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

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Oct 01, 2014 9:44 am

Veronica2015 wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote: why aren't you following us on QQ?
:shock:

Do you mean Spivey has a Wechat account :D ?


Maybe....what is what? :)

Long_Time_Lurker
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Long_Time_Lurker » Wed Oct 01, 2014 12:27 pm

I've gotten some great advice from this thread already, so I hope I'm not being too selfish by asking for some more!

Can you weigh in on how a non-academic letter of recommendation from a retail employer might look? I've seen some information about letters from employers, but they all tend to assume much more prestigious jobs. I have one academic letter, but I transferred undergrads so many times that I don't think I can get a good second one.

I really appreciate the help!

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Oct 01, 2014 5:00 pm

Long_Time_Lurker wrote:I've gotten some great advice from this thread already, so I hope I'm not being too selfish by asking for some more!

Can you weigh in on how a non-academic letter of recommendation from a retail employer might look? I've seen some information about letters from employers, but they all tend to assume much more prestigious jobs. I have one academic letter, but I transferred undergrads so many times that I don't think I can get a good second one.

I really appreciate the help!


Sure!

You need one really good academic one. Understandably, many people look outside academia for their next (or next several). What is much more important than who writes it is what they says. This is particularly true as 90% of letters of rec are these glowing, fawning statement about a personas worth. Meaning, if you are not in the 90% you really stand out -- but not like you want.

So to answer the questions, you be fine. Just make sure it is also glowing and fawning.

I hope this helps!

Mike

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Oct 02, 2014 4:57 pm

mornincounselor wrote:I was listening to a LSAT podcast and the guests had an admissions advisor on the show. She gave a list of seven reasons why a person who plans on retaking in december should wait until they get that score before sending in their application packets. Is this something you would advise as well?

Her most persuasive rational was that, with the exclusion of HLS, she has seen, no difference in the outcomes for prospective students who apply after the September tests vs the ones who apply the moment December scores come back. Further, she mentioned the possibility of potential oversights by schools whereby they reject you outright on the basis of a lower score without noticing/caring that you indicated a retake in December.

I have a hypothetical too. You have a student with a 3.45 GPA who wants to get into a t-14 school with as much scholarship money as possible. They took the test in September and got a 170. They plan on reataking in December. He plans on appying to N-NU, plus some regionals. If he breaks 174 he might consider applying to some t5 schools.

Should he apply to some schools now and some later, all now, or all later? Thank you so much guys.


It is odd to me that anyone would have to even give a reason to this, let alone 7. Isn't it obvious? Yes wait for a score.

Put another way, sure plan on the retake, why not? But you can't jump forward in time and take it, and you shouldn't close your eyes every time LSAC tries to give you their score? So um, yea, check out your score. If you busted out with that 174 and that is your peak, why in the world would you retake??

This answer seems so obvious before I go on, am I missing something? Thanks.

Veronica2015
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Veronica2015 » Thu Oct 02, 2014 10:19 pm

I saw a hot debate about the length of a resume on the forum: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=146388

Is a one-page resume preferred by admissions? Or a two-page one is as good as the former if necessary? I'm a senior undergraduate and my resume takes up almost two pages. I had an active college life (several honors, internships, clubs, competitions), but my resume is long primarily because I add some descriptions for every experience. I want to show my role and my involvement in those activities. Do you think a two-page resume is too long for an undergraduate?

Would love to hear your advice. Thank you very much in advance!

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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Oct 02, 2014 10:46 pm

Veronica2015 wrote:I saw a hot debate about the length of a resume on the forum: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=146388

Is a one-page resume preferred by admissions? Or a two-page one is as good as the former if necessary? I'm a senior undergraduate and my resume takes up almost two pages. I had an active college life (several honors, internships, clubs, competitions), but my resume is long primarily because I add some descriptions for every experience. I want to show my role and my involvement in those activities. Do you think a two-page resume is too long for an undergraduate?

Would love to hear your advice. Thank you very much in advance!



Here you go, Veronica. Feel free to share over there too!

