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

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champv17
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Penn, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby champv17 » Wed Dec 02, 2015 5:04 pm

Hi! Would really appreciate your advice.

I have finished a few applications and just now wrote a diversity statement. Would it be ok/possible to email the schools and send them this extra essay or just wait it out and use it in case I get waitlisted. My numbers are competitive for the schools.

Thanks!

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Dec 02, 2015 5:23 pm

champv17 wrote:Hi! Would really appreciate your advice.

I have finished a few applications and just now wrote a diversity statement. Would it be ok/possible to email the schools and send them this extra essay or just wait it out and use it in case I get waitlisted. My numbers are competitive for the schools.

Thanks!


Send it now! Preempt the WL :)

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gamerish
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Postby gamerish » Wed Dec 02, 2015 9:11 pm

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

Postby johnnysacks » Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:19 pm

How do law schools feel about substance abuse (say specifically alcohol). No charges in criminal court but university sanctions relating to things done while under the influence of alcohol. Is it frowned upon to discuss sobriety and its positive impact on an applicant's life? To what extent should it be used to in the PS, Diversity Statement? Are there medical addendums associated with it and can it be used to explain bad grades. What reactions to adcomms have to such apps?

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:17 pm

johnnysacks wrote:How do law schools feel about substance abuse (say specifically alcohol). No charges in criminal court but university sanctions relating to things done while under the influence of alcohol. Is it frowned upon to discuss sobriety and its positive impact on an applicant's life? To what extent should it be used to in the PS, Diversity Statement? Are there medical addendums associated with it and can it be used to explain bad grades. What reactions to adcomms have to such apps?


In general with something like this, it is good to acknowledge it in some way in the application and show that you have moved beyond this behavior, which it sounds like you have. You can't avoid it here in this case because it will show up as part of your C+F explanation, but on the flip side I am not sure that it should be included in every aspect of your application.
I believe the PS should be a place where the committee gets to know you and understand you (and your many characteristics, motivations, etc.) and you want that to be a positive thing and not too focused on what might be perceived as negative. This will totally depend on your story and what attributes you have and what you want to showcase.
I'm not seeing it as a DS
An addendum or extended C+F explanation might be a good place to address it - especially if your grades were affected.

There are plenty of people in law school who have overcome substance abuse so it is not a barrier in and of itself. It sounds like you are in a good place now, so be sure to make that point in your application.

Good Luck!

Cheers,
KB

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Dec 04, 2015 2:55 pm

If someone knows how to take all of the cycle data I have from a PDF and put into a format in Markdown that I can publish in Ghost, I coulld share with everyone the super important cycle data right now. As it stands I have no idea...stupid new blog. Will share in the Dec LSAT thread, too.

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

Postby Petrichor » Fri Dec 04, 2015 4:14 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:If someone knows how to take all of the cycle data I have from a PDF and put into a format in Markdown that I can publish in Ghost, I coulld share with everyone the super important cycle data right now. As it stands I have no idea...stupid new blog. Will share in the Dec LSAT thread, too.


Hi Spivey,

Wondering if you can clarify the numbers and % changes?

In link 1( http://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/law-sc ... t-of-2015/), the <140 group had 862 applicants and I assume this includes some from the Dec 2014 LSAT administration.

In link 2 (http://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/2015-1 ... data-lsat/), the same group has 966 applicants, yet this is a shown as a DECREASE of 14% compared to same time last year even though the Dec 2015 LSAT administration isn't accounted for? Doesn't that mean that last year this time there would have been 1124 applicants for the same group by this time?

Or did I misunderstand the numbers?

Thanks!

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Dec 04, 2015 6:47 pm

Petrichor wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:If someone knows how to take all of the cycle data I have from a PDF and put into a format in Markdown that I can publish in Ghost, I coulld share with everyone the super important cycle data right now. As it stands I have no idea...stupid new blog. Will share in the Dec LSAT thread, too.


Hi Spivey,

Wondering if you can clarify the numbers and % changes?

In link 1( http://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/law-sc ... t-of-2015/), the <140 group had 862 applicants and I assume this includes some from the Dec 2014 LSAT administration.

In link 2 (http://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/2015-1 ... data-lsat/), the same group has 966 applicants, yet this is a shown as a DECREASE of 14% compared to same time last year even though the Dec 2015 LSAT administration isn't accounted for? Doesn't that mean that last year this time there would have been 1124 applicants for the same group by this time?

Or did I misunderstand the numbers?

Thanks!


I am exceptionally getting bombarded with texts and calls and emails so I spent about 2 seconds reading this above, apologies, but I think you may be comparing Dec data (this year) versus jan data (last year).

Also MORE DATA HERE:

http://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/2015-1 ... schools-2/

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

Postby lawyersHATEhim » Sat Dec 05, 2015 7:11 pm

How much more competitive will this cycle be for T14 applicants? I know there's an increase in LSAT takers, but are these better applicants?
Are schools expecting to try to raise their median LSAT scores?

