MikeSpivey wrote:Winston1984 wrote:Hey Mike, just curious what you think about the dean of KU's thread. In particular, what do you think about that email exchange?
Oh man, Scruffy. Let me see how deep down that rabbit hole I want to go.
Okay. So to the thread in general, I'll say that I very much like it when admissions officers come on here to answer questions. There has been so utterly much bad admissions information on TLS (and other internet sites) over the years, indeed it is one of the reasons Karen and I decided to go in this direction of a thread, and more generally, a business. This bad information most often gets spoken in a confident manner, e.g. "You should entirely focus your PS on why you want to go to law school"(WRONG, the default is that if you are applying to law school you want to go) or passed down from someone seemingly in the know (eg: a prelaw advisor who happens to be a political science professor with no law admissions experience) and becomes almost gospel at times. Wrongly so, the mythologies of law admissions are vast. The best people to give good advice are admissions officers. So when an assistant dean of admissions starts a thread, the admissions advice, while not always universalizable, is going to be sound. So that is a good thing and I think the thread is positive in that sense.
He obviously believes in his school and that too is a good thing, IMO. In some respects, that is no different than an applicant believing in themselves. Certainly said applicant (and admissions dean) should have a somewhat realistic notion of outcomes, but I don't see that thread as pushing those particular boundaries too far. it is hard to hold anything against someone who honestly believes in their school.
I personally probably would not engage posters at all if I were going to be bossy with them or tell them to go away. I understand that he wants to have some control on his thread, of course, but that is just a strategy I wouldn't employ. As someone said to me when the thread first sprung up and a few salvos were fired back and forth "this isn't likely going to go in the direction he thinks it is"...and the more you poke the bear the less it will. I could go on and on about this but I will spare everyone.
So finally, that email. I've struggled with how much I want to say here. Since I was asked, I will just politely state that I don't think there were any winners in that exchange, that the root email was immature, and that the response was disproportionate and (in my personal opinion) should have just sat in a draft email box, if at all written. But on a larger level that has little to do with that email back and forth, I'll add a personal pet peeve of mine. I didn't exclusively do admissions, I was also a dean of career servicesin my career, and faculty/alumni/etc were always saying to me "Spivey you have to professionalize these kids. Tell them from day one their professional career has started. Lecture them on this that and all of these things on wearing collar stays in interviews." etc etc ad infinitum. I would nod my head and say something like "of course" (best way to engage faculty, fyi) and then my "you are a professional" talk would go just like this.
"(1) Find a mentor, someone you respect and want your career to most follow and just do what they do.
(2) Don't be an idiot"
That is it. My entire lecture on this topic that law school administrators spend thousands going to conferences to discuss. It is my considered opinion that 95% of students are smart and will figure it out pretty quickly. They don't need some mealy-mouthed administrator telling them what is and is not professional. They can just look to examples around them. I was far from buttoned up when I was 21, but I became so when I realized I had a professional career ahead of me. So too will almost everyone. The other 5%, you could lecture to them until you are blue in the face and they will never get it. So again. not much related to the KU thread but this whole "we are the mighty law school here to tell you what is and is not appropriate" runs rampant in that world, and that has never been a big thing to me. So to the posted email I think I would have just said "that was an individual matter and we will leave it at that" in the thread.
That is my take. Did I ruffle any feathers?