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/debunk ... sume-myth/

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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby haus » Thu Oct 02, 2014 11:02 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
Veronica2015 wrote:I saw a hot debate about the length of a resume on the forum: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=146388

Is a one-page resume preferred by admissions? Or a two-page one is as good as the former if necessary? I'm a senior undergraduate and my resume takes up almost two pages. I had an active college life (several honors, internships, clubs, competitions), but my resume is long primarily because I add some descriptions for every experience. I want to show my role and my involvement in those activities. Do you think a two-page resume is too long for an undergraduate?

Would love to hear your advice. Thank you very much in advance!



Here you go, Veronica. Feel free to share over there too!

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/debunk ... sume-myth/

I like your description. The flow chart is a nice touch.

Personally, I hold multiple degrees, several industry certifications, and over 20 years of experience in military and professional experience. My default resume runs about a page and a half.

Veronica2015
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Veronica2015 » Fri Oct 03, 2014 3:48 am

MikeSpivey wrote:
Veronica2015 wrote:I saw a hot debate about the length of a resume on the forum: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=146388

Is a one-page resume preferred by admissions? Or a two-page one is as good as the former if necessary? I'm a senior undergraduate and my resume takes up almost two pages. I had an active college life (several honors, internships, clubs, competitions), but my resume is long primarily because I add some descriptions for every experience. I want to show my role and my involvement in those activities. Do you think a two-page resume is too long for an undergraduate?

Would love to hear your advice. Thank you very much in advance!



Here you go, Veronica. Feel free to share over there too!

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/debunk ... sume-myth/


Thank you, Mike! There are lots of great information on your blog. Plan to read them through soon :D

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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Oct 03, 2014 11:41 am

I like your description. The flow chart is a nice touch.

Personally, I hold multiple degrees, several industry certifications, and over 20 years of experience in military and professional experience. My default resume runs about a page and a half


Thanks, haus. It would look weird if your resume were not over a page, I think.

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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Oct 03, 2014 11:53 am

Off topic: I started writing a Personal Statement last night for fun. For FUN, lol...that is all, pile on.

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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Fri Oct 03, 2014 12:29 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:Off topic: I started writing a Personal Statement last night for fun. For FUN, lol...that is all, pile on.

Let me know if you need help with that!
:wink:

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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby Questions&Questions » Sat Oct 04, 2014 1:37 pm

I have a question regarding multiple LSAT scores. I just took the September LSAT, which is my third (and definitely last) LSAT. I realize that three attempts is a bit high, so I plan on submitting a short addendum to my applications addressing this point. As things stand right now, my first score was cancelled, my second was 167, and my third is pending release. I had to cancel my first score because of a silly bubbling error. Basically, I skipped an early question in one of the sections but forgot to skip over it on my answer sheet. So when I finished the section with 15 seconds to go and realized that most of my answers had been bubbled in incorrectly, there was no time to fix the mistake. I am definitely going to include an explanation of those circumstances in my addendum.

However, I am unsure if I should address the 167. I studied much harder for the September LSAT and am confident that I did significantly better than 167. In the event that my prediction is correct, is it a good idea for me to attempt to explain the discrepancy in my scores by emphasizing that I prepared better for the September LSAT and therefore feel it is a better indication of my abilities? I'm not sure how admissions officers might view that type of explanation, and I definitely don't want to shoot myself in the foot by, for example, raising the question of why I didn't prepare as well for the 167 LSAT. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Sun Oct 05, 2014 10:29 pm

Questions&Questions wrote:I have a question regarding multiple LSAT scores. I just took the September LSAT, which is my third (and definitely last) LSAT. I realize that three attempts is a bit high, so I plan on submitting a short addendum to my applications addressing this point. As things stand right now, my first score was cancelled, my second was 167, and my third is pending release. I had to cancel my first score because of a silly bubbling error. Basically, I skipped an early question in one of the sections but forgot to skip over it on my answer sheet. So when I finished the section with 15 seconds to go and realized that most of my answers had been bubbled in incorrectly, there was no time to fix the mistake. I am definitely going to include an explanation of those circumstances in my addendum.

