more compelling (and perhaps more interesting) diversity statement by talking about a non-URM aspect of myself (sexuality) than talking about the bi-cultural aspect.

Thanks again!

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

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Mon Sep 29, 2014 10:10 am

haus wrote:
dadownclub8 wrote:Hi Mike and Karen. If I'm looking to take the LSAT in December and while I'm waiting for my score work on my application, would submitting right after I get my score back be too late in applying this cycle to get good results including considerable $? How much generally am I being disadvantaged by doing so?

Earlier on this page Mike said:

Guess what, Dec isn't late, it is still relatively early.


I'll add that the majority of admissions decisions are made early in the calendar year, so you may not be super-early, but you will not be late in taking the December test.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Mon Sep 29, 2014 10:17 am

Tyr wrote:Hi Karen and Mike,
Does being half-URM make a difference if you do not focus your diversity statement on that aspect of yourself? I ask because I'm half-URM (NA), but I think I could have a more compelling (and perhaps more interesting) diversity statement by talking about a non-URM aspect of myself (sexuality) than talking about the bi-cultural aspect.

Thanks again!


You should write your diversity statement on the subject that you feel is appropriate for you; write what you want to write about! It will be a better DS when you really want to write about it, and it would probably sound forced if you were to write about your culture/ethnicity when you'd rather discuss something else.

Cheers,
KB

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LSATneurotic
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby LSATneurotic » Mon Sep 29, 2014 10:44 am

Hi Karen and Mike,

It's likely you've already answered this question, but at the risk of identifying myself, I want to ask about grade trends.

Let's assume someone near and dear to my heart had a sub 1.5 GPA during their freshman year, took a break from college, and then came back and averaged a 3.9 until graduation. Will this trend significantly mitigate a relatively low 3.3 GPA for t-13 admcoms?

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Mon Sep 29, 2014 10:57 am

LSATneurotic wrote:Hi Karen and Mike,

It's likely you've already answered this question, but at the risk of identifying myself, I want to ask about grade trends.

Let's assume someone near and dear to my heart had a sub 1.5 GPA during their freshman year, took a break from college, and then came back and averaged a 3.9 until graduation. Will this trend significantly mitigate a relatively low 3.3 GPA for t-13 admcoms?


A lot will depend on the LSAT and other factors here, but there are a few good things about this situation:
--> It happened freshman year, which means that it is the farthest time possible removed from now
--> Your friend took time off after this performance
--> they also did well upon their return

All of those factors will not be overlooked, and it is a very good scenario for having a low overall GPA. However, the schools will still have to report that GPA, and it will sting less for them if they have a nice LSAT to report along with it.

Good Luck!
Cheers,
KB

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DaRascal
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby DaRascal » Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:08 pm

How would an admissions officer evaluate a candidate with 5 LSAT takes?

Say his/her scores went something along the lines of 158/161/160/154/mid to high 160 in that order over a 2 and a half year span.

Would a convincing (and truthful) addendum explaining that the candidate didn't sleep at all the night before, cracked under the pressure, and had to deal with the person next to him shaking the table with his elbows throughout the exam be enough to erase the stigma of the 154 in this scenario?

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Mon Sep 29, 2014 9:14 pm

DaRascal wrote:How would an admissions officer evaluate a candidate with 5 LSAT takes?

Say his/her scores went something along the lines of 158/161/160/154/mid to high 160 in that order over a 2 and a half year span.

Would a convincing (and truthful) addendum explaining that the candidate didn't sleep at all the night before, cracked under the pressure, and had to deal with the person next to him shaking the table with his elbows throughout the exam be enough to erase the stigma of the 154 in this scenario?


First of all, how did you get 5 takes in 2 and a half years? Is that all within the 3 tests in two years guidelines?
You might want to include an addendum to give a little background on why so many takes and give an explanation of the low score. Remember to give an explanation, not an excuse, and you might not want to use the phrase "cracked under pressure." :wink:

So much will depend on the application as a whole, but you've probably imagined that this isn't the best case scenario for LSAT scores -- and its far from the end of the world. I am assuming that the schools where you are targeting with this LSAT range are likely down in applications, and will be reporting the high score and therefore will give that score the most weight.

Cheers,
KB

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DaRascal
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby DaRascal » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:17 am

Thanks for the response, KB.
I was able to take it 5 times because I took the test in Jun '12, Oct '12, Dec '13, Jun '14, and then a 5th time on Saturday so the tests all fell within the three tests in two years guidelines.

How does an admissions committee view an application that isn't just a standard "numbers, personal statement, experience, and letters of recommendation" type application? For example, my applications are bound to be full of factors that some might find interesting and others might find troubling (Good GPA, but downward trend, URM status, 5 LSAT attempts, a personal statement about overcoming highly unique disadvantages and personal hardships, Early Decision contract to a reach school, minor Character and Fitness issue, community-oriented jobs and college clubs).

Does an admissions committee generally spend a lot of time looking over these types of applications or do they form opinions about them quickly so as not to cause a delay in reviewing other applications?
Last edited by DaRascal on Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.

dadownclub8
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby dadownclub8 » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:28 am

Thanks Karen. Would your answer stay the same assuming that I wouldn't have a LSAT score until the December exam or would it change?

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
haus wrote:
dadownclub8 wrote:Hi Mike and Karen. If I'm looking to take the LSAT in December and while I'm waiting for my score work on my application, would submitting right after I get my score back be too late in applying this cycle to get good results including considerable $? How much generally am I being disadvantaged by doing so?

Earlier on this page Mike said:

Guess what, Dec isn't late, it is still relatively early.


I'll add that the majority of admissions decisions are made early in the calendar year, so you may not be super-early, but you will not be late in taking the December test.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Sep 30, 2014 8:19 am

dadownclub8 wrote:Thanks Karen. Would your answer stay the same assuming that I wouldn't have a LSAT score until the December exam or would it change?



Yes, my answer stays the same :)

dadownclub8
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby dadownclub8 » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:44 pm

Thank you.

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
dadownclub8 wrote:Thanks Karen. Would your answer stay the same assuming that I wouldn't have a LSAT score until the December exam or would it change?



Yes, my answer stays the same :)

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Sep 30, 2014 7:09 pm

In case you missed our tweet (why aren't you following us on Twitter, QQ, we put so much time into it and there is no real reward but we still do and we beg admissions offices for stats just for twitter and don't know how to do hashtags or the first idea how to make a message to someone else public versus private and bragged about our twitter design to our friends and...I digress):

FINAL 213/'14 STATS with 100% REPORTING

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/final- ... 1415-data/

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Tyr
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Tyr » Tue Sep 30, 2014 9:00 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:In case you missed our tweet (why aren't you following us on Twitter, QQ, we put so much time into it and there is no real reward but we still do and we beg admissions offices for stats just for twitter and don't know how to do hashtags or the first idea how to make a message to someone else public versus private and bragged about our twitter design to our friends and...I digress):

FINAL 213/'14 STATS with 100% REPORTING

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/final- ... 1415-data/


Thanks for the info! What do you make of the numbers on the LSAT? Everything except 170+ scores are down. I'd like to see some analysis on all these numbers coming in.

Veronica2015
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Veronica2015 » Tue Sep 30, 2014 10:58 pm

MikeSpivey wrote: why aren't you following us on QQ?
:shock:

Do you mean Spivey has a Wechat account :D ?


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