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

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Oct 22, 2015 3:31 pm

cam89 wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:
cam89 wrote:Hi all,
I plan on submitting a "why Columbia" essay. However, I just wanted to verify that the prompt allows for one. This is the prompt from their app
"Optional: Candidates may add brief supplementary statements they believe will enable the Admissions Committee to make a fully informed decision on the application. The Committee especially welcomes addenda that allow it to understand the contribution the applicant's background (e.g., socioeconomic status, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation) would add to the Columbia Law School community."
Two questions: 1) Does this prompt invite a "why Columbia" essay?
2) Can you write other abilities/talents that you will bring to the Columbia Law School community, or do they specifically want to know how you will make it more diverse (similar to the examples they provide)?

Thanks so much!


That looks like a diversity statement prompt to me, so I would answer it in those terms.

You can certainly submit a Why Columbia statement, but this prompt is not exactly asking for that.

Cheers,
KB


Thanks so much, Karen.
If this isn't what the prompt is asking for, then how can I attach a "why Columbia" essay- it isn't what they are asking for? I am confused because everyone always talks about why x essays but I haven't seen it on Columbia's or Penn's application.

Thanks


Penn's prompt is not exactly a "why Penn" -- it's Penn's core values. But the prompt is there and you should follow the question asked in that case. It is slightly different than a "why" statement.
In general, you can submit a Why X Statement to any school -- regardless of the prompt or lack of one. I am not recommending that you submit one to all schools but just saying you don't always need an invitation to send one.

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

Postby cam89 » Thu Oct 22, 2015 8:28 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
cam89 wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:
cam89 wrote:Hi all,
I plan on submitting a "why Columbia" essay. However, I just wanted to verify that the prompt allows for one. This is the prompt from their app
"Optional: Candidates may add brief supplementary statements they believe will enable the Admissions Committee to make a fully informed decision on the application. The Committee especially welcomes addenda that allow it to understand the contribution the applicant's background (e.g., socioeconomic status, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation) would add to the Columbia Law School community."
Two questions: 1) Does this prompt invite a "why Columbia" essay?
2) Can you write other abilities/talents that you will bring to the Columbia Law School community, or do they specifically want to know how you will make it more diverse (similar to the examples they provide)?

Thanks so much!


That looks like a diversity statement prompt to me, so I would answer it in those terms.

You can certainly submit a Why Columbia statement, but this prompt is not exactly asking for that.

Cheers,
KB


Thanks so much, Karen.
If this isn't what the prompt is asking for, then how can I attach a "why Columbia" essay- it isn't what they are asking for? I am confused because everyone always talks about why x essays but I haven't seen it on Columbia's or Penn's application.

Thanks


Penn's prompt is not exactly a "why Penn" -- it's Penn's core values. But the prompt is there and you should follow the question asked in that case. It is slightly different than a "why" statement.
In general, you can submit a Why X Statement to any school -- regardless of the prompt or lack of one. I am not recommending that you submit one to all schools but just saying you don't always need an invitation to send one.


Karen- thanks so much for your time and help.
I'm still a drop confused. How can I write a "why Columbia" essay if they aren't saying that it is an option? Sorry to keep on harping on this- I don't really fit the bill for a DS, and I want to write a "why Columbia" essay, but not if they don't want one. Thanks so much!

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

Postby Sweetneers » Thu Oct 22, 2015 11:32 pm

I have a LSAT of 157 and a current 2.8x UGPA. I think after this semester I can have a 3.0+, both with a addendum about my dying sister.

My questions are is it better to wait until I receive the fall grades that boost my GPA? Or, can I apply now, and simply send the updated transcripts come December?

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Oct 23, 2015 12:06 pm

Sweetneers wrote:I have a LSAT of 157 and a current 2.8x UGPA. I think after this semester I can have a 3.0+, both with a addendum about my dying sister.

My questions are is it better to wait until I receive the fall grades that boost my GPA? Or, can I apply now, and simply send the updated transcripts come December?


If it puts you over the schools 25th you could wait. If you wait you could also potentially retake the LSAT if you think you can do a bit better. If not, go ahead and apply.

And I am tremendously sorry to hear about your sister

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cub1014
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Penn, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby cub1014 » Fri Oct 23, 2015 1:13 pm

Hello,

My question is regarding whether the increased number of test takers taking the LSAT this cycle will significantly alter acceptance/waitlist outcomes compared to last year. I am aware of Spivey's blog post on the subject, and I am wondering if, when including the number of takers from October (not sure if this has been released yet) if score medians are still expected to rise. I am really interested in this since I think my numbers will make me a borderline waitlist/acceptance candidate at some of the schools I'm interested in applying to.

Broncos15
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Penn, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby Broncos15 » Fri Oct 23, 2015 3:12 pm

Hello all,

As an applicant who is considering getting WE after my LSAT take.....would my LSAT scores from a paper based LSAT still be valid if in a hypo LSAC switched the format to a computer based exam? ( assuming I apply within the 5 year range the scores are valid))

I understand it is hard to give a concrete answer to this question and I was mainly wondering since I do not know the past precedents of how other grad programs have treated these situations such as the changes in the MCAT, GRE etc

Thanks!

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mornincounselor
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Postby mornincounselor » Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:53 am

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

Postby slizerd » Mon Oct 26, 2015 2:14 am

There's a lot of varying advice on this in TLS, so I was hoping that you guys would be able to help answer this!

I took the Oct LSAT and got a 170 - not a bad score, but I've been scoring much higher on my PTs. I'm taking the Dec LSAT to (hopefully) improve on that and increase my scholarship chances in the T14.
My question is - should I wait to apply until I get the Dec score back? Or should I apply now with my current score, and then notify the schools when the Dec score becomes available?

I appreciate your advice!! Thank you!

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Oct 26, 2015 7:49 am

slizerd wrote:There's a lot of varying advice on this in TLS, so I was hoping that you guys would be able to help answer this!

I took the Oct LSAT and got a 170 - not a bad score, but I've been scoring much higher on my PTs. I'm taking the Dec LSAT to (hopefully) improve on that and increase my scholarship chances in the T14.
My question is - should I wait to apply until I get the Dec score back? Or should I apply now with my current score, and then notify the schools when the Dec score becomes available?

I appreciate your advice!! Thank you!


I'd wait. Just have everything ready and apply right after the test, let them know you are waiting on the Dec. score. If you apply too early schools may first read your application. Also, they will run (sometimes infrequently) reports and know you are retaking anyway.

Certainly if you have some safeties where you are well above median go ahead and apply.

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Oct 26, 2015 7:50 am

mornincounselor wrote:Hey Mike, that blog post you did about the impact of ED'ing is fantastic!

Do you have any information on the effect of ED'ing to Cornell now that their program is binding?


Negative. That is all new they have a new admissions dean. Also, we try not to get too deep into school specific advice publicly, but just for clients. Sorry about that!

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

Postby slizerd » Mon Oct 26, 2015 12:03 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
slizerd wrote:There's a lot of varying advice on this in TLS, so I was hoping that you guys would be able to help answer this!

I took the Oct LSAT and got a 170 - not a bad score, but I've been scoring much higher on my PTs. I'm taking the Dec LSAT to (hopefully) improve on that and increase my scholarship chances in the T14.
My question is - should I wait to apply until I get the Dec score back? Or should I apply now with my current score, and then notify the schools when the Dec score becomes available?

I appreciate your advice!! Thank you!


I'd wait. Just have everything ready and apply right after the test, let them know you are waiting on the Dec. score. If you apply too early schools may first read your application. Also, they will run (sometimes infrequently) reports and know you are retaking anyway.

Certainly if you have some safeties where you are well above median go ahead and apply.


Gotcha, thank you! As for letting them know I'm waiting on the score, should I just include Dec in the LSAT section and leave the score blank, or is it necessary to include a brief addendum saying that I'll be retaking in Dec?

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gamerish
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Postby gamerish » Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:48 pm

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

Postby Egzon » Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:55 am

Hello, just a quick question about Character and Fitness. Does getting written up for loud music freshman year (I know, dumb) count and should I disclose it?

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Oct 27, 2015 8:51 am

No one saw my tweet of major news? :(

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

Postby EnderWiggin » Tue Oct 27, 2015 9:06 am

MikeSpivey wrote:No one saw my tweet of major news? :(


I did! Is this three test administrations in a row that have been in + territory now? Seems like the prediction for '15-'16 from back in March may bear out..

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

Postby haus » Tue Oct 27, 2015 9:29 am

MikeSpivey wrote:No one saw my tweet of major news? :(

Did you finally release the new Spivey rankings of Hybrid online law schools?

:D

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Oct 27, 2015 9:38 am

haus wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:No one saw my tweet of major news? :(

Did you finally release the new Spivey rankings of Hybrid online law schools?

:D


BINGO!~

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Oct 27, 2015 9:39 am

EnderWiggin wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:No one saw my tweet of major news? :(


I did! Is this three test administrations in a row that have been in + territory now? Seems like the prediction for '15-'16 from back in March may bear out..


Woo hoo I will finally have a prediction that comes true! (yep, we are going to be up this cycle I am convinced of it now).

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

Postby GreatBraffsby » Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:40 am

GreatBraffsby wrote: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.


Spivey and Karen (and others), I think this question may have been buried in the thread and gone unanswered. If you don't have any advice, no worries, but I'd really value your input considering that I want to get my applications finished before the holidays. Thanks so much.

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

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Oct 27, 2015 2:14 pm

Question: Another poster started a thread asking: Apply now with a 2.96 GPA & 160 LSAT to Wash & Lee, Richmond & Houston or wait until end of semester grades when GPA will rise to 3.04 ?

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

Postby teflondon » Tue Oct 27, 2015 2:45 pm

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Last edited by teflondon on Tue Dec 15, 2015 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby ZVBXRPL » Tue Oct 27, 2015 8:48 pm

Mike/Karen,

Penn. and a few others have March 1 deadlines. I'm taking the February 16' LSAT. Does it pay to apply this cycle? I mean, if the deadline is in March, surely there are seats...

ty!

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Oct 28, 2015 2:23 pm

ZVBXRPL wrote:Mike/Karen,

Penn. and a few others have March 1 deadlines. I'm taking the February 16' LSAT. Does it pay to apply this cycle? I mean, if the deadline is in March, surely there are seats...

ty!



With only a few outliers, just about every school will always make room for a strong applicant. Thus, the real deadline for most schools is late June/August, if you are above their medians or fit a need.

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

Postby Keilz » Wed Oct 28, 2015 7:49 pm

Hello Mike,

I received a 166 on the Oct. LSAT, have a 3.73 GPA and will have 2 yrs WE as a paralegal. I would really prefer to apply this cycle, due to outside factors, but have considered retaking the test in February. I would like to go to T14 or UCLA, I'll have some money saved up so I'm not too concerned about cost if its a top 14/UCLA. Should I apply this cycle or wait it out for next? I practice tested around 167-168, all the way up to 172 twice. I rarely received below a 167, just a handful of times (I took every powerscore test).

Alternatively, I was thinking about applying to UC Berkeley because I am in their median right now and I actually really like the school (Not just the prestige). Would it be advisable if I applied now this cycle, and after focused my efforts for the Feb. test for next cycle? Should I apply to other schools too where I think I can get scholarships? Would it hurt me to just apply to one school now, and if I get rejected and apply the next cycle, do I need to change anything other than my LSAT?

If I retake and get like a 167-169, would that drastically increase my chances anywhere, since i'm right on the cusp? Applying this year would be a lot easier for my personal life. Thanks!

Extra question (thanks so much for answering all these Qs) = I got an unsolicited Penn fee waiver today, does that mean anything at all?

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Oct 29, 2015 8:26 am

Lynnb wrote:Hello Mike,

I received a 166 on the Oct. LSAT, have a 3.73 GPA and will have 2 yrs WE as a paralegal. I would really prefer to apply this cycle, due to outside factors, but have considered retaking the test in February. I would like to go to T14 or UCLA, I'll have some money saved up so I'm not too concerned about cost if its a top 14/UCLA. Should I apply this cycle or wait it out for next? I practice tested around 167-168, all the way up to 172 twice. I rarely received below a 167, just a handful of times (I took every powerscore test).

Alternatively, I was thinking about applying to UC Berkeley because I am in their median right now and I actually really like the school (Not just the prestige). Would it be advisable if I applied now this cycle, and after focused my efforts for the Feb. test for next cycle? Should I apply to other schools too where I think I can get scholarships? Would it hurt me to just apply to one school now, and if I get rejected and apply the next cycle, do I need to change anything other than my LSAT?

If I retake and get like a 167-169, would that drastically increase my chances anywhere, since i'm right on the cusp? Applying this year would be a lot easier for my personal life. Thanks!

Extra question (thanks so much for answering all these Qs) = I got an unsolicited Penn fee waiver today, does that mean anything at all?


This will be a more difficult cycle for applicants than last, of this much I am nearly certain. But, we have no idea yet what next cycle will look like so keep in mind that waiting for a new cycle based on predicted cycle data is hit or miss. What you DO want is that 167-169 range, I concur with that 100%. So you should default all decisions to when you think you are best positioned to score in this range.

GL!


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