However, I am unsure if I should address the 167. I studied much harder for the September LSAT and am confident that I did significantly better than 167. In the event that my prediction is correct, is it a good idea for me to attempt to explain the discrepancy in my scores by emphasizing that I prepared better for the September LSAT and therefore feel it is a better indication of my abilities? I'm not sure how admissions officers might view that type of explanation, and I definitely don't want to shoot myself in the foot by, for example, raising the question of why I didn't prepare as well for the 167 LSAT. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


In general applicants submit too many addenda about retaking the LSAT, and three takes and only two scores does not exactly raise too many questions these days. If you do decide to include an addendum, I would encourage you to make it brief and probably leave out the "I didn't prepare well" type language in favor of "I could do better" type language.

Cheers,
KB

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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby TLSuser2014 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 9:24 am

Hello! I am registered to take the December 2014 LSAT by I am worried that I do not have enough time to study. I have been considering three different options in order for me to get accepted into my desired school (which is the University of Florida):

1. Take the December LSAT administration and apply for school with that score, which will allow me to have my application in by early January but I may not have received the best score due to my limited time to study.

2. Take the December LSAT, apply to schools but register for the February LSAT, which would cause my application to be held until I receive my February LSAT.

3. Take the February LSAT only and apply right before the deadline, March 15th, with the likelihood of a higher score.

Which option do you think is best? I would like to take the February test if it means that I can get a higher score but I am also worried that I will not have an opportunity to receive scholarships if I apply in March.

I am not sure which strategy would be the best in hopes of getting admitted for the Fall 2014-2015 cycle. UF is my top choice since Gainesville is my hometown and I plan to practice law in the state of Florida. I am applying to other schools in Florida but UF is the better option for me due to my situation.

Thank you for your help! :D

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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Oct 06, 2014 12:27 pm

TLSuser2014 wrote:Hello! I am registered to take the December 2014 LSAT by I am worried that I do not have enough time to study. I have been considering three different options in order for me to get accepted into my desired school (which is the University of Florida):

1. Take the December LSAT administration and apply for school with that score, which will allow me to have my application in by early January but I may not have received the best score due to my limited time to study.

2. Take the December LSAT, apply to schools but register for the February LSAT, which would cause my application to be held until I receive my February LSAT.

3. Take the February LSAT only and apply right before the deadline, March 15th, with the likelihood of a higher score.

Which option do you think is best? I would like to take the February test if it means that I can get a higher score but I am also worried that I will not have an opportunity to receive scholarships if I apply in March.


I am not sure which strategy would be the best in hopes of getting admitted for the Fall 2014-2015 cycle. UF is my top choice since Gainesville is my hometown and I plan to practice law in the state of Florida. I am applying to other schools in Florida but UF is the better option for me due to my situation.

Thank you for your help! :D



Def do some form of taking in Dec. Florida is only going to care about your high score so if you tank it, then you take in Feb and you are fine. If you bust out with a really strong score you just saved yourself Feb.

If I were you I would work on all my applications now as you study, and button them up after the Dec test. After the test (unless you really think you bombed) submit. Once you get your score either let UF (and others) know you will be taking in Feb, or enjoy your strong score if you did well, and your admissions success.

GL!

Mike

TLSuser2014
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby TLSuser2014 » Mon Oct 06, 2014 3:00 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
TLSuser2014 wrote:Hello! I am registered to take the December 2014 LSAT by I am worried that I do not have enough time to study. I have been considering three different options in order for me to get accepted into my desired school (which is the University of Florida):

1. Take the December LSAT administration and apply for school with that score, which will allow me to have my application in by early January but I may not have received the best score due to my limited time to study.

2. Take the December LSAT, apply to schools but register for the February LSAT, which would cause my application to be held until I receive my February LSAT.

3. Take the February LSAT only and apply right before the deadline, March 15th, with the likelihood of a higher score.

Which option do you think is best? I would like to take the February test if it means that I can get a higher score but I am also worried that I will not have an opportunity to receive scholarships if I apply in March.


