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

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

Postby vested » Tue Oct 06, 2015 10:54 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
vested wrote:
deanmeeker wrote:
AnonymousApplicant wrote:Hi,
I've read on one of Mr. Spivey's the question responses that the idea that it is somehow disadvantageous to take the Dec. LSAT is a myth. I just write to see if additional clarification on that can be given. Surely it is better to apply earlier rather than later but I'm simply trying to get a better understanding of what would distinguish my application to HYSCCN, which I'm considering submitting after taking the Dec. LSAT as opposed to the Oct. LSAT that I was originally signed up for, from the application of someone who took the LSAT in June or October and applied soon after getting their results. Any help will be appreciated.

Thank you


Hi there. Happy to try to provide some additional information. Basically, we are in a market where the number of LSAT scorers in the 170+ range has dropped significantly (i.e., the range that is most competitive for the top 6 schools). Thus, if taking the December LSAT means you are more likely to get a higher score, and particularly one that is in the 170+ range, then it absolutely is more advantageous for you to apply later to these schools. Bottom line: better to submit a stronger application in December or January than a less strong one in September or October. The increase in score that you could gain by waiting and taking the December LSAT will outweigh the advantage of submitting an application two months earlier.

So is it "surely...better to apply earlier rather than later?" Yes, IF you can submit your very BEST application at that time. But if waiting a few more months means you can put together a stronger application (particularly one with a higher LSAT score), then you are better off waiting.


I may be missing something---but I'm still confused as to why applying early with a weaker LSAT score, and later following up to say "Hi I retook the LSAT and scored much higher; this new score best reflects my abilities, etc." would put anyone in a weaker position than waiting to apply with the higher score.

What if your weaker score gets you rejected?


True. (That seems so painfully obvious now, lol). I guess I was assuming you'd be a mildly competitive applicant to start with (ie near the medians), but that's not always the case and even so could lead to rejection.

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Oct 06, 2015 10:59 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
vested wrote:
deanmeeker wrote:
AnonymousApplicant wrote:Hi,
I've read on one of Mr. Spivey's the question responses that the idea that it is somehow disadvantageous to take the Dec. LSAT is a myth. I just write to see if additional clarification on that can be given. Surely it is better to apply earlier rather than later but I'm simply trying to get a better understanding of what would distinguish my application to HYSCCN, which I'm considering submitting after taking the Dec. LSAT as opposed to the Oct. LSAT that I was originally signed up for, from the application of someone who took the LSAT in June or October and applied soon after getting their results. Any help will be appreciated.

Thank you


Hi there. Happy to try to provide some additional information. Basically, we are in a market where the number of LSAT scorers in the 170+ range has dropped significantly (i.e., the range that is most competitive for the top 6 schools). Thus, if taking the December LSAT means you are more likely to get a higher score, and particularly one that is in the 170+ range, then it absolutely is more advantageous for you to apply later to these schools. Bottom line: better to submit a stronger application in December or January than a less strong one in September or October. The increase in score that you could gain by waiting and taking the December LSAT will outweigh the advantage of submitting an application two months earlier.

So is it "surely...better to apply earlier rather than later?" Yes, IF you can submit your very BEST application at that time. But if waiting a few more months means you can put together a stronger application (particularly one with a higher LSAT score), then you are better off waiting.


I may be missing something---but I'm still confused as to why applying early with a weaker LSAT score, and later following up to say "Hi I retook the LSAT and scored much higher; this new score best reflects my abilities, etc." would put anyone in a weaker position than waiting to apply with the higher score.

What if your weaker score gets you rejected?


Or your application may be sorted and distributed to readers based on a lower score. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Cheers,
KB

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

Postby pterodactyls » Tue Oct 06, 2015 1:35 pm

aventura wrote:If one of our recommenders attended a school that we are applying to for a Masters or Doctoral degree, but not a JD, would a targeted letter help? Or could it backfire as appearing too political?

thanks for the help


Was this question ever answered? Because I'm curious as well.

Thank you!

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Oct 06, 2015 3:07 pm

pterodactyls wrote:
aventura wrote:If one of our recommenders attended a school that we are applying to for a Masters or Doctoral degree, but not a JD, would a targeted letter help? Or could it backfire as appearing too political?

thanks for the help


Was this question ever answered? Because I'm curious as well.

Thank you!


I can't see how it would backfire but it wouldn't particularly help, ether.

