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

Special forum where professionals are encouraged to help law school applicants, students, and graduates.

Which would you prefer most?

Poll ended at Sat Apr 23, 2016 11:05 am

1. Blog advice
0
No votes
2. Podcast advice
0
No votes
3. Video advice
0
No votes
4. Just keep it all on TLS
0
No votes
5. Tweet it
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 0

User avatar
candidlatke
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue May 05, 2015 3:52 am

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

Postby candidlatke » Wed May 06, 2015 4:06 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
candidlatke wrote:How important is GPA when it's below 3.0?

I.E. Is there a big difference between 2.7 and 2.9 and etc., some people have said that if it's below the 25 percentile line, it'll be thrown into the same pile of "awful GPA."

Furthermore, would it be worth it to withdraw classes (they still show up as a W, but I don't think the UC's are punitive) to boost overall GPA?
Even at the cost of a second major (it's a softer major if anything)

I'm trying to decide plans for this summer and my current plans are to do a summer project/app/start-up with friends to add to my "diversity".
However, if I commit to summer school, I could raise my GPA slightly.

Which would you advise is the smarter decision?

If it makes any difference, I'm planning for applying for the T-14's as a pretty big splitter.


I think that the difference between a 2.7 and a 2.9 is not the same as a .20 difference if we are above the 25th percentile. But that doesn't mean that it's not a difference. In some cases, it will depend on what the transcript looks like. Was there one bad semester? a rough start?
Showing a strong finish could be a good sign or if you could raise it above the 3.0 mark, that would be ideal (there is a bit of a psychological effect on the 3.0 mark). A few W's on your transcript are not generally a problem, but it there is an excessive amount or a pattern of this, it may not look great. The double major doesn't really add much with this GPA, imo.
My advice would be to try to show a strong finish to your education. Would the summer school push graduation to the end of the summer or are you just finishing your junior year now?

Cheers,
KB


Hi Karen, thank you for taking the time to respond.

You see-I worked nearly full time for a significant portion of my undergrad time and had family financial concerns so I'm debating whether or not it's worth writing an addendum about that.
I worked on average 20 hours and had to commute 10 hours every week.

With that being said, the lower GPA trend isn't confined to a single bad semester per se, more so throughout my undergrad career, giving me pause and worry.

I was thinking about retroactively withdrawing a quarter I have taken before that does not impact my main major, in order to bring my GPA up a few decimal points.
In doing so though, they would still show up as W's on the transcript and I would not be able to graduate with my second major.

I'm currently in the works to making a strong finish-I'm no longer working, I'm no longer commuting 10+ hours a week, and my grades are reflecting that.

However, because I'm graduating next year and applying for law school in this fall, this would only be reflected in summer (if I decide to take summer classes) and the quarter I am currently in.

That's why I'm stressing out and wondering if 1. It's prudent to withdraw my weakest quarter that has bearing only to my secondary major, 2. If I have enough reason to write for hardship, 3. What my plans should be this summer, summer school & research for a professor or a personal project to add diversity to my application., and 4. How screwed am I come application time for T-14.

Paying sticker doesn't concern me that much, I already have a mountain-load of undergrad debt and have decided that I want to pursue corporate law as both a means of paying off school debt as well as a stepping stone for my later aspirations.
However, the bigger problem right now is getting in.

I've had a rough patch in the last couple of years with familial problems, depression, and a breakup. The only thing really keeping me together and moving forward right now is the goal, the dream of T-14 and big-law and thus I really don't want to lose sight of it.

User avatar
KarenButtenbaum
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:39 am

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed May 06, 2015 8:34 pm

candidlatke wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:
candidlatke wrote:How important is GPA when it's below 3.0?

I.E. Is there a big difference between 2.7 and 2.9 and etc., some people have said that if it's below the 25 percentile line, it'll be thrown into the same pile of "awful GPA."

Furthermore, would it be worth it to withdraw classes (they still show up as a W, but I don't think the UC's are punitive) to boost overall GPA?
Even at the cost of a second major (it's a softer major if anything)

I'm trying to decide plans for this summer and my current plans are to do a summer project/app/start-up with friends to add to my "diversity".
However, if I commit to summer school, I could raise my GPA slightly.

