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

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vec93
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby vec93 » Wed Nov 05, 2014 3:03 am

This question has probably been asked before in this thread... but I couldn't seem to find the answer so here it is again!

How important are extracurricular activities for admissions purposes after you graduate from college? I was pretty involved during my undergrad days, but now that I'm graduated and working a full-time job, I really haven't found the time to pursue any of these activities. I was thinking of working 2-3 years before going back to school.

I'm looking at HYS/CCN right now with 3.95+ and mid-170 LSAT but don't want to shoot myself in the foot after all that hard work!

Thanks :)

Cradle6
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby Cradle6 » Wed Nov 05, 2014 11:07 am

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
mysojuli wrote:This is probably a silly question..

I saw someone earlier asking about writing a C&F because of a speeding ticket. Should I write a C&F statement because I got a parking ticket...it didn't go to court I just paid the fee I just didn't have a parking pass......


Thanks!


Parking tickets are generally excluded from C+F questions.
As a general rule, you should read the questions carefully for each school because some schools don't care about things like this or speeding tickets and you would answer "no." But some schools want to know so you will have to answer "yes" and submit an explanation. And the explanation really just needs the facts in these types of infractions - two sentences along the lines of, but slightly more eloquent than, "I got a ticket. I paid a fine."

Hope that helps!
Cheers,
KB



So if it's a speeding ticket or another minor infraction that still falls within their criteria, do we just need to say the facts? "On blank date, I was speeding and received a ticket. I completed it with driving school/deferred adjudication or whatever.

We dont need to say, "I've learned not to speed, etcetera"?

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:15 pm

Cradle6 wrote:
So if it's a speeding ticket or another minor infraction that still falls within their criteria, do we just need to say the facts? "On blank date, I was speeding and received a ticket. I completed it with driving school/deferred adjudication or whatever.

We dont need to say, "I've learned not to speed, etcetera"?


Have you really learned not to speed? :)
I don't think that it is necessary for this type of thing; to me it sounds disingenuous.
If it is a dozen speeding tickets or a DUI, that's a different story...

KB

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:21 pm

vec93 wrote:This question has probably been asked before in this thread... but I couldn't seem to find the answer so here it is again!

How important are extracurricular activities for admissions purposes after you graduate from college? I was pretty involved during my undergrad days, but now that I'm graduated and working a full-time job, I really haven't found the time to pursue any of these activities. I was thinking of working 2-3 years before going back to school.

I'm looking at HYS/CCN right now with 3.95+ and mid-170 LSAT but don't want to shoot myself in the foot after all that hard work!

Thanks :)


Not to worry. You are generally not expected to continue your extra-curricular activities beyond college at the same level. Most just end with college, and that's fine. It is typical and somewhat expected that you will focus on your work when you are working (of course this depends on the demands of your job too). If you can find time to do something extra, that's great, but it isn't really expected.
Good decision to work a few years - it will make you a better law student :)

Cheers,
KB

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haus
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby haus » Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:24 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
Cradle6 wrote:
So if it's a speeding ticket or another minor infraction that still falls within their criteria, do we just need to say the facts? "On blank date, I was speeding and received a ticket. I completed it with driving school/deferred adjudication or whatever.

We dont need to say, "I've learned not to speed, etcetera"?


Have you really learned not to speed? :)
I don't think that it is necessary for this type of thing; to me it sounds disingenuous.
If it is a dozen speeding tickets or a DUI, that's a different story...

KB

One could go with the option of explaining how they have simply smarter about how and when they speed so they are less likely to get caught.

Then again...

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ChemEng1642
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby ChemEng1642 » Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:29 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
Cradle6 wrote:
So if it's a speeding ticket or another minor infraction that still falls within their criteria, do we just need to say the facts? "On blank date, I was speeding and received a ticket. I completed it with driving school/deferred adjudication or whatever.

We dont need to say, "I've learned not to speed, etcetera"?


Have you really learned not to speed? :)
I don't think that it is necessary for this type of thing; to me it sounds disingenuous.
If it is a dozen speeding tickets or a DUI, that's a different story...