I am not sure which strategy would be the best in hopes of getting admitted for the Fall 2014-2015 cycle. UF is my top choice since Gainesville is my hometown and I plan to practice law in the state of Florida. I am applying to other schools in Florida but UF is the better option for me due to my situation.

Thank you for your help! :D



Def do some form of taking in Dec. Florida is only going to care about your high score so if you tank it, then you take in Feb and you are fine. If you bust out with a really strong score you just saved yourself Feb.

If I were you I would work on all my applications now as you study, and button them up after the Dec test. After the test (unless you really think you bombed) submit. Once you get your score either let UF (and others) know you will be taking in Feb, or enjoy your strong score if you did well, and your admissions success.

GL!

Mike


Thank you for your advice! :D

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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Oct 07, 2014 7:06 pm

jettison63 wrote:Question here on addendum:

So I have an okay-ish GPA, but not for the schools I'm planning on applying to. I pt'd 176-180, so here's to hoping! BUT my ugpa was about a 3.4. I am toying with the idea of submitting an addendum explaining my situation which was that my sister was in and out of the hospital/ICU about 40 or so times dealing with a very serious illness, my parents divorced (day before first lsat take, actually), and because of the insane amount of medical bills declared bankruptcy and we lost our house.

Is explaining this going to sound like excuse-making? I know to add language such as that I am able to cope with stressful factors in my life, I should have tried harder, etc.

Just unsure how* to move forward on that.

Thanks!!!


I'm torn.

Any one of those I think would be addenda material. And I know that must have really sucked all together and I feel for you. But, I'll quote a client of mine last cycle when I was trying to get him to tone down something ..."yea, I guess you are right, your grandparents can only die so many times"

I thought that was well stated. Admissions people see such odd stories that, understandably but sadly, they can be very cynical. So I think if I were in your shoes I would certainly bring up my sisters illness and I would bring up the ensuing fiscal pressures that the illness caused. I actually probably would not bring up the divorce, as crappy as that sounds.

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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby BillsFan9907 » Wed Oct 08, 2014 9:17 am

Hi Mike, Karen

Could you perhaps recall some of the examples that stand out from your time in admissions of those with (to put it bluntly) "privileged" upbringings that did a great job of demonstrating diversity in a diversity statement?

For our purposes privileged = White, Middle Class, Two parent household, nondisabled, straight etc.. etc.. (you get the picture)

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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Oct 08, 2014 9:38 am

Seoulless wrote:Hi Mike, Karen

Could you perhaps recall some of the examples that stand out from your time in admissions of those with (to put it bluntly) "privileged" upbringings that did a great job of demonstrating diversity in a diversity statement?

For our purposes privileged = White, Middle Class, Two parent household, nondisabled, straight etc.. etc.. (you get the picture)


Hey Seoulless,

We wrote a blog on that, so this is a good starting point:

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/when-s ... statement/

To answer your specific question, it is much easier to think of times people wrote forced diversity statements that negatively influenced the application. Remember that admissions officers are reading along the lines of 40-100 applications a day at times, and they often sigh when they see extra pages. When those pages are, again, forced, they can get a very bad taste for the applicant.

That said, of course there are times when someone from your above scenario has real diversity that would bring a perspective to the entering class that others would not. You asked for example: LGBT orientation, significant adversity (for example, growing up with a parent(s) with a substance abuse program), a significant illness or injury one had to overcome, etc.

Here is a possible vetting mechanism. If you have a doubt, you probably don't want to submit it. In other words, if you are very passionate about your diverse background, it likely will show. If you are on the fence, my gut would tell me so would be the reader.

I hope this helps!

Mike

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:37 am

MikeSpivey wrote:
Seoulless wrote:Hi Mike, Karen

Could you perhaps recall some of the examples that stand out from your time in admissions of those with (to put it bluntly) "privileged" upbringings that did a great job of demonstrating diversity in a diversity statement?

For our purposes privileged = White, Middle Class, Two parent household, nondisabled, straight etc.. etc.. (you get the picture)


Hey Seoulless,

We wrote a blog on that, so this is a good starting point:

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/when-s ... statement/

To answer your specific question, it is much easier to think of times people wrote forced diversity statements that negatively influenced the application. Remember that admissions officers are reading along the lines of 40-100 applications a day at times, and they often sigh when they see extra pages. When those pages are, again, forced, they can get a very bad taste for the applicant.