Which would you advise is the smarter decision?

If it makes any difference, I'm planning for applying for the T-14's as a pretty big splitter.


I think that the difference between a 2.7 and a 2.9 is not the same as a .20 difference if we are above the 25th percentile. But that doesn't mean that it's not a difference. In some cases, it will depend on what the transcript looks like. Was there one bad semester? a rough start?
Showing a strong finish could be a good sign or if you could raise it above the 3.0 mark, that would be ideal (there is a bit of a psychological effect on the 3.0 mark). A few W's on your transcript are not generally a problem, but it there is an excessive amount or a pattern of this, it may not look great. The double major doesn't really add much with this GPA, imo.
My advice would be to try to show a strong finish to your education. Would the summer school push graduation to the end of the summer or are you just finishing your junior year now?

Cheers,
KB


Hi Karen, thank you for taking the time to respond.

You see-I worked nearly full time for a significant portion of my undergrad time and had family financial concerns so I'm debating whether or not it's worth writing an addendum about that.
I worked on average 20 hours and had to commute 10 hours every week.

With that being said, the lower GPA trend isn't confined to a single bad semester per se, more so throughout my undergrad career, giving me pause and worry.

I was thinking about retroactively withdrawing a quarter I have taken before that does not impact my main major, in order to bring my GPA up a few decimal points.
In doing so though, they would still show up as W's on the transcript and I would not be able to graduate with my second major.

I'm currently in the works to making a strong finish-I'm no longer working, I'm no longer commuting 10+ hours a week, and my grades are reflecting that.

However, because I'm graduating next year and applying for law school in this fall, this would only be reflected in summer (if I decide to take summer classes) and the quarter I am currently in.

That's why I'm stressing out and wondering if 1. It's prudent to withdraw my weakest quarter that has bearing only to my secondary major, 2. If I have enough reason to write for hardship, 3. What my plans should be this summer, summer school & research for a professor or a personal project to add diversity to my application., and 4. How screwed am I come application time for T-14.

Paying sticker doesn't concern me that much, I already have a mountain-load of undergrad debt and have decided that I want to pursue corporate law as both a means of paying off school debt as well as a stepping stone for my later aspirations.
However, the bigger problem right now is getting in.

I've had a rough patch in the last couple of years with familial problems, depression, and a breakup. The only thing really keeping me together and moving forward right now is the goal, the dream of T-14 and big-law and thus I really don't want to lose sight of it.


We really try to stick to general advice on this thread, so I can't really answer your specific questions, but I am wondering why the rush? If you get some work experience after you graduate, it might help you out in addition to showing a strong finish in your final year.
A few pieces of general advice/thoughts:
--A few W's on a transcript is not terrible; even if it is for an entire semester. Stuff happens.
--A double major does not always have the punch you may want it to have (especially if your overall GPA is very low)
--Schools are not looking for diverse people, they are looking to fill a diverse class. Meaning that your work experience can reflect your interests.
--Don't invite the reader of your application to your pity party, but do explain or describe the circumstances under which you were working
--there are splitter friendly schools in the T-14; your LSAT and the rest of your application will matter in the process too.

Hope this is helpful!
Cheers,
KB

User avatar
candidlatke
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue May 05, 2015 3:52 am

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

Postby candidlatke » Thu May 07, 2015 2:44 am

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
candidlatke wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:
candidlatke wrote:...


We really try to stick to general advice on this thread, so I can't really answer your specific questions, but I am wondering why the rush? If you get some work experience after you graduate, it might help you out in addition to showing a strong finish in your final year.
A few pieces of general advice/thoughts:
--A few W's on a transcript is not terrible; even if it is for an entire semester. Stuff happens.
--A double major does not always have the punch you may want it to have (especially if your overall GPA is very low)
--Schools are not looking for diverse people, they are looking to fill a diverse class. Meaning that your work experience can reflect your interests.
--Don't invite the reader of your application to your pity party, but do explain or describe the circumstances under which you were working
--there are splitter friendly schools in the T-14; your LSAT and the rest of your application will matter in the process too.