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

Postby pterodactyls » Sun Dec 06, 2015 3:46 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
Petrichor wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:If someone knows how to take all of the cycle data I have from a PDF and put into a format in Markdown that I can publish in Ghost, I coulld share with everyone the super important cycle data right now. As it stands I have no idea...stupid new blog. Will share in the Dec LSAT thread, too.


Hi Spivey,

Wondering if you can clarify the numbers and % changes?

In link 1( http://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/law-sc ... t-of-2015/), the <140 group had 862 applicants and I assume this includes some from the Dec 2014 LSAT administration.

In link 2 (http://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/2015-1 ... data-lsat/), the same group has 966 applicants, yet this is a shown as a DECREASE of 14% compared to same time last year even though the Dec 2015 LSAT administration isn't accounted for? Doesn't that mean that last year this time there would have been 1124 applicants for the same group by this time?

Or did I misunderstand the numbers?

Thanks!


I am exceptionally getting bombarded with texts and calls and emails so I spent about 2 seconds reading this above, apologies, but I think you may be comparing Dec data (this year) versus jan data (last year).

Also MORE DATA HERE:

http://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/2015-1 ... schools-2/


So this new data suggests that this cycle will be more competitive at the top schools, and less competitive and the T3 and T4 schools?

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

Postby Zwiff » Mon Dec 07, 2015 7:04 am

UVA has a required application question that asks you to list your "significant extracurricular, extra-professional, community and/or other activities in the order of importance to you" and to "provide a brief description of each activity, and specify your involvement, length of involvement, special projects, and responsibilities."

If my main extracurriculars are already on my resume with the information UVA wants, would it be acceptable to write "See resume" or something? Or should I also just answer the question fully in the section on the application?

sjp200
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Penn, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby sjp200 » Mon Dec 07, 2015 7:25 am

Zwiff wrote:UVA has a required application question that asks you to list your "significant extracurricular, extra-professional, community and/or other activities in the order of importance to you" and to "provide a brief description of each activity, and specify your involvement, length of involvement, special projects, and responsibilities."

If my main extracurriculars are already on my resume with the information UVA wants, would it be acceptable to write "See resume" or something? Or should I also just answer the question fully in the section on the application?


Write it anyway. Don't take any risks of them seeing you as a "lazy" applicant.

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Dec 07, 2015 8:41 am

sjp200 wrote:
Zwiff wrote:UVA has a required application question that asks you to list your "significant extracurricular, extra-professional, community and/or other activities in the order of importance to you" and to "provide a brief description of each activity, and specify your involvement, length of involvement, special projects, and responsibilities."

If my main extracurriculars are already on my resume with the information UVA wants, would it be acceptable to write "See resume" or something? Or should I also just answer the question fully in the section on the application?


Write it anyway. Don't take any risks of them seeing you as a "lazy" applicant.


+1. Don't leave anything blank that you do not have to.

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Dec 07, 2015 9:09 am

pterodactyls wrote: So this new data suggests that this cycle will be more competitive at the top schools, and less competitive and the T3 and T4 schools?


Perhaps. What is really suggests to me is that a large number of folks were retaking the December LSAT. The rest I'd like to see us at around the 50% mark before making any sweeping conclusions. Also keep in mind that LSAT scores 165 and above last year were down down down. So many schools had to decrease class sizes, indeed 17 of the top 22. That costs money in tuition revenue. So it is highly possible top schools will simply bring class sizes back to profitable levels, and thus the cycle may not be any more competitive.

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

Postby WhiteHouse » Mon Dec 07, 2015 9:18 am

MikeSpivey wrote:
So it is highly possible top schools will simply bring class sizes back to profitable levels, and thus the cycle may not be any more competitive.


This would be incredible

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Dexter97
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Penn, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby Dexter97 » Mon Dec 07, 2015 9:20 am

WhiteHouse wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
So it is highly possible top schools will simply bring class sizes back to profitable levels, and thus the cycle may not be any more competitive.


This would be incredible


I vote for this option :lol:

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

Postby pterodactyls » Mon Dec 07, 2015 10:18 am

Dexter97 wrote:
WhiteHouse wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
So it is highly possible top schools will simply bring class sizes back to profitable levels, and thus the cycle may not be any more competitive.


This would be incredible


I vote for this option :lol:


Agreed. Thanks Mike! That's very insightful.

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Dec 07, 2015 12:44 pm

Just an fyi, I'll be off the grid the rest of the week starting now consulting for a school. So if you have a PM or question for here I would route them to Karen or Derek. Thanks!

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

Postby roranoa » Sun Dec 13, 2015 1:02 am

Hi, I would love to get some advice on writing my PS.

I'm currently juggling a few topics in my head (my passion for [hobby], my gap year experience, what I learned from traveling) but I'm not yet sure what to settle for. I'm leaning on writing about my passion for [hobby] but I have one concern about it.