KB


Oh no! I said something vaguely along those lines - probably more like "I am now more careful about my speed" or something.
Although I did take a defensive driving class after the ticket so perhaps I did "learn not to speed" :)

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:33 pm

ChemEng1642 wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:
Cradle6 wrote:
So if it's a speeding ticket or another minor infraction that still falls within their criteria, do we just need to say the facts? "On blank date, I was speeding and received a ticket. I completed it with driving school/deferred adjudication or whatever.

We dont need to say, "I've learned not to speed, etcetera"?


Have you really learned not to speed? :)
I don't think that it is necessary for this type of thing; to me it sounds disingenuous.
If it is a dozen speeding tickets or a DUI, that's a different story...

KB


Oh no! I said something vaguely along those lines - probably more like "I am now more careful about my speed" or something.
Although I did take a defensive driving class after the ticket so perhaps I did "learn not to speed" :)


To be fair, paying a fine for going fast does teach us all a little lesson in being more careful :)
Don't fret about this; I'm sure it will be received well.
KB

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ChemEng1642
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby ChemEng1642 » Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:37 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
ChemEng1642 wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:
Cradle6 wrote:
So if it's a speeding ticket or another minor infraction that still falls within their criteria, do we just need to say the facts? "On blank date, I was speeding and received a ticket. I completed it with driving school/deferred adjudication or whatever.

We dont need to say, "I've learned not to speed, etcetera"?


Have you really learned not to speed? :)
I don't think that it is necessary for this type of thing; to me it sounds disingenuous.
If it is a dozen speeding tickets or a DUI, that's a different story...

KB


Oh no! I said something vaguely along those lines - probably more like "I am now more careful about my speed" or something.
Although I did take a defensive driving class after the ticket so perhaps I did "learn not to speed" :)


To be fair, paying a fine for going fast does teach us all a little lesson in being more careful :)
Don't fret about this; I'm sure it will be received well.
KB


Thanks! :) All this waiting is causing me to stress about the little things :P

thisone2014
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby thisone2014 » Thu Nov 06, 2014 6:43 pm

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Last edited by thisone2014 on Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Nov 06, 2014 11:42 pm

thisone2014 wrote:I have a question about being an extreme splitter. Here are some #s w/ respect to one of my top choice schools:

-I am .2 GPA points below the 25th percentile and .35 below the median for last year's class
-I am 5 LSAT points above the 75th percentile and 7 LSAT points above the median for last year's class
-I went to a certain grade-deflating Ivy league school undergrad and had a steep upward trend in my grades
-My low GPA wasn't due to any significant trauma/illness/etc, but rather to unique extracurricular commitments for which I have a number of resume-friendly achievements to show

In your experience as an admissions officer, would you even look seriously at someone with a GPA so far off the median? I'm leaning towards not writing an addendum about the GPA; it's self-evident from my personal statement and resume why I was otherwise occupied my first two years. Should I write one highlighting the stark upward trend and how closely it correlates with my ending my other commitments?

Most of all: how can I differentiate myself? Or should I just be focused on sending a polished app and hope that someone needs to bump their LSAT #s up?


Given all of this information, there is probably no better time in history for you to be applying.
In general, schools will take your application very seriously and they will see the upward trend when looking at your transcript/grade report. I don't think an addendum is necessary. Put together a polished app - they all need to bump up their LSAT numbers :)
Good luck and keep us posted!
Cheers,
KB

MennetoC
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby MennetoC » Thu Nov 06, 2014 11:55 pm

I know you guys are always studying the acceptances, I was wondering how reverse splitters have been faring thus far in the top 14. I am a 164/4.01 and am womdering what to expect. All my apps have been in since Oct 1, I got accepted at GW and interviewed at GULC.

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BananaSplit626
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby BananaSplit626 » Sat Nov 08, 2014 4:05 pm

Hi all, thank you so much for sharing your advice here.

I'm wondering if there is a hierarchy in terms of addenda value? I know this will vary with each specific applicant and the quality of the addenda, but is there a general consensus? For example, would a diversity statement help an applicant more than a Why X essay? Would a Why X essay add more to an application than an addendum for low GPA? Generally I'm wondering about DS, Why X, and GPA addendum, since a few applications only allow for 1 or 2.