That said, of course there are times when someone from your above scenario has real diversity that would bring a perspective to the entering class that others would not. You asked for example: LGBT orientation, significant adversity (for example, growing up with a parent(s) with a substance abuse program), a significant illness or injury one had to overcome, etc.

Here is a possible vetting mechanism. If you have a doubt, you probably don't want to submit it. In other words, if you are very passionate about your diverse background, it likely will show. If you are on the fence, my gut would tell me so would be the reader.

I hope this helps!

Mike


I echo Mike's thoughts above, and I will just add that a diversity statement is truly an optional statement. You will not be penalized for not having one.

Cheers,
KB

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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby BillsFan9907 » Wed Oct 08, 2014 3:39 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
Seoulless wrote:Hi Mike, Karen

Could you perhaps recall some of the examples that stand out from your time in admissions of those with (to put it bluntly) "privileged" upbringings that did a great job of demonstrating diversity in a diversity statement?

For our purposes privileged = White, Middle Class, Two parent household, nondisabled, straight etc.. etc.. (you get the picture)


Hey Seoulless,

We wrote a blog on that, so this is a good starting point:

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/when-s ... statement/

To answer your specific question, it is much easier to think of times people wrote forced diversity statements that negatively influenced the application. Remember that admissions officers are reading along the lines of 40-100 applications a day at times, and they often sigh when they see extra pages. When those pages are, again, forced, they can get a very bad taste for the applicant.

That said, of course there are times when someone from your above scenario has real diversity that would bring a perspective to the entering class that others would not. You asked for example: LGBT orientation, significant adversity (for example, growing up with a parent(s) with a substance abuse program), a significant illness or injury one had to overcome, etc.

Here is a possible vetting mechanism. If you have a doubt, you probably don't want to submit it. In other words, if you are very passionate about your diverse background, it likely will show. If you are on the fence, my gut would tell me so would be the reader.

I hope this helps!

Mike


I echo Mike's thoughts above, and I will just add that a diversity statement is truly an optional statement. You will not be penalized for not having one.

Cheers,
KB


Thanks guys; still having trouble seeing where the red line is. Let me put it this way: You're Chelsea Clinton or Paris Hilton. Where would you look for diversity?

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LSATneurotic
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officers

Postby LSATneurotic » Wed Oct 08, 2014 3:43 pm

Seoulless wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
Seoulless wrote:Hi Mike, Karen

Could you perhaps recall some of the examples that stand out from your time in admissions of those with (to put it bluntly) "privileged" upbringings that did a great job of demonstrating diversity in a diversity statement?

For our purposes privileged = White, Middle Class, Two parent household, nondisabled, straight etc.. etc.. (you get the picture)


Hey Seoulless,

We wrote a blog on that, so this is a good starting point:

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/when-s ... statement/

To answer your specific question, it is much easier to think of times people wrote forced diversity statements that negatively influenced the application. Remember that admissions officers are reading along the lines of 40-100 applications a day at times, and they often sigh when they see extra pages. When those pages are, again, forced, they can get a very bad taste for the applicant.

That said, of course there are times when someone from your above scenario has real diversity that would bring a perspective to the entering class that others would not. You asked for example: LGBT orientation, significant adversity (for example, growing up with a parent(s) with a substance abuse program), a significant illness or injury one had to overcome, etc.

Here is a possible vetting mechanism. If you have a doubt, you probably don't want to submit it. In other words, if you are very passionate about your diverse background, it likely will show. If you are on the fence, my gut would tell me so would be the reader.

I hope this helps!

Mike


I echo Mike's thoughts above, and I will just add that a diversity statement is truly an optional statement. You will not be penalized for not having one.

Cheers,
KB


Thanks guys; still having trouble seeing where the red line is. Let me put it this way: You're Chelsea Clinton or Paris Hilton. Where would you look for diversity?


Growing up in the white house should definitely qualify for a diversity statement.


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