Hope this is helpful!
Cheers,
KB


.
Last edited by candidlatke on Fri May 08, 2015 4:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
MikeSpivey
Posts: 2608
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:28 pm

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu May 07, 2015 3:28 pm

If you have sent me a PM in the past few days I will jump on them tomorrow!

Edit update: it's even on my work calendar. If only I knew how to paste pictures in these threads.

User avatar
MikeSpivey
Posts: 2608
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:28 pm

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri May 08, 2015 9:56 am

Help. I'm old and therefore hate small changes. What is going on?

User avatar
Kinky John
Posts: 1106
Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2014 10:52 am

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

Postby Kinky John » Fri May 08, 2015 10:06 am

MikeSpivey wrote:Help. I'm old and therefore hate small changes. What is going on?


TTH wrote:Click on User Control Panel (or your username in the fucking crazy layout), go to board preferences, under board style or whatever, click the dropdown to subsilver2.

User avatar
MikeSpivey
Posts: 2608
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:28 pm

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri May 08, 2015 10:09 am

Kinky John wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:Help. I'm old and therefore hate small changes. What is going on?


TTH wrote:Click on User Control Panel (or your username in the fucking crazy layout), go to board preferences, under board style or whatever, click the dropdown to subsilver2.



Promise this isn't like when the kid said to me in Warcraft III in 2003 "Fat Hamburger American Eminem Rap Style Bad Manner press Alt QQQ for free win" and if I pressed it I would have received a free loss.

User avatar
TTH
Posts: 10380
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 1:14 am

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

Postby TTH » Fri May 08, 2015 10:11 am

MikeSpivey wrote:
Kinky John wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:Help. I'm old and therefore hate small changes. What is going on?


TTH wrote:Click on User Control Panel (or your username in the fucking crazy layout), go to board preferences, under board style or whatever, click the dropdown to subsilver2.



Promise this isn't like when the kid said to me in Warcraft III in 2003 "Fat Hamburger American Eminem Rap Style Bad Manner press Alt QQQ for free win" and if I pressed it I would have received a free loss.


It's a legit fix. You can trust me. I'm a well known and highly regarded Midwestern poster.

User avatar
KarenButtenbaum
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:39 am

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Fri May 08, 2015 10:14 am

TTH wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
Kinky John wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:Help. I'm old and therefore hate small changes. What is going on?


TTH wrote:Click on User Control Panel (or your username in the fucking crazy layout), go to board preferences, under board style or whatever, click the dropdown to subsilver2.



Promise this isn't like when the kid said to me in Warcraft III in 2003 "Fat Hamburger American Eminem Rap Style Bad Manner press Alt QQQ for free win" and if I pressed it I would have received a free loss.


It's a legit fix. You can trust me. I'm a well known and highly regarded Midwestern poster.


Mike, I tried it and it worked! Thank you!!

User avatar
Kinky John
Posts: 1106
Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2014 10:52 am

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

Postby Kinky John » Fri May 08, 2015 10:15 am

MikeSpivey wrote:Promise this isn't like when the kid said to me in Warcraft III in 2003 "Fat Hamburger American Eminem Rap Style Bad Manner press Alt QQQ for free win" and if I pressed it I would have received a free loss.


The fix won't take effect unless you press alt+f4 to save it, though

User avatar
MikeSpivey
Posts: 2608
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:28 pm

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri May 08, 2015 10:16 am

Kinky John wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:Promise this isn't like when the kid said to me in Warcraft III in 2003 "Fat Hamburger American Eminem Rap Style Bad Manner press Alt QQQ for free win" and if I pressed it I would have received a free loss.


The fix won't take effect unless you press alt+f4 to save it, though


This worked, thanks!

User avatar
KarenButtenbaum
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:39 am

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Fri May 08, 2015 10:18 am

Kinky John wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:Promise this isn't like when the kid said to me in Warcraft III in 2003 "Fat Hamburger American Eminem Rap Style Bad Manner press Alt QQQ for free win" and if I pressed it I would have received a free loss.


The fix won't take effect unless you press alt+f4 to save it, though


hey now...

