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.

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

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Total votes: 0

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

Postby fredfred » Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:47 pm

pittsburghpirates wrote:
CJ. wrote:
pittsburghpirates wrote:Hi guys, thanks for all that you do in offering this advice, it's much appreciated. I do have a question for you regarding writing an addendum for a big increase (8+ points) on the LSAT. Would this be something that would be needed given that most schools seem to already focus primarily on the high score?


Absolutely not. What would your addendum even say? You studied more the second time and knocked it out of the park? Don't make your application any longer than it needs to be.


Some of the TLS school profiles mention explaining large differences in scores to give the admissions folks an idea of what happened (Chicago, UVA, Michigan, just to name a few). Just figured I'd ask and see if that was still relevant


I had a fairly drastic 3rd score increase and was directly asked by more than a handful of the admissions officers at t14 schools why specifically it went up. They do and will ask why.

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

Postby CJ. » Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:53 pm

fredfred wrote:
pittsburghpirates wrote:
CJ. wrote:
pittsburghpirates wrote:Hi guys, thanks for all that you do in offering this advice, it's much appreciated. I do have a question for you regarding writing an addendum for a big increase (8+ points) on the LSAT. Would this be something that would be needed given that most schools seem to already focus primarily on the high score?


Absolutely not. What would your addendum even say? You studied more the second time and knocked it out of the park? Don't make your application any longer than it needs to be.


Some of the TLS school profiles mention explaining large differences in scores to give the admissions folks an idea of what happened (Chicago, UVA, Michigan, just to name a few). Just figured I'd ask and see if that was still relevant


I had a fairly drastic 3rd score increase and was directly asked by more than a handful of the admissions officers at t14 schools why specifically it went up. They do and will ask why.


Plenty of people take the exam twice and improve by 8 points. Taking the exam THREE times is a bit much, and I'd be curious why you thought you could achieve, and did achieve, a "drastically" higher score the third time, too, because it's wholly inconsistent with what you've shown we should expect from you.

Again, he should not write an addendum. If they are that curious (they won't be), they'll ask him.

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

Postby fredfred » Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:57 pm

CJ. wrote:
fredfred wrote:
pittsburghpirates wrote:
CJ. wrote:
pittsburghpirates wrote:Hi guys, thanks for all that you do in offering this advice, it's much appreciated. I do have a question for you regarding writing an addendum for a big increase (8+ points) on the LSAT. Would this be something that would be needed given that most schools seem to already focus primarily on the high score?


Absolutely not. What would your addendum even say? You studied more the second time and knocked it out of the park? Don't make your application any longer than it needs to be.


Some of the TLS school profiles mention explaining large differences in scores to give the admissions folks an idea of what happened (Chicago, UVA, Michigan, just to name a few). Just figured I'd ask and see if that was still relevant


I had a fairly drastic 3rd score increase and was directly asked by more than a handful of the admissions officers at t14 schools why specifically it went up. They do and will ask why.


Plenty of people take the exam twice and improve by 8 points. Taking the exam THREE times is a bit much, and I'd be curious why you thought you could achieve, and did achieve, a "drastically" higher score the third time, too, because it's wholly inconsistent with what you've shown we should expect from you.

Again, he should not write an addendum. If they are that curious (they won't be), they'll ask him.


Wholly inconsistent of what I've shown? I don't know what veiled shot you are taking at me but it makes no sense whatsoever. Also it was an 8 point increase ironically enough. From 90 percentile to 99 percentile. Three times a bit much? Isn't it TLS always preaching retake retake? So I did one final time and did crush it. Why is that a bit much? It was the difference between t20 with decent $$ to top ten with a ton more money. I'd say it was worth it every single time. Seven top 10 admissions officers/directors asked directly how I achieved that. Honest answer? Hard work. Something you probably know nothing about.
Last edited by fredfred on Mon Aug 03, 2015 11:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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

Postby TheodoreKGB » Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:59 pm

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

Postby CJ. » Mon Aug 03, 2015 11:03 pm

fredfred wrote:
CJ. wrote:
fredfred wrote:
pittsburghpirates wrote:
CJ. wrote:
pittsburghpirates wrote:Hi guys, thanks for all that you do in offering this advice, it's much appreciated. I do have a question for you regarding writing an addendum for a big increase (8+ points) on the LSAT. Would this be something that would be needed given that most schools seem to already focus primarily on the high score?


Absolutely not. What would your addendum even say? You studied more the second time and knocked it out of the park? Don't make your application any longer than it needs to be.


Some of the TLS school profiles mention explaining large differences in scores to give the admissions folks an idea of what happened (Chicago, UVA, Michigan, just to name a few). Just figured I'd ask and see if that was still relevant


I had a fairly drastic 3rd score increase and was directly asked by more than a handful of the admissions officers at t14 schools why specifically it went up. They do and will ask why.