When I asked a couple of on campus advisers about the "passion for [hobby]" topic, they said that would lack substance as to "WHY" I want to go to law school. Of course I am planning to briefly mention it at the end by saying that I want to pursue a more intellectually challenging field that has practical value. Regardless, they say that I should expand on why I am specifically aiming for law school and that part of the essay is crucial.

What are your thoughts on that? I read many PS's here on TLS or from other websites and have seen that many do not even mention law school in any way so I assumed it would be okay to do that. But is there something I'm missing when it comes to choosing the right topic for one's PS?

Any advice would be helpful!

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:20 am

roranoa wrote:Hi, I would love to get some advice on writing my PS.

I'm currently juggling a few topics in my head (my passion for [hobby], my gap year experience, what I learned from traveling) but I'm not yet sure what to settle for. I'm leaning on writing about my passion for [hobby] but I have one concern about it.

When I asked a couple of on campus advisers about the "passion for [hobby]" topic, they said that would lack substance as to "WHY" I want to go to law school. Of course I am planning to briefly mention it at the end by saying that I want to pursue a more intellectually challenging field that has practical value. Regardless, they say that I should expand on why I am specifically aiming for law school and that part of the essay is crucial.

What are your thoughts on that? I read many PS's here on TLS or from other websites and have seen that many do not even mention law school in any way so I assumed it would be okay to do that. But is there something I'm missing when it comes to choosing the right topic for one's PS?

Any advice would be helpful!


For a variety of reasons it is difficult for us to give out individualized advice here. What I can say is that there are a lot of myths about schools wanting to know "why law school" -- when most schools default to the fact that if you are applying to law school you want to go. Because of said myths, most often from those with zero law school admissions decision-making experience, law schools get saturated why "Why Law" type personal statements. Would you want to read these time and time and time again -- especially when they all start sounding the same? Read the PS prompt carefully for each school and you should be fine.

On a related note, for everyone, please be vary wary of advice from someone who has never actually worked in law school admissions. They are most often saying what they *think* they would do -- not always what actual admissions offices do.

deant286
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Penn, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby deant286 » Tue Dec 15, 2015 6:56 pm

hi, I was hoping one of the former ad. officers could clarify this for me:

after you have been accepted, is there a certain point at which a retake score would not matter for scholarship purposes anymore? i thought that i read somewhere that there was (maybe when a school extends to a candidate the initial scholarship offer based on that first score?) but I'm not sure.

just to be clear, I'm specifically asking about the t14. If I retake in February and improve my score, will schools I've already been accepted to consider that new score when offering money?

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

Postby woc » Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:01 pm

Removed.
Last edited by woc on Wed Jan 06, 2016 12:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Dec 15, 2015 8:58 pm

deant286 wrote:hi, I was hoping one of the former ad. officers could clarify this for me:

after you have been accepted, is there a certain point at which a retake score would not matter for scholarship purposes anymore? i thought that i read somewhere that there was (maybe when a school extends to a candidate the initial scholarship offer based on that first score?) but I'm not sure.

just to be clear, I'm specifically asking about the t14. If I retake in February and improve my score, will schools I've already been accepted to consider that new score when offering money?


There are a few schools, one in the top 14 that I know of, that do not take Feb LSAT scores without a petition. There are a few more that don't take June scores. But the majority would still very much take a higher score. That score is part in parcel to the admissions dean job success, so they are binding themselves if they do not -- and they get this.

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

Postby roranoa » Wed Dec 16, 2015 1:01 am

Hi,

I have another question about personal statements.

Is there something in particular that admissions officers are looking for when evaluating a PS from an older student who has been out of school for awhile? Do you expect to see in their PS something about what they've been doing while they were out of school?

I have a PS written about my passion for [hobby] and how that influenced my perspective of life. A very cliche' topic, yes. That's what I'm worried about. But I'm also worried about whether if admissions officers prefer some other topic if you are NOT a kJD.

Thanks.

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

Postby LMD » Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:30 am

Hi Mike,

Perhaps too personal for this board, but I have what I think is a fairly unique situation. 177/3.68.

I applied last year ED to NU, got in, then withdrew with permission the next day as my spouse got a job as a professor at a low Top 50 school, where I am currently enrolled as a 1L.

Unfortunately, my spouse and I are getting divorced. I currently have two grades, both A+, and I anticipate the other two will be in the A range.

I contacted two schools I would be targeting in the T14 and both said I would be allowed to reapply as a 1L but I wouldn't get any credit for my current classes.

I have no interest in staying where I am and am either going to finish the year and transfer, or quit now and reapply as 1L. If I transfer, though, I'm going to be paying sticker at somewhere like Harvard, whereas if I drop out now, I will likely get a decent amount from other T14 schools so long as I really can reapply as a 1L and not have my history held against me.

Do you have any recommendations on this? How bad of shape would I be admissions-wise if I do decided to reapply to top schools as a 1L instead of finishing the year where I'm at and transferring?

Thank you for any advice you can provide.


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