Broncos15
Posts: 291
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2015 3:25 am

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

Postby Broncos15 » Fri May 08, 2015 12:00 pm

Hey Mike or Karen,

I am looking to apply for a full ride LS scholarship through a connection my undergrad institution has with the law school, which i am interested in as the only restriction is a 2.0 GPA is needed throughout LS to maintain it

Does LSAC truncate GPA or round up GPA ( ie. if my Cumulative GPA was a 3.597 does it truncate to 3.59 or does it round up to 3.6)?

On the scholarship form it says a 3.6 LSAC GPA is necessary with no exceptions so that's why I ask ( I am finishing up UG by December and its very possible I wind up in this 3.597 position).

This scholarship is the only real reason I care about if they round up or truncate

tskela
Posts: 338
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:41 pm

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

Postby tskela » Fri May 08, 2015 12:50 pm

Hi Mike and Karen,

I was wondering if it might be beneficial to write a risky or unusual personal statement since (I'm assuming) my chances at several T14 will be around 50/50 with my current splitter stats ( >25th, <50th percentile GPA for most schools and >75% percentile for LSAT). Could having a sort of schtick, story, distinct writing style, etc put me over the edge at places where I have a coin flip's chance or will it do more harm than good? What are your thoughts on less formal writing in personal statements, oddball topics, graphic, somewhat uncomfortable descriptions, etc? For undergrad applications, I went for interest/shock factor and it worked out pretty well but I'm not sure it would be appropriate for law school apps, at least judging from the selected personal statements on Chicago's website. Definitely getting the sense that I should choose the more traditional of the two topics I'm considering right now. This topic would do more to show that I can succeed in law school while the second topic would say more about my personality outside the academic sphere, my passions, my more idealistic/romantic goals in law, etc.

I'd be grateful for any input either of you have on the subject of PSs.

User avatar
MikeSpivey
Posts: 2608
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:28 pm

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat May 09, 2015 11:57 am

There are random, arbitrary, hyper nuanced rankings...and then there is this:

http://blog.kaplanlsat.com/2015/01/20/t ... paign=Blog

User avatar
MikeSpivey
Posts: 2608
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:28 pm

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat May 09, 2015 11:58 am

tskela wrote:Hi Mike and Karen,

I was wondering if it might be beneficial to write a risky or unusual personal statement since (I'm assuming) my chances at several T14 will be around 50/50 with my current splitter stats ( >25th, <50th percentile GPA for most schools and >75% percentile for LSAT). Could having a sort of schtick, story, distinct writing style, etc put me over the edge at places where I have a coin flip's chance or will it do more harm than good? What are your thoughts on less formal writing in personal statements, oddball topics, graphic, somewhat uncomfortable descriptions, etc? For undergrad applications, I went for interest/shock factor and it worked out pretty well but I'm not sure it would be appropriate for law school apps, at least judging from the selected personal statements on Chicago's website. Definitely getting the sense that I should choose the more traditional of the two topics I'm considering right now. This topic would do more to show that I can succeed in law school while the second topic would say more about my personality outside the academic sphere, my passions, my more idealistic/romantic goals in law, etc.

I'd be grateful for any input either of you have on the subject of PSs.



Probably (very roughly) 5 -10% of these work and 90% (again roughly) crash and burn. On some occasions it makes sense to have two versions, one risk averse and one more risky for super stretch schools.

I think Karen is super interested I the topic, fyi, if you want to PM her. or me too for that matter, I'm just a bit buried in PM right now.

User avatar
MikeSpivey
Posts: 2608
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:28 pm

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon May 11, 2015 1:02 pm

Here is something on when you can possibly expect another WL movement wave:

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/know-y ... es-part-i/

User avatar
WichitaShocker
Posts: 273
Joined: Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:21 am

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

Postby WichitaShocker » Mon May 11, 2015 2:18 pm

Mike and Karen,

I currently have a 90% tuition scholarship at school A that I have paid my deposit at, but was recently accepted off of the wait list at a non geographical peer school that is ranked slightly higher with a full tuition and fees scholarship, school B. I sent a negotiation email to school A about 10 days ago, and have scheduled a visit to school B for later this month. I have heard nothing back from them, but I have negotiated with school A in the past and they have usually gotten back to me in 2-3 days max (with a no). I am wondering why it is taking so long. I am waiting to buy a plane ticket to visit school B, because if school A increases to a full tuition I would for sure attend, but with no increase I am leaning towards school B. My Initial email to school A had the offer from school B attached and showed that the deposit deadline to accept was May 8th, but they later extended that until after my visit. I emailed school A letting them know that school B extended my deadline until after my visit, so they did not think the offer was expiring. I'm stuck as to if there is anything else I can do

Thanks in advance.