Plenty of people take the exam twice and improve by 8 points. Taking the exam THREE times is a bit much, and I'd be curious why you thought you could achieve, and did achieve, a "drastically" higher score the third time, too, because it's wholly inconsistent with what you've shown we should expect from you.

Again, he should not write an addendum. If they are that curious (they won't be), they'll ask him.


Wholly inconsistent of what I've shown? I don't know what veiled shot you are taking at me but it makes no sense whatsoever. Also it was an 8 point increase ironically enough. From 90 percentile to 99 percentile. Three times a bit much? Isn't it TLS always preaching retake retake? So I did one final time and did crush it. Why is that a bit much? It was the difference between t20 with decent $$ to top ten with a ton more money. I'd say it was worth it every single time. Seven top 10 admissions officers/directors asked directly how I achieved that. Honest answer? Hard work. Something you probably know nothing about.


Yes, wholly inconsistent by your own admission. You take a test. You get a mediocre score. You take it again. You get another mediocre score. At this point, if you take it yet again, I am expecting you to get a score in the ballpark of the first two. I am expecting that the first two were not flukes. Anything else would be inconsistent.

You take it again. You do "drastically" better. The third score is inconsistent with the first two. And the vast majority of people do not take it three times. If I'm on an Adcomm, I'm wondering why I shouldn't assume the first two are more indicative of your aptitude then the third outlier.

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

Postby CJ. » Mon Aug 03, 2015 11:03 pm

TheodoreKGB wrote:Please, guys, not the place for this.


I agree. That was my last response to him.

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

Postby fredfred » Mon Aug 03, 2015 11:04 pm

CJ. wrote:
fredfred wrote:
CJ. wrote:
fredfred wrote:
pittsburghpirates wrote:
CJ. wrote:
pittsburghpirates wrote:Hi guys, thanks for all that you do in offering this advice, it's much appreciated. I do have a question for you regarding writing an addendum for a big increase (8+ points) on the LSAT. Would this be something that would be needed given that most schools seem to already focus primarily on the high score?


Absolutely not. What would your addendum even say? You studied more the second time and knocked it out of the park? Don't make your application any longer than it needs to be.


Some of the TLS school profiles mention explaining large differences in scores to give the admissions folks an idea of what happened (Chicago, UVA, Michigan, just to name a few). Just figured I'd ask and see if that was still relevant


I had a fairly drastic 3rd score increase and was directly asked by more than a handful of the admissions officers at t14 schools why specifically it went up. They do and will ask why.


Plenty of people take the exam twice and improve by 8 points. Taking the exam THREE times is a bit much, and I'd be curious why you thought you could achieve, and did achieve, a "drastically" higher score the third time, too, because it's wholly inconsistent with what you've shown we should expect from you.

Again, he should not write an addendum. If they are that curious (they won't be), they'll ask him.


Wholly inconsistent of what I've shown? I don't know what veiled shot you are taking at me but it makes no sense whatsoever. Also it was an 8 point increase ironically enough. From 90 percentile to 99 percentile. Three times a bit much? Isn't it TLS always preaching retake retake? So I did one final time and did crush it. Why is that a bit much? It was the difference between t20 with decent $$ to top ten with a ton more money. I'd say it was worth it every single time. Seven top 10 admissions officers/directors asked directly how I achieved that. Honest answer? Hard work. Something you probably know nothing about.


Yes, wholly inconsistent by your own admission. You take a test. You get a mediocre score. You take it again. You get another mediocre score. At this point, if you take it yet again, I am expecting you to get a score in the ballpark of the first two. I am expecting that the first two were not flukes. Anything else would be inconsistent.

You take it again. You do "drastically" better. The third score is inconsistent with the first two. And the vast majority of people do not take it three times. If I'm on an Adcomm, I'm wondering why I shouldn't assume the first two are more indicative of your aptitude then the third outlier.




Im done. You are a flame. See below
First 30 posts from CJ are just flames. Look at his first post on this site seriously suggesting some interior states of the USA are wastelands.
CJ. wrote:You can't tell me with a straight face that some interior states - the vast wastelands of mindless suburbia, sprawl, poverty, cultural voids that they are - are somehow preferable to the undisturbed natural landscape the Indians lived in and care for. You can't tell me that the lifestyle of so many in the interior, shoving crap food down their throats so they can hit 250 lbs and live a meaningless life of materialism and consumption, is preferable to the close knit and ritualistic Indian way of life. They had respect for a land that was beautiful and lived on it with dignity. Return it to them. Not a reservation, but a large swath of the interior covering many states.

