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

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rnelson09
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby rnelson09 » Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:30 am

Would it be heavily frowned upon if I took a lot of easy classes in undergrad? (Think entry language courses and also some P/F courses) Final LSDAS GPA is ~4.0 in Poli Sci at a well-regarded school. I just took 'em to boost my GPA and fill up the empty slots I had in my schedule. I'm aiming for Harvard, not so much Y/S. Otherwise run-of-the-mill softs and recs, LSAT 173.

Should I lower my expectations for the coming cycle, or do I have a chance as good as anybody else's with my numbers?

Thanks so much for your help! Your presence on this board has been extremely helpful.

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usn26
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby usn26 » Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:56 am

Hi Mike and Karen, thanks for all the advice in the thread, however much second guessing it makes me do.

I'm wondering, in retrospect, how I should have handled addenda. I have about 10-15 items on my application that merit an addendum, and about half of those really require one. I didn't know how to approach that many different issues, so I chose to write a diversity statement that covered the root cause of all of the issues and let the readers infer from there. Is that a valid approach, or should I have been more explicit?

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:29 am

usn26 wrote:Hi Mike and Karen, thanks for all the advice in the thread, however much second guessing it makes me do.

I'm wondering, in retrospect, how I should have handled addenda. I have about 10-15 items on my application that merit an addendum, and about half of those really require one. I didn't know how to approach that many different issues, so I chose to write a diversity statement that covered the root cause of all of the issues and let the readers infer from there. Is that a valid approach, or should I have been more explicit?


Well, to be fair, we don't know the situation. With that said, I have never seen someone with 15 items that warranted they all be explained in addenda. That strikes me as a potential problem. Keep in mind Karen and I spend as much time talking people out of writing addenda as we do discussing how to write them. The admissions decision-makers read tens of thousands of pages of applications every year -- and things that shouldn't be discussed in an application tend to start ticking some people off. Obviously there are de-elevating factors that often need to be addressed, and certainly there are elevating factors that can be illuminated, but again, 10-15 would be a first for me as far as something that is necessary.

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:36 am

DiniMae wrote:Hi Karen and Mike,
What are your thoughts on thank you emails for interviews, acceptances, scholarship offers, and anything else? Are they expected, beneficial, or detrimental? I know in the "normal" world, I always follow up with a thank you. I don't know if admissions are different. Thanks.


There is no harm in sending a thank you note; it is good practice in any situation :)
It may or may not help, but it sets a good tone for future correspondence.
Cheers,
KB

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:37 am

Blythe17 wrote:First, thank you for all your insight here. It's been tremendously helpful!

I'm wondering whether it is imprudent to reveal to the adcomm (via app or interview) that you are concurrently applying to other, non-law programs (e.g. TeachforAmerica, Peace Corps, etc.) with the possibility of deferring law school if accepted. I was thinking it may help support one's claims about being interested in public service, but will it hurt more than help by making them think I'll just reapply later anyway, or that I'm not sure about law school yet, etc? Is it better to stay silent on it?

Thanks!


I hate to answer a question this way, but the reality is that it depends on the school and situation.
If it is a school that values work experience and you don't have any, then it might be a good idea.
If it is a school that wants you to enroll this year, then maybe not. It also depends on the school's deferral policy.

Hope that is somewhat helpful!
Cheers,
KB

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:48 am

rnelson09 wrote:Would it be heavily frowned upon if I took a lot of easy classes in undergrad? (Think entry language courses and also some P/F courses) Final LSDAS GPA is ~4.0 in Poli Sci at a well-regarded school. I just took 'em to boost my GPA and fill up the empty slots I had in my schedule. I'm aiming for Harvard, not so much Y/S. Otherwise run-of-the-mill softs and recs, LSAT 173.

Should I lower my expectations for the coming cycle, or do I have a chance as good as anybody else's with my numbers?

Thanks so much for your help! Your presence on this board has been extremely helpful.


Your transcript will be looked at as a whole, so it depends on your other classes and how well you did in those classes relative to the "easy" ones. It also will depend on how many is "a lot"
In the grand scheme of things, it will be looked at in combination with your other application elements, so the LSAT is also an indication of your ability as well as perhaps your academic letters of rec. So if you had a great GPA with a mediocre LSAT this might be more of an issue because a 173 would support the applicant's potential for academic success.

Hope that helps!
KB

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

Postby FloridaCoastalorbust » Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:42 am

Hi Mike/Karen,

Does attending an alumni/admitted students reception have an impact on the awarding of named scholarships? I've applied to NYU's public policy scholarship (already admitted at NYU) and have been invited to attend a luncheon. Perhaps face time with the dean could make an impression, however slight?

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:15 pm

FloridaCoastalorbust wrote:Hi Mike/Karen,

Does attending an alumni/admitted students reception have an impact on the awarding of named scholarships? I've applied to NYU's public policy scholarship (already admitted at NYU) and have been invited to attend a luncheon. Perhaps face time with the dean could make an impression, however slight?


Making a good impression is always helpful. They want to feel good about their choice of recipient, so this can be a good thing. If you can make it, it certainly won't hurt your chances (unless you spill your food on the dean).

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:50 pm

FloridaCoastalorbust wrote:Hi Mike/Karen,

Does attending an alumni/admitted students reception have an impact on the awarding of named scholarships? I've applied to NYU's public policy scholarship (already admitted at NYU) and have been invited to attend a luncheon. Perhaps face time with the dean could make an impression, however slight?


Yep, there is no downside that I see, but there certainly is potential upside.

Also, (and this is a bit of an self-aggrandizing awkward segue) things you do now can sometimes help your 1L job search. Who knows what alumni you might meet. http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/how-yo ... -a-1l-job/

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

Postby PeanutsNJam » Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:53 pm

How much time should you wait after an acceptance for scholarship information before assuming that you're not getting any money? When would it be okay, if it is ever okay, to send an email asking whether one is still being considered for merit-based aid?

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

Postby MattM » Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:16 pm

Hello,

i am seeking advice for Fall 2016 admissions

Where ( if anywhere ) should I apply before getting my retake score back if it is very likely I will have two dramatically different LSAT scores.

I took the June 2014 exam got a 154 and looking at an October 2015 retake. I prepped well for the exam in terms of time, but did not reach a great understanding of the material until one month after and I got a 168 on a PT.

My current prep tests have been in the 168-172 range

Considering the wide gap between my first real score ( 154) and practice exams what should my strategy be?....i feel if I applied before the second score came back , I would be throwing darts at the wall since there is such a disparity of law school options i have with the 154 and my second exam

I feel my apps before getting a second score would be based on purely a hypothetical second exam result

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:27 pm

MattM wrote:Hello,

i am seeking advice for Fall 2016 admissions

Where ( if anywhere ) should I apply before getting my retake score back if it is very likely I will have two dramatically different LSAT scores.

I took the June 2014 exam got a 154 and looking at an October 2015 retake. I prepped well for the exam in terms of time, but did not reach a great understanding of the material until one month after and I got a 168 on a PT.

My current prep tests have been in the 168-172 range

Considering the wide gap between my first real score ( 154) and practice exams what should my strategy be?....i feel if I applied before the second score came back , I would be throwing darts at the wall since there is such a disparity of law school options i have with the 154 and my second exam

I feel my apps before getting a second score would be based on purely a hypothetical second exam result


I'd advise you to wait for the results of the Oct test. You will still be early in the process!

Cheers,
KB

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

Postby Winston1984 » Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:56 pm

Hey Mike and Karen,

It looks like NU's admission strategy is very different this year than in years past. A lot of folks that would've been auto admits in previous cycles were held. Any idea why this is? What could the benefit of doing this be? It looks like a lot of applicants are becoming turned off to NU.

Thanks for your input!

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Feb 11, 2015 10:57 am

Winston1984 wrote:Hey Mike and Karen,

It looks like NU's admission strategy is very different this year than in years past. A lot of folks that would've been auto admits in previous cycles were held. Any idea why this is? What could the benefit of doing this be? It looks like a lot of applicants are becoming turned off to NU.

Thanks for your input!


Well, that it is happening in large numbers certainly suggests it is a strategic change, not idiosyncratic to each application. So they are probably looking at yield more carefully this year, not unlike more and more schools each cycle. To YP or not to YP is a very interesting question but probably more of a blog article than anything to go in depth on here about.

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

Postby DCfilterDC » Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:22 am

Mike and Karen,

Sorry if this has been asked, but I couldn't find it in the thread or a blog on it. But just out of curiosity and fun could you elaborate a bit on how files get read, and length of time this usually occurs?

I worked in an admissions office of an "elite" undergraduate, and a file would get assigned based on geographic location, the first reader would read it and score the application between 1-6 (with notes made for the final read), then there would be a second reader who would score it as well, by March these are mostly all read and have scores, and then small "committees" meet in groups of 3 or so and basically 5 and 6s are auto-admits, 1 and 2s are auto-rejects and the 3s and 4s are discussed within the small committee in a rapid fashion, "AA male, SAT is X, what's the mean SAT for AAs?, Oh, okay, I say yes." And then basically you have the admissions decision. It's nothing like what's shown in movies or TV of people around a table discussing an applicants file in depth with different parties fighting over admit or deny.

I know every office is totally different, but I was curious to know how it actually flows on the law school side?

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:26 am

DCfilterDC wrote:Mike and Karen,

Sorry if this has been asked, but I couldn't find it in the thread or a blog on it. But just out of curiosity and fun could you elaborate a bit on how files get read, and length of time this usually occurs?

I worked in an admissions office of an "elite" undergraduate, and a file would get assigned based on geographic location, the first reader would read it and score the application between 1-6 (with notes made for the final read), then there would be a second reader who would score it as well, by March these are mostly all read and have scores, and then small "committees" meet in groups of 3 or so and basically 5 and 6s are auto-admits, 1 and 2s are auto-rejects and the 3s and 4s are discussed within the small committee in a rapid fashion, "AA male, SAT is X, what's the mean SAT for AAs?, Oh, okay, I say yes." And then basically you have the admissions decision. It's nothing like what's shown in movies or TV of people around a table discussing an applicants file in depth with different parties fighting over admit or deny.

I know every office is totally different, but I was curious to know how it actually flows on the law school side?


Yep, it is totally different. I believe we have written several blogs on this, including around the first 2 I ever wrote. When I get back to the Spivey Consulting Corporate Headquarters I'll try to find and link them.

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

Postby DCfilterDC » Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:31 am

MikeSpivey wrote:
DCfilterDC wrote:Mike and Karen,

Sorry if this has been asked, but I couldn't find it in the thread or a blog on it. But just out of curiosity and fun could you elaborate a bit on how files get read, and length of time this usually occurs?

I worked in an admissions office of an "elite" undergraduate, and a file would get assigned based on geographic location, the first reader would read it and score the application between 1-6 (with notes made for the final read), then there would be a second reader who would score it as well, by March these are mostly all read and have scores, and then small "committees" meet in groups of 3 or so and basically 5 and 6s are auto-admits, 1 and 2s are auto-rejects and the 3s and 4s are discussed within the small committee in a rapid fashion, "AA male, SAT is X, what's the mean SAT for AAs?, Oh, okay, I say yes." And then basically you have the admissions decision. It's nothing like what's shown in movies or TV of people around a table discussing an applicants file in depth with different parties fighting over admit or deny.

I know every office is totally different, but I was curious to know how it actually flows on the law school side?


Yep, it is totally different. I believe we have written several blogs on this, including around the first 2 I ever wrote. When I get back to the Spivey Consulting Corporate Headquarters I'll try to find and link them.


Whoops! Found this one, thanks!

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/almost ... -are-read/


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

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:59 pm

4LTsPointingNorth wrote:Parts 1 and 2:

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/what-h ... ns-office/

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/my-app ... your-file/

...is there a part 3? I can't find it.


I don't think I finished it, a casualty of starting a new business and finding out you have to do x, y, z and a hundred other things stat (don't underestimate this if you go solo!).

Do the three links above help?

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4LTsPointingNorth
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby 4LTsPointingNorth » Wed Feb 11, 2015 1:11 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
I don't think I finished it, a casualty of starting a new business and finding out you have to do x, y, z and a hundred other things stat (don't underestimate this if you go solo!).


Part 3 would have been the most interesting part!!!

...can you finish it now? :)

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:50 pm

4LTsPointingNorth wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
I don't think I finished it, a casualty of starting a new business and finding out you have to do x, y, z and a hundred other things stat (don't underestimate this if you go solo!).


Part 3 would have been the most interesting part!!!

...can you finish it now? :)


(Maybe Karen will)

(but if not I can try soon...!)

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

Postby PeanutsNJam » Thu Feb 12, 2015 12:22 am

Not sure how informed you are about Northwestern in particular, but I didn't manage to set up a skype interview before the deadline, and send in an "interview addendum" (which was suggested after I emailed asking for an interview spot and they said they weren't opening any more). As a heavy splitter, they're my best shot at a T14. What else can I do to maximize my odds? How boned am I for not having interviewed?

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Feb 12, 2015 10:38 am

PeanutsNJam wrote:Not sure how informed you are about Northwestern in particular, but I didn't manage to set up a skype interview before the deadline, and send in an "interview addendum" (which was suggested after I emailed asking for an interview spot and they said they weren't opening any more). As a heavy splitter, they're my best shot at a T14. What else can I do to maximize my odds? How boned am I for not having interviewed?


PeanutJam,

NU is a school we know well and think wonderfully of their Admissions Dean, Johann Lee. You should follow him on Twitter, from time to time he divulges a bit of inside info. We also did a joint Q&A with him that is likely preserved somewhere out there. I'd say I'd try to find it but you guys are much quicker than I am at finding my stuff, lol. Historically they have been a splitter friendly school, l as you allude to.

As far as giving individual advice to an individual school in a public platform, we can't really do that, it really wouldn't be fair to our clients. I hope you understand!

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

Postby TheProdigal » Thu Feb 12, 2015 11:14 am

MikeSpivey wrote:
PeanutsNJam wrote:Not sure how informed you are about Northwestern in particular, but I didn't manage to set up a skype interview before the deadline, and send in an "interview addendum" (which was suggested after I emailed asking for an interview spot and they said they weren't opening any more). As a heavy splitter, they're my best shot at a T14. What else can I do to maximize my odds? How boned am I for not having interviewed?


PeanutJam,

NU is a school we know well and think wonderfully of their Admissions Dean, Johann Lee. You should follow him on Twitter, from time to time he divulges a bit of inside info. We also did a joint Q&A with him that is likely preserved somewhere out there. I'd say I'd try to find it but you guys are much quicker than I am at finding my stuff, lol. Historically they have been a splitter friendly school, l as you allude to.

As far as giving individual advice to an individual school in a public platform, we can't really do that, it really wouldn't be fair to our clients. I hope you understand!


Any chance you might be willing to recommend others to follow on Twitter as well?

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Feb 12, 2015 2:44 pm

WE'RE DOING THE USNWR PREDICTION GAME AGAIN!! it's official, spread the word! Big Prizes, No Whammies!


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