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 Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Dec 25, 2014 11:45 am

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?

Thanks Mike!


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?

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Winston1984
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby Winston1984 » Thu Dec 25, 2014 12:00 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
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?

Thanks Mike!


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?

Thank you for answering my question. Merry Christmas to both you and Karen!

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

Postby appind » Thu Dec 25, 2014 6:25 pm

Hi, what are your thoughts on submitting a third rec letter of a different type than the first two with the application to schools like harvard that require two but take up to four letters?

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Dec 25, 2014 10:01 pm

cavalier2015 wrote:I am waiting for my december retake score and am wondering should I apply now or wait till I get the scores and apply the next day? I know conventional wisdom is before Christmas is on time but I kind of don't want to waste money applying if I find out later my retake sucked. So would it really be that bad if I apply on jan 3? I also figure that most admission places would be closed so what diffeence would it make? Am I mistaken in my thinking?

I have my ps, recs, optional essays and addendums all done and on lsac. I'm just waiting on hitting the apply button. Any suggestions?


A few days is really not going to make a difference at all. Many admissions offices are closed between now and Jan 2, but even if they are open, it really won't make a difference to apply this week or the first week in January.

Cheers,
KB

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Dec 25, 2014 10:08 pm

appind wrote:Hi, what are your thoughts on submitting a third rec letter of a different type than the first two with the application to schools like harvard that require two but take up to four letters?


More than three letters is not usually necessary, but you could submit two academic letters and then one from a non-academic source (like from a supervisor at work).
Cheers,
KB

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

Postby WhiskeyAndCupcakes » Thu Dec 25, 2014 10:21 pm

.
Last edited by WhiskeyAndCupcakes on Fri May 29, 2015 11:56 am, 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 » Fri Dec 26, 2014 10:12 am

WhiskeyAndCupcakes wrote:Mike,

I know you mentioned telling someone their PS needs to answer "why law school" can be poor advice. What else would you say is the poorest advice that circulates on the Internet/ forums?

Thank you!

ETA: KB, would love to hear from you, too!


A common one from pre law advisors we heard for years was "you can't negotiate scholarship increases" which was really harmful advice. Heck, even for schools that say "we categorically don't negotiate" we have seen them do so.

A pervasive phone call I get is "I just spoke to x law school at this forum and they told me they look at every LSAT score so I am really averse to retaking." I think that mythology is finally starting to subside and I could write an entire paper on why it existed so strongly.

But the list goes on and on. Even USNWR, the people who control so much of how law schools operate on so many levels, had a law admissions advice column where just about every one of the articles from their "expert" was dead wrong. You would want to do the opposite of what their expert said in most cases. I think somewhere in this thread we linked one of those articles. If you can find it you'd probably cringe at the advice.

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

Postby pamphleteer » Fri Dec 26, 2014 3:29 pm

Mike (or anyone else reading this who would know),

When reapplying to a school is it necessary to submit different letters of recommendation than you sent with the previous application? Also do recommenders need to resubmit their letters each cycle or does LSAC keep those on file for an extended period?

Thanks for doing this!

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

Postby WhiskeyAndCupcakes » Fri Dec 26, 2014 3:54 pm

.
Last edited by WhiskeyAndCupcakes on Fri May 29, 2015 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby Rigo » Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:14 pm

pamphleteer wrote:Mike (or anyone else reading this who would know),

When reapplying to a school is it necessary to submit different letters of recommendation than you sent with the previous application? Also do recommenders need to resubmit their letters each cycle or does LSAC keep those on file for an extended period?

Thanks for doing this!

LSAC keeps your letters on file.
Some schools require new letters though if you've applied to them in the past.

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

Postby pamphleteer » Fri Dec 26, 2014 5:09 pm

Dirigo wrote:
pamphleteer wrote:Mike (or anyone else reading this who would know),

When reapplying to a school is it necessary to submit different letters of recommendation than you sent with the previous application? Also do recommenders need to resubmit their letters each cycle or does LSAC keep those on file for an extended period?

Thanks for doing this!

LSAC keeps your letters on file.
Some schools require new letters though if you've applied to them in the past.


Thanks! Is there an easy way to find out which ones?

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

Postby Rigo » Fri Dec 26, 2014 5:33 pm

pamphleteer wrote:
Dirigo wrote:
pamphleteer wrote:Mike (or anyone else reading this who would know),
When reapplying to a school is it necessary to submit different letters of recommendation than you sent with the previous application? Also do recommenders need to resubmit their letters each cycle or does LSAC keep those on file for an extended period?
Thanks for doing this!

LSAC keeps your letters on file.
Some schools require new letters though if you've applied to them in the past.

Thanks! Is there an easy way to find out which ones?

Not that I know of. Your best bet would be to email the schools and ask.
I know Harvard wants new letters.

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Fri Dec 26, 2014 9:38 pm

Dirigo wrote:
pamphleteer wrote:
Dirigo wrote:
pamphleteer wrote:Mike (or anyone else reading this who would know),
When reapplying to a school is it necessary to submit different letters of recommendation than you sent with the previous application? Also do recommenders need to resubmit their letters each cycle or does LSAC keep those on file for an extended period?
Thanks for doing this!

LSAC keeps your letters on file.
Some schools require new letters though if you've applied to them in the past.

Thanks! Is there an easy way to find out which ones?

Not that I know of. Your best bet would be to email the schools and ask.
I know Harvard wants new letters.


Stanford requires new letters. HLS does not require (nor categorically want) new letters unless you applied more than three years ago (they keep applications for three years).
I don't know an easy way of finding out all in one place, but each school does list the reapplication requirements in their instructions.

Cheers,
KB

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat Dec 27, 2014 2:11 pm

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?

Thanks Mike!



I also think it is good that he killed his own thread. The tenor of his last message is indicative of why the thread never worked. To the notion that someone said about "TLS ran him off" I would categorically disagree. Paul Pless was not T14 and was such a darling of this message board than when the scandal broke people were saying "he would never do that to us!" Perez has been here for a long while and has the respect of the community.

When you are a public figure you are, by nature of these boards, opening yourself up to a good deal of pot shots (and some fair shots). I would say that above all it takes some self-security to just ignore them or laugh at them. Again though, I applaud that someone with real admissions acumen came on here and I hope he does it again with different results.

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

Postby fats provolone » Sat Dec 27, 2014 2:45 pm

I'll defend you when the spivey scandal breaks

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat Dec 27, 2014 2:49 pm

fats provolone wrote:I'll defend you when the spivey scandal breaks


That is good, because I will be in Las Vegas over New years.

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jw316
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby jw316 » Sat Dec 27, 2014 2:51 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
fats provolone wrote:I'll defend you when the spivey scandal breaks


That is good, because I will be in Las Vegas over New years.


:shock:

I can already see the headlines.

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat Dec 27, 2014 2:56 pm

jw316 wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
fats provolone wrote:I'll defend you when the spivey scandal breaks


That is good, because I will be in Las Vegas over New years.


:shock:

I can already see the headlines.


Man arrested for screaming "THEY ONLY CARE ABOUT YOUR HIGH LSAT JUST RETAKE THE TEST AND STOP CALLING ME" continuously interrupting others trying to party and gamble their life savings away.

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

Postby fats provolone » Sat Dec 27, 2014 4:30 pm

did you read the email birdnals posted? did you ever receive an email from an adcom at another school "warning" you about an applicant?

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat Dec 27, 2014 4:36 pm

I had an applicant with a prior record of steroid use threaten to me on the phone that they were going to "get on a plane to come kick my ass" right after getting their denial letter.

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

Postby fats provolone » Sat Dec 27, 2014 4:37 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:I had an applicant with a prior record of steroid use threaten to me on the phone that they were going to "get on a plane to come kick my ass" right after getting their denial letter.

wait how did you find out about the steroid use? did they write an addendum?

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat Dec 27, 2014 4:39 pm

It had to do with being kicked off of a team.

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

Postby haus » Sat Dec 27, 2014 4:49 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
jw316 wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
fats provolone wrote:I'll defend you when the spivey scandal breaks


That is good, because I will be in Las Vegas over New years.


:shock:

I can already see the headlines.


Man arrested for screaming "THEY ONLY CARE ABOUT YOUR HIGH LSAT JUST RETAKE THE TEST AND STOP CALLING ME" continuously interrupting others trying to party and gamble their life savings away.

Somehow I envision this like the most successful previous attempt at robbing a casino as demonstrated in the movie Ocean's 11.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-EGKuotUMw

[although you would need the Don Johnson/Miami Vice suit and the be smoking the cigarette to fully sell it...]

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

Postby whitespider » Sat Dec 27, 2014 6:25 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:Paul Pless was not T14 and was such a darling of this message board than when the scandal broke people were saying "he would never do that to us!"


Just found that thread and read through it, it's amazing...

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=165520

It's like watching the five stages of grief unfold right in front of you.

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Winston1984
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby Winston1984 » Sat Dec 27, 2014 9:31 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:I had an applicant with a prior record of steroid use threaten to me on the phone that they were going to "get on a plane to come kick my ass" right after getting their denial letter.

Is this an effective way to get off waitlists?


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