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

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Aug 03, 2015 11:05 pm

C.J., don't fight with people in someone else's thread. The point here is for Spivey/Buttenbaum/Meeker to answer questions, not you.

People, please just ignore him, or report a post if necessary.

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

Postby CJ. » Mon Aug 03, 2015 11:09 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:C.J., don't fight with people in someone else's thread. The point here is for Spivey/Buttenbaum/Meeker to answer questions, not you.

People, please just ignore him, or report a post if necessary.


fredfred came at me. Not the other way around.

As for not answering the questions, fine I won't.

Though I do think students who might be duped into spending thousands of dollars have a right to hear a criticism of it, which is why I entered this thread in the first place.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Penn, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Aug 03, 2015 11:11 pm

CJ. wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:C.J., don't fight with people in someone else's thread. The point here is for Spivey/Buttenbaum/Meeker to answer questions, not you.

People, please just ignore him, or report a post if necessary.


fredfred came at me. Not the other way around.

As for not answering the questions, fine I won't. I do think students who might be duped into spending thousands of dollars have a right to hear a criticism of it.

Not here. It's not your thread and you're not a professional; you already started a thread on the subject elsewhere. Besides, you started it by answering questions here. If you have anything else you want to say about it, PM me - don't post in this thread again.

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

Postby ggnobbq » Tue Aug 04, 2015 5:33 pm

fantasy fantasy football fantasy?

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Aug 04, 2015 9:23 pm

benwyatt wrote:Hey folks,

Thank you so much for giving all this great advice.

I'm wondering how important it is for my personal statement to have an explicit "Why Law" component. I find conflicting information around the internet and some people have told me that they think my PS needs it while others have said that it feels a little tacked onto the end and interrupts the flow of an otherwise very strong statement.

I understand that there's unlikely to be unanimity on this point, but I'd appreciate whatever insight you can offer.

Thanks again!


You don't always need to have a why law component to the Personal Statement. In most cases I would advise against going in that direction especially when it is tacked on to the end of the essay. I would use stronger language and say that you most likely don't need to say 'why law,' but I think some schools specifically ask for it as a part of the PS.
There were only a couple of times in my 16 plus years of reading applications where I finished reading an app and said to myself "why does this person want to go to law school?" It just doesn't happen that often.

Hope that helps a bit!
Cheers,
KB

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

Postby DerekMeeker » Wed Aug 05, 2015 2:04 pm

pittsburghpirates wrote:Hi guys, thanks for all that you do in offering this advice, it's much appreciated. I do have a question for you regarding writing an addendum for a big increase (8+ points) on the LSAT. Would this be something that would be needed given that most schools seem to already focus primarily on the high score?


This question comes up frequently, so last year I reviewed the websites of all the T14 schools to see if they addressed it, and I included the information in an old thread. My recollection is that Harvard, Berkeley and Northwestern expressly state on their websites that they simply take the higher score, and Yale says something to the effect that they don't place more value on either the average or higher score but consider all scores. All the other schools included language that said in one form or another that they like to see an addendum when there is a significant disparity (typically considered to be 5-6 points or higher). I have subsequently polled a number of deans of admissions from schools that include such language to confirm if they still want to see an addendum from someone who takes the LSAT two or more times and has a significant disparity between scores, and, if so, under what circumstances. Three have stated they want to see an addendum with an explanation, even if it is simply that the applicant experienced test anxiety the first time, or that the applicant prepared more the second time. A fourth one said, yes, they like to see an addendum, but if the applicant is simply going to say "I was nervous the first time," then it is not necessary. One also added that the addendum gives them another example of writing skills. (And note, they confirmed that 5 or 6 points or higher is the benchmark for "significant disparity.")

Now, we all know that the higher or highest score is what gets reported to the ABA (and thus to US News), so it would seem the addendum would be inconsequential. But I would say it does provide assurance in some cases, and that is why some admissions committees -- particularly at several of the most selective schools -- like to see it. If they are on the fence or have some doubts about an applicant, the lack of an addendum may reinforce that doubt.
Last edited by DerekMeeker on Wed Aug 05, 2015 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby salander » Thu Aug 06, 2015 4:41 am

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Aug 06, 2015 10:43 am

salander wrote:Hi everyone,

Thanks again for taking the time to answer these questions. It is truly appreciated. I have a specific question based on what Dean Meeker once said in his Q&A forum:
deanmeeker wrote:My advice for STEM major applicants who have a GPA below a school's median, plan well in advance for LSAT prep so that you can give yourself every advantage possible, and apply early in the process. Because if you do end up with an LSAT score that also is below the school's median, you are more likely to be admitted very early in the process when they can "build" around your lower numbers (or, conversely, very late in the process off the waitlist, when their numbers are secure). As I said before, there is a compelling reason to enroll STEM majors, so get on their radar early in the admission season.

My numbers are above the medians of the schools I am looking at, but I am torn between applying early (Sept) with a possibly weaker second letter of rec and applying later (Nov-Dec) with a possibly stronger second letter of rec.

Does the advantage of applying early for STEM majors outweigh this difference in LOR strengths? (I consider my softs to be weak, regardless.) Does your answer change for schools where I am above both 75ths?

Thank you!


Opinions will likely vary here, but I could see the argument that applying in November is still early in the process, so it would be worth it to wait just to be 100% sure that you are putting your best foot forward and that you are getting the best LOR possible.
If you were waiting until late December or January, I would say that would tip the scale toward submitting earlier.

If you are above the median or above the 75ths, the LOR is not going to really make that much of a difference unless it is a bad one. Most LORs are good to great - probably 90% fall in that category - and they only reinforce what the rest of the app presents so they won't make that much of a difference in the overall decision. That doesn't mean they aren't' important - they are.

So, unless the first letter will be bad, I think you will be fine. Trust your gut here because you are the best person to know what each letter will say - good or bad.

Cheers,
KB

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

Postby salander » Thu Aug 06, 2015 10:48 am

Thank you, Karen, as always!

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

Postby jenesaislaw » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:23 pm

CJ. wrote:Do you have any thoughts on the insane amount of tuition your school(s) charge law students to attend? Do you ever discuss the shocking debt burdens with other administrators who benefit from a price tag that has outpaced inflation for years now? If yes, what are your thoughts? If not, why not?


I want to chime in for just one post here. Mike served on my board for a year. In that time, he contributed to LST's efforts to make entry to the profession more transparent, affordable, and fair. One very public-facing thing he did was host several episodes of our podcast, I Am The Law, which aims to help people better understand the decision they're making to enter the legal profession. I, for one, have appreciated discussions with both him and Karen about law schools and what they have done and currently do wrong. The contributions are not always public, and can't be for strategic reasons, but they're there, valuable, and wholly underappreciated.

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Aug 07, 2015 9:27 am

ggnobbq wrote:fantasy fantasy football fantasy?


Draft will be late August. Details to come soon!

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

Postby doublehoohopeful » Fri Aug 07, 2015 10:58 am

Hi all,

I want to start by saying how much I appreciate your help on this thread and in the waiters' threads. You make a stressful process much easier to handle.

So I was just notified that I have been nominated for a major award at my company. The finalists are not announced until mid-September and the winner is not announced until the middle of October. All of the components of my law school application are complete and I would like to submit my applications as early as possible. Would it be worthwhile to hold off on submitting my applications and ensure the resume I submit is up to date, or should I submit my applications as early as possible and send an update to the schools in the event I've been selected?

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Fri Aug 07, 2015 11:03 am

doublehoohopeful wrote:Hi all,

I want to start by saying how much I appreciate your help on this thread and in the waiters' threads. You make a stressful process much easier to handle.

So I was just notified that I have been nominated for a major award at my company. The finalists are not announced until mid-September and the winner is not announced until the middle of October. All of the components of my law school application are complete and I would like to submit my applications as early as possible. Would it be worthwhile to hold off on submitting my applications and ensure the resume I submit is up to date, or should I submit my applications as early as possible and send an update to the schools in the event I've been selected?


Congrats on this nomination! Keep in mind that applications are still considered "early" even if you submit into November. Most schools will not start reading files until October, and many don't make decisions until much later than that.
There is zero advantage to submitting your application on the first day possible.
But I understand your desire to get it submitted asap.
At this stage, you could indicate on a resume that you were nominated, in September you could indicate that you are a finalist. And you could always update them if you win the award in October. But even if you submit in October, you are still early in the process.
Good luck!
Cheers,
KB

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

Postby doublehoohopeful » Fri Aug 07, 2015 11:17 am

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
Congrats on this nomination! Keep in mind that applications are still considered "early" even if you submit into November. Most schools will not start reading files until October, and many don't make decisions until much later than that.
There is zero advantage to submitting your application on the first day possible.
But I understand your desire to get it submitted asap.
At this stage, you could indicate on a resume that you were nominated, in September you could indicate that you are a finalist. And you could always update them if you win the award in October. But even if you submit in October, you are still early in the process.
Good luck!
Cheers,
KB


Hi Karen,

Thanks for the quick response! I think I'll go with the submit and update plan.

cam89
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Penn, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby cam89 » Mon Aug 10, 2015 12:19 pm

Hi all,

I wanted to hear your opinion on writing a "why" essay for Columbia. It seems that most TLSers say not to, yet on their FAQs they seem to imply that they would like one. Thanks so much!


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