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mist4bison
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Penn, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby mist4bison » Tue Oct 06, 2015 4:40 pm

Regarding politics...would it ever be beneficial to have a friend/boss/etc. who happens to know a LS dean (somewhat well) call them and put in a good word? I'm not in this situation, but am curious as to the effect it would have on an applicant's chances.

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

Postby GreatBraffsby » Wed Oct 07, 2015 1:48 pm

Hello and thanks for doing this. I have a couple quick questions about writing an addendum to describe my undergraduate grades. I have a solid but not spectacular GPA, so it might be a weakness when my application gets evaluated.

1. I took, on average, an extra course per semester due to transferring and double majoring. This overloaded schedule consisted primarily of required upper level courses. Is it worth describing why my course of study was more difficult than the average student at my undergraduate college? My GPA was in the 90th percentile at my 1st institution (3 semesters) and the 70th at my second (5 semesters). I asked a professor to discuss this in a recommendation letter, but a part of me thinks that I am the most qualified to explain the specifics of my schedule and its degree of difficulty. I recognize tone is key, as I am responsible for transferring and double majoring, and I don't want to come across as complaining about a situation I volunteered for.

2. My college is idiosyncratic in that it requires seniors to complete a comprehensive senior exercise for all majors. This paper/test/project is designed to cover the fundamental ideas of the major while allowing students to explore their own interests (e.g. I wrote a thesis on Joyce's puns and took a test on literary themes/a required reading list for my English degree). Having earned distinction in both of my majors, the highest mark possible, should I describe what "distinction in majors 'x' and 'y'" means? I went to a small top-30 liberal arts college that admissions offices should be familiar with, so I'm not sure if they need this information. Perhaps I should call my school and ask what percentage of students in my majors earned distinction and present that data as an addendum.

Appreciate any and all advice.

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Oct 09, 2015 10:14 am

I'll try to get to these questions this weekend. Apologies for the delay, post LSAT week = swimming in calls and work all day.

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

Postby pizzaqueen » Sun Oct 11, 2015 6:59 pm

Mike and Karen,

Thank you so much for all the information you've provided on this forum.

I recently attended an LSAC Forum and had some great conversations with admissions reps/deans that I would like to follow up with. I know you've said that email correspondence can be forwarded into our files, but what happens if we don't have files yet? It's still early in the cycle and I won't be submitting applications until the end of this month at the earliest, so my file won't exist for a while. Is there any benefit to following up with adcoms in this case? Will the email be stored until I submit my application or somehow be linked to my file later on?

Thank you!

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

Postby ChildWithADove » Mon Oct 12, 2015 4:55 pm

gamerish wrote:I've started filling out all my applications and I've noticed that, unlike the rest of the T14, Harvard, Yale, Duke, and Michigan do not have options to identify as Puerto Rican and/or Mexican-American and was curious if that was because these schools do not give such consideration during admissions, if they do give such consideration but instead rely on identification of ethnic background from the LSAT/your LSAC account or if one is supposed to write an appropriate diversity statement if one wants such consideration.
Thanks.


Michigan legally is not allowed to rely on any URM information at all (at least, they are not allowed to give you a boost because of it). That said, my guess is that if you are a URM and you are at all competitive (above the 25th percentile), you stand a really strong shot (with respect to Michigan, that is).

I would certainly write a diversity statement or at least bring it up in your PS.

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Oct 13, 2015 2:56 pm

mist4bison wrote:Regarding politics...would it ever be beneficial to have a friend/boss/etc. who happens to know a LS dean (somewhat well) call them and put in a good word? I'm not in this situation, but am curious as to the effect it would have on an applicant's chances.


Sometimes this can help to get the applicant a second look. So much still depends on the strength of the application in relation to the pool. I'm not sure that it would ever hurt an application - tho if overdone with the same application from different directions, it could get annoying.

Cheers,
KB

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Oct 13, 2015 2:58 pm

pizzaqueen wrote:Mike and Karen,

Thank you so much for all the information you've provided on this forum.

I recently attended an LSAC Forum and had some great conversations with admissions reps/deans that I would like to follow up with. I know you've said that email correspondence can be forwarded into our files, but what happens if we don't have files yet? It's still early in the cycle and I won't be submitting applications until the end of this month at the earliest, so my file won't exist for a while. Is there any benefit to following up with adcoms in this case? Will the email be stored until I submit my application or somehow be linked to my file later on?

Thank you!


It will find a way to your file eventually. Each school has some system for this because it is not uncommon to have correspondence before an applicant submits an application.

Cheers,
KB

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Oct 13, 2015 3:02 pm

Sorry for the delay in responding to everyone's questions. We are a bit busy with clients these days, but will get to your questions soon!
Also, I'll be doing a webinar tomorrow night for Michigan State on how to write a winning personal statement.

Register here and come join us if you are interested!
https://www.law.msu.edu/admissions/webi ... binar.html

Cheers,
KB

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Oct 13, 2015 3:31 pm

SirArthurDayne wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:Sorry for the delay in responding to everyone's questions. We are a bit busy with clients these days, but will get to your questions soon!
Also, I'll be doing a webinar tomorrow night for Michigan State on how to write a winning personal statement.

Register here and come join us if you are interested!
https://www.law.msu.edu/admissions/webi ... binar.html

Cheers,
KB


Any chance you'll make this available on your site for those who can't make it?


I think Michigan State will have it - I can check on that and get back to you.
EDIT: Yes, they will send a link of the recording to those who register!

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

Postby lawfullyhopeful » Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:07 pm

Hi Mike and Karen,

I have a character and fitness question I was hoping you could answer. During my last year of undergrad (this past school year), I was at a university ball on campus where alcohol was served for those of age. I was of legal age and had alcohol even though I knew I wasn't feeling well. I ended up throwing up outside the building and was assisted by one of the school's security guards who later took me to the clinic to make sure I'd be fine. Since I was of age and alcohol was sold by the school at the event, I wasn't reprimanded.

My question in that case is should I disclose that information? I'd imagine the security guard documented the incident to show the school did assist me but is that enough to warrant an addendum? I'll be applying to my school's law school this year.

Thank you!

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:17 pm

lawfullyhopeful wrote:Hi Mike and Karen,

I have a character and fitness question I was hoping you could answer. During my last year of undergrad (this past school year), I was at a university ball on campus where alcohol was served for those of age. I was of legal age and had alcohol even though I knew I wasn't feeling well. I ended up throwing up outside the building and was assisted by one of the school's security guards who later took me to the clinic to make sure I'd be fine. Since I was of age and alcohol was sold by the school at the event, I wasn't reprimanded.

My question in that case is should I disclose that information? I'd imagine the security guard documented the incident to show the school did assist me but is that enough to warrant an addendum? I'll be applying to my school's law school this year.

Thank you!


From what you've said here, this does not rise to the level of disciplinary action that schools ask for. You did nothing that should end up on your disciplinary record from what I can see.
Read each C+F question carefully, but I highly, highly doubt that any would warrant disclosure in this case.
Geez, if everyone had to write an addendum for throwing up on a college campus, we'd all be in trouble. :)
You are in the clear as far as I can tell.
Cheers,
KB

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

Postby lawfullyhopeful » Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:26 pm

Hahaha thank you for the quick reply! I really appreciate it! :D

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

Postby mustwemean » Thu Oct 15, 2015 8:59 pm

I have a question. After graduating from undergrad in 2012, I had started to prepare applications at the end of 2012. For various reasons I postponed my applications. However, at that time, I did manage to get two letters of recommendation from undergrad professors.

Is there any reason why I couldn't/shouldn't use these for applications for this cycle? Are there any disadvantages? In the interim, I've just been working and haven't attended graduate school. These two professors still seem best able to speak to my academic ability. And I doubt, if I asked them to write another letter, they would write anything different.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

byeby40
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Penn, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby byeby40 » Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:12 pm

Thank you for offering us this opportunity!

I was fortunate to be able to publish a piece of writing with my advisor in undergrad. I listed this publication on my resume. Should I submit an addendum with a few sentences describing what the piece of writing was?

I saw that Harvard's application has a section to describe a piece of published work, but none of the other schools I am applying to has this section.

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

Postby masterz » Sun Oct 18, 2015 10:16 pm

Hi Mike and Karen,

I have couple of questions regarding deferment. I was accepted to a school for 15-16 cycle, for work reasons I've deferred to 16-17 cycle. In the school's deferment letter it says "I acknowledge that deferments at the School are binding and conditioned upon not pursuing admissions, holding deferral, or attending another law school prior to matriculating."

My questions are:

1. If I do apply elsewhere, will the school that accepted me know through LSAC?
2. If they know about it, what will happen to my acceptance? Will they rescind their offer of admission? Will they inform other schools about what happens?

Thank you very much!


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