Thanks!

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mysojuli
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby mysojuli » Sat Nov 08, 2014 9:28 pm

I see many people getting excited about Harvard JS1, I was wondering what exactly is JS1, and why are people so happy to get it? From my understanding, it's an interview, but it doesn't confirm that you're going to be accepted. I see many people on here who get a JS1 and still get denied or wait listed. I'm just curious of the significance, and if getting a JS1 means that your chances of admission is better?

jimmymac
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby jimmymac » Sat Nov 08, 2014 10:03 pm

mysojuli wrote:I see many people getting excited about Harvard JS1, I was wondering what exactly is JS1, and why are people so happy to get it? From my understanding, it's an interview, but it doesn't confirm that you're going to be accepted. I see many people on here who get a JS1 and still get denied or wait listed. I'm just curious of the significance, and if getting a JS1 means that your chances of admission is better?


I can answer this to the best of my knowledge. An interview is a requirement to being admitted to Harvard. Last year I believe Harvard had 1200 interviews, accepting around 850 of those. So the chances of admission are very high after an interview, in particular one in the fall.

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PeanutsNJam
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sun Nov 09, 2014 1:11 am

I was once driving with an expired temp plate. The cop who pulled me over nailed me on 3 different things: no plate, improperly mounted plate, expired stickers. I went to traffic court, prosecutor gave me a look of extreme pity, let me cut a deal and basically reduced my fine by 1/3. Does this need to go in C+F?

And yeah I have speeding/parking tickets, but who doesn't? Does this really need to be reported? I bet each adcomm person has been given more speeding tickets than I do (about 3 in my lifetime).

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Sun Nov 09, 2014 2:44 pm

Here is a blog on the requirements for Personal Statement Length and Optional Essays for the top 50 law schools.

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/applic ... nal-essay/

I'm at a wedding (of a former admissions director) so a bit pressed for time but will try to jump on a few of these questions today, tomorrow at the latest.

Happy Sunday!

-Mike

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Sun Nov 09, 2014 10:09 pm

BananaSplit626 wrote:Hi all, thank you so much for sharing your advice here.

I'm wondering if there is a hierarchy in terms of addenda value? I know this will vary with each specific applicant and the quality of the addenda, but is there a general consensus? For example, would a diversity statement help an applicant more than a Why X essay? Would a Why X essay add more to an application than an addendum for low GPA? Generally I'm wondering about DS, Why X, and GPA addendum, since a few applications only allow for 1 or 2.

Thanks!


This is really difficult to answer in a general way. A DS, if well written and on a relevant topic (not on a topic like you are left handed) would probably add the most value, but there are just too many variables for me to say it is the top of the hierarchy. And some schools care about the why essay more than others (usually if the school gives you an option to discuss why you are interested in that school, it is an indication that they appreciate those statements, and if they don't give you the option, it isn't worth sending at this stage). And if there is information about a low GPA that would be beneficial, that might be worthwhile as well.

Cheers,
KB

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Sun Nov 09, 2014 10:13 pm

PeanutsNJam wrote:I was once driving with an expired temp plate. The cop who pulled me over nailed me on 3 different things: no plate, improperly mounted plate, expired stickers. I went to traffic court, prosecutor gave me a look of extreme pity, let me cut a deal and basically reduced my fine by 1/3. Does this need to go in C+F?

And yeah I have speeding/parking tickets, but who doesn't? Does this really need to be reported? I bet each adcomm person has been given more speeding tickets than I do (about 3 in my lifetime).


This will depend entirely on the C+F question asked. Some schools want to see this and some don't. You should always answer the question honestly and fully. The fact that you are a leadfoot will not matter at all in the decision, but answering "no" on a C+F when it should be "yes" can cause trouble down the road.

Cheers,
KB

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PeanutsNJam
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby PeanutsNJam » Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:09 am

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Last edited by PeanutsNJam on Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Mon Nov 10, 2014 10:24 am

PeanutsNJam wrote:Thanks KB. Another one:

For splitters, are softs critically more important? Or do adcomms roll a dice? I'm 2.4/172 so I think my PS/WE/addendums will be much more integral to whether I get accepted or not, right?


The factors that led to the 2.4 GPA will be of interest to the adcomm as well as what other factors you bring to the school classroom and community.
I would say that those factors are important in all applications, but probably more so in a situation like yours. Make sure you put your best foot forward!

Cheers,
KB

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Nov 10, 2014 1:09 pm

MennetoC wrote:I know you guys are always studying the acceptances, I was wondering how reverse splitters have been faring thus far in the top 14. I am a 164/4.01 and am womdering what to expect. All my apps have been in since Oct 1, I got accepted at GW and interviewed at GULC.


We study this with obsession, for certain. generally, and so far it looks to be following a similar pattern, schools at the top shore up LSAT first, as it is a more scare commodity than GPA. But, I think this cycle you will see more admits that are reverse splitters than those put on the WL. So you may have to wait slightly longer than a 175, 3.4/3.5 pplicant, but I think the result will be the same for most schools. You should see some t14 admits in Nov/Dec if your application also is buttoned up.

Mike

Lions1913
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby Lions1913 » Mon Nov 10, 2014 1:25 pm

...
Last edited by Lions1913 on Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Nov 10, 2014 1:45 pm

Lions1913 wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
MennetoC wrote:I know you guys are always studying the acceptances, I was wondering how reverse splitters have been faring thus far in the top 14. I am a 164/4.01 and am womdering what to expect. All my apps have been in since Oct 1, I got accepted at GW and interviewed at GULC.


We study this with obsession, for certain. generally, and so far it looks to be following a similar pattern, schools at the top shore up LSAT first, as it is a more scare commodity than GPA. But, I think this cycle you will see more admits that are reverse splitters than those put on the WL. So you may have to wait slightly longer than a 175, 3.4/3.5 pplicant, but I think the result will be the same for most schools. You should see some t14 admits in Nov/Dec if your application also is buttoned up.

Mike



Are reverse splitters at a disadvantage when they enter law school against their peers with higher LSATs and lower GPAs? Said another way, if I am a reverse splitter, I am more likely to end up in the middle part of the class at a T14, meaning that it might not be worth it for me to attend there? I know LSAT and GPA have roughly the same predictive value, but this is my big worry should I accept a t14 offer.

Edited for a bit more clarity


Check out the second to most recent blog post we have. The answer from this study would be "no" with a lot of data behind it. Anecdotally, my experience has also been that reverse splitters tend to do just as well as splitters.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Nov 10, 2014 1:51 pm

A brief (good news) note on timing of application submission.

We are starting to get a large number of emails, PMS, etc. from applicants for this cycle who are worried that they are approaching "late" submission on applications.

The reality couldn't be further from that. There won't be a single law school who feels like they have made all of their first wave admits before mid/late January and they will always be looking for more strong applications. Indeed, we have data from two cycles that applicants who applied in Feb, March got bumps at many schools. I'm not going to predict that for this cycle but please know that if you are working on your application/studying for dec LSAT, etc you are not close to late. Get it all wrapped up by January and you should feel very comfortable with timing. There will be threads about people having been admitted already but that had zero bearing on your application you are totally fine.

Please feel free to share this wherever.

Mike

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Mon Nov 10, 2014 2:04 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:A brief (good news) note on timing of application submission.

We are starting to get a large number of emails, PMS, etc. from applicants for this cycle who are worried that they are approaching "late" submission on applications.

The reality couldn't be further from that. There won't be a single law school who feels like they have made all of their first wave admits before mid/late January and they will always be looking for more strong applications. Indeed, we have data from two cycles that applicants who applied in Feb, March got bumps at many schools. I'm not going to predict that for this cycle but please know that if you are working on your application/studying for dec LSAT, etc you are not close to late. Get it all wrapped up by January and you should feel very comfortable with timing. There will be threads about people having been admitted already but that had zero bearing on your application you are totally fine.

Please feel free to share this wherever.

Mike

I just wanted to second this! Just because you are not super early with your app does not make you late!


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