User avatar
Clearly
Posts: 4165
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:09 pm

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

Postby Clearly » Mon May 11, 2015 2:37 pm

Hi Mike and Karen,

I like to just periodically come into your thread and say hi, that is all.

Clearly

User avatar
Iwanttolawschool
Posts: 313
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:03 pm

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

Postby Iwanttolawschool » Tue May 12, 2015 6:46 pm

Hello Mike and Karen,

I was wondering if it's normal (expected) to wear a suit/tie on a Skype interview? If a male were to wear something like a polo (golf shirt) would that be too casual for your tastes?

User avatar
KarenButtenbaum
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:39 am

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue May 12, 2015 8:05 pm

Iwanttolawschool wrote:Hello Mike and Karen,

I was wondering if it's normal (expected) to wear a suit/tie on a Skype interview? If a male were to wear something like a polo (golf shirt) would that be too casual for your tastes?


If you are on vacation and don't have a tie, then a polo shirt is OK (it's a good ice breaker too). If you can wear a dress shirt/tie, then I'd say do it. If it is a terrible inconvenience for some reason, then it's OK not to.
It's not necessary to wear a suit but it is very normal to be dressed up for the interview; it is a professional interview after all.
Hope that is helpful and good luck!
Cheers,
KB

monkeyKT
Posts: 118
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:11 pm

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

Postby monkeyKT » Wed May 13, 2015 1:50 am

Hello!

It's my first time on this thread so excuse me if this question has already been asked.... But... any idea or prediction as to whether there will be a lot of movements for the T14 waitlists this year? If so, when do the movements typically occur? Do more occur after the 2nd deposits than the first?

I'm currently waitlisted at a top choice in one of the lower T14s and am trying to determine whether all hope is loss...

User avatar
haus
Posts: 2832
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:07 am

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

Postby haus » Wed May 13, 2015 6:07 am

monkeyKT wrote:Hello!

It's my first time on this thread so excuse me if this question has already been asked.... But... any idea or prediction as to whether there will be a lot of movements for the T14 waitlists this year? If so, when do the movements typically occur? Do more occur after the 2nd deposits than the first?

I'm currently waitlisted at a top choice in one of the lower T14s and am trying to determine whether all hope is loss...

Recently there was a posting on the Spivy blog...

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/know-y ... es-part-i/

Which appears to be the first of multiple parts related to important waitlist dates. I suspect that once the follow-ups to this post are made you should have the answer to your question.

User avatar
KarenButtenbaum
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:39 am

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed May 13, 2015 12:36 pm

monkeyKT wrote:Hello!

It's my first time on this thread so excuse me if this question has already been asked.... But... any idea or prediction as to whether there will be a lot of movements for the T14 waitlists this year? If so, when do the movements typically occur? Do more occur after the 2nd deposits than the first?

I'm currently waitlisted at a top choice in one of the lower T14s and am trying to determine whether all hope is loss...


In general, most schools will make their first round of WL admits after looking at the entering class and seeing where they stand. This first "wave" usually happens in May. For the schools that have a second deposit, there is likely to be another wave after that deadline as well.
Once the initial round of admits from WL goes out, the batches of admits, in theory, will get smaller throughout the summer. And there will also be a bit of a ripple effect from the top down as each school plucks students from other entering classes.
Mike is planning to post a blog in the coming days with some more insight into the WL this summer - of course we will let you know when it is posted!

Cheers,
KB

User avatar
buckiguy_sucks
Posts: 2624
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:07 pm

Post removed.

Postby buckiguy_sucks » Wed May 13, 2015 6:19 pm

Post removed.
Last edited by buckiguy_sucks on Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.


Return to “Free Help and Advice from Professionals”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests