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
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2. Podcast advice
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3. Video advice
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4. Just keep it all on TLS
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Total votes: 0

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

Postby AshburtonGrove » Wed Apr 13, 2016 5:08 pm

Hi all,

I'm trying to best maximize my chances for getting a competitive offer from Berkeley's matching scholarship program, but I'm not sure which offer to submit. I got into Harvard and received a small need-based grant as well as a $105k scholarship from a lower T14 school. Which do you think would yield the greatest matching offer from Berkeley? Thanks!

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

Postby JuliusCaesar » Wed Apr 13, 2016 5:46 pm

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Last edited by JuliusCaesar on Wed May 11, 2016 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby haus » Wed Apr 13, 2016 9:13 pm

Julius,

I would refer you to the advice from a former adcom on the subject of retaking the LSAT.

http://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/mistak ... at-advice/

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat Apr 16, 2016 11:06 am

We have a poll! We'll soon do one on blog topics too. Please bear with us as we mess this one up a few hundred times.

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:59 am

Hi all,

I'm looking for an hour's worth (roughly) of work on an easy but somewhat interesting project -- for which I will return with an hour of free advice via phone or Skype, valued at 1 MILLLIOOOON DOLLARS.

Please PM me. I will update this post once I found my person. Many thanks!

Mike

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Apr 18, 2016 10:28 am

The above is already closed out. Thanks all!

jlet0314
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Penn, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby jlet0314 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 7:43 pm

With the uptick in higher LSAT scores this cycle - what kind of admissions impact would this have for next cycle? More specifically, for those applying right when applications are released in the fall.

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:58 am

jlet0314 wrote:With the uptick in higher LSAT scores this cycle - what kind of admissions impact would this have for next cycle? More specifically, for those applying right when applications are released in the fall.


Well, I think it will still pay off to apply when applications are released. This cycle, that amounted to a exceptional advantage relative to those who applied in January or onward, which makes complete sense. Law schools were riding a 5 year wave of decreases in applications and were much more lenient early on. Later on (Jan - April) I think many at the top have become too conservative and we should see a good deal of summer melting.

Next cycle, I think you will see a downtick in high scoring applications and an uptick in mid level (think like 40-90 range schools) school applications. I'm guessing things will be stable above and below that.

But, if you have your set LSAT score, get in immediately. It can be the gift that keeps giving and still should be more lenient then.

hunt godlink
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Postby hunt godlink » Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:15 am

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Last edited by hunt godlink on Thu May 19, 2016 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ls2k16
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Penn, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby ls2k16 » Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:29 am

MikeSpivey wrote:
jlet0314 wrote:With the uptick in higher LSAT scores this cycle - what kind of admissions impact would this have for next cycle? More specifically, for those applying right when applications are released in the fall.


Well, I think it will still pay off to apply when applications are released. This cycle, that amounted to a exceptional advantage relative to those who applied in January or onward, which makes complete sense. Law schools were riding a 5 year wave of decreases in applications and were much more lenient early on. Later on (Jan - April) I think many at the top have become too conservative and we should see a good deal of summer melting.

Next cycle, I think you will see a downtick in high scoring applications and an uptick in mid level (think like 40-90 range schools) school applications. I'm guessing things will be stable above and below that.

But, if you have your set LSAT score, get in immediately. It can be the gift that keeps giving and still should be more lenient then.

Just to clarify: do you suspect there will be a lot (relative to previous cycles) of waitlist movement among the top 14 this year?

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Apr 20, 2016 12:52 pm

ls2k16 wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
jlet0314 wrote:With the uptick in higher LSAT scores this cycle - what kind of admissions impact would this have for next cycle? More specifically, for those applying right when applications are released in the fall.


Well, I think it will still pay off to apply when applications are released. This cycle, that amounted to a exceptional advantage relative to those who applied in January or onward, which makes complete sense. Law schools were riding a 5 year wave of decreases in applications and were much more lenient early on. Later on (Jan - April) I think many at the top have become too conservative and we should see a good deal of summer melting.

Next cycle, I think you will see a downtick in high scoring applications and an uptick in mid level (think like 40-90 range schools) school applications. I'm guessing things will be stable above and below that.

But, if you have your set LSAT score, get in immediately. It can be the gift that keeps giving and still should be more lenient then.

Just to clarify: do you suspect there will be a lot (relative to previous cycles) of waitlist movement among the top 14 this year?


That would depend on your definition of previous cycles. I suspect there will be more movement than many law schools in the top 25 suspect. And I think we will know a lot more in early May. Beyond that, I think my speculation is as much of a guess as anyone's at this stage.

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Apr 21, 2016 12:09 pm

About that project I mentioned a few posts ago, here it is. Viewbooks of as many law schools (165) as we could find:

http://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/vb/

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

Postby TexasENG » Thu Apr 21, 2016 2:18 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:About that project I mentioned a few posts ago, here it is. Viewbooks of as many law schools (165) as we could find:

http://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/vb/



Oo. This is fantastic. You are awesome as always! Thanks for putting this together!

Fab25
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Penn, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby Fab25 » Thu Apr 21, 2016 2:51 pm

Hi all,

First off thanks for this thread, it's been very helpful. I'm in a bit of a unique situation and would appreciate any input.

I was admitted to a school ED back in December, but since that time some unforeseen financial difficulties have arose which makes it rather unjustifiable for me to pay sticker (I was awarded no aid). I now plan to sit out and work for one or two years before re-applying RD in order to negotiate potential scholarships.

In the interim while I was awaiting my ED decision, I applied to a few other peer schools and then withdraw these apps upon my ED acceptance. These peer schools were all notified of my ED acceptance to that other school (I presume that info would remain in my file?). I am wondering if you think my situation will be looked upon unfavorably by both the school that I applied ED to but wasn't able to attend as well as the peer schools when I re-apply in one or two cycles? Or is it the case that each new cycle is a blank slate, so to speak?

Any advice would be appreciated as I'm in a precarious financial situation but would hate to hurt my chances in the future since I was admitted to a great school. I imagine that I will only boost my resume during my time off and will be an objectively better candidate if not for concerns about how schools will construe the ED situation when I re-apply.

DAFFODILS2019
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Penn, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby DAFFODILS2019 » Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:00 am

After the first LOCI, what should the next LOCI be like? Much obliged.

Loney M. Setnick
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Penn, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby Loney M. Setnick » Sat Apr 23, 2016 3:46 am

Hi! Thanks for answering questions.
What should a professional LOCI consist of? What should be discussed and how should it differ from an academic one?

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

Postby DerekMeeker » Sat Apr 23, 2016 2:58 pm

hunt godlink wrote:Hi,

I applied ED to Penn as a reverse splitter, got waitlisted, and am doing all that I can to get in at the moment. Throughout the cycle, I have submitted a why Penn essay, a tailored letter of recommendation, and multiple LOCIs saying that I will attend if admitted. I also plan to visit and meet with an admissions officer next month. Is there anything else I can do besides what I have already done to demonstrate my commitment toward Penn and increase my chances of getting off the wait list? Thanks!


Hi there. Sounds as though you've done everything you can up to this point. They usually send an invitation to applicants on the wait list to interview (either via Skype or in person) shortly after the May 1 deposit deadline. A good interview will certainly increase your chances for admission if they are seeking more candidates with high GPAs. At a minimum, be prepared to answer in the interview: why law/career goals, why Penn, how you will contribute to the Penn community (inside and outside the classroom). After the interview, you can send a brief thank you note that reiterates why you are a good fit for Penn/how you will contribute and that Penn is your top choice.

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

Postby DerekMeeker » Sat Apr 23, 2016 3:08 pm

Fab25 wrote:Hi all,

First off thanks for this thread, it's been very helpful. I'm in a bit of a unique situation and would appreciate any input.

I was admitted to a school ED back in December, but since that time some unforeseen financial difficulties have arose which makes it rather unjustifiable for me to pay sticker (I was awarded no aid). I now plan to sit out and work for one or two years before re-applying RD in order to negotiate potential scholarships.

In the interim while I was awaiting my ED decision, I applied to a few other peer schools and then withdraw these apps upon my ED acceptance. These peer schools were all notified of my ED acceptance to that other school (I presume that info would remain in my file?). I am wondering if you think my situation will be looked upon unfavorably by both the school that I applied ED to but wasn't able to attend as well as the peer schools when I re-apply in one or two cycles? Or is it the case that each new cycle is a blank slate, so to speak?

Any advice would be appreciated as I'm in a precarious financial situation but would hate to hurt my chances in the future since I was admitted to a great school. I imagine that I will only boost my resume during my time off and will be an objectively better candidate if not for concerns about how schools will construe the ED situation when I re-apply.


Just explain your situation to the school (to which you were admitted ED) and why you are withdrawing. As long as you communicate professionally and openly with them now, I don't think they will look unfavorably upon your application when you reapply. I also advise including a concise addendum in your future application, both to this school and the others from which you withdrew, explaining why you decided to withdraw and reapply.

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

Postby DerekMeeker » Sat Apr 23, 2016 3:31 pm

DAFFODILS2019 wrote:After the first LOCI, what should the next LOCI be like? Much obliged.


Well, to some extent, it depends on what was in the first letter (and even your initial application). But here is what I think is generally helpful in LOCIs:

1) Did your initial application discuss why law, your academic interests, career goals, and/or why the school is a good fit? If not, that is a great place to start for a LOCI. And even if it did, you can sometimes expand on these topics and get more specific. And of course if you have personal reasons for wanting to be at the school or in the city it is located in, let them know that.

2) Find a way to personally connect with the school. Connect with someone who is a current student or alum (or otherwise affiliated) with the school and talk with them. If you can, visit the school. Even if you don't get to meet with an admissions staff member (as many schools will not provide that option), you can at least meet other folks at the law school and get a sense of the place. Visiting also conveys a genuine interest in the school that can sometimes be harder to convey in a letter, when so many other people are also saying: You're my top choice. The point is: the more you can personalize the letter by showing you've communicated with members of the law school community, the better. That takes the letter a level beyond point #1: here are my goals/interests and why I want to attend your school.

3) Any updates to your academic work, professional work, activities, or service. If you're in school, beyond simply sending an updated transcript, did you complete a thesis or some other interesting paper or project? Same with work: you might still be doing the same job at the same company, but is there a new project or something new you can highlight?

Also, this question was one of the first to be addressed in the recent wait list webinar that Mike participated in with Deans Zearfoss (Michigan) and Rivera (Texas), so you might find it helpful. http://lawpreview.barbri.com/weighing-l ... -waitlist/

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

Postby beantheshadow » Sat Apr 23, 2016 4:10 pm

Hello,

Was reading through this thread and saw a few comments by Mike about LSAT scores that jump 10+ points between takes. He said we would have to explain it to the schools? I would hate to write an unnecessary addendum that highlights the first low score.

Basically the reason I got the low score was because I did not adequately prepare for the LSAT the first time (really, really stupid in hindsight :oops: ). I had taken one PT before it and gotten a low-score, asked the only other person I knew who was preparing for Law School about what I should do, and got some really bad advice ("You cannot increase in any section on the LSAT but LG,"). So I just went ahead an took it, although this is pretty lame excuse it's the truth. If I wrote this in an addendum, I feel like an admissions might think I'm making excuses, or question my judgment (which I probably wouldn't blame them). This was before I discovered TLS, and all the amazing LSAT resources (7sage, LSATrainer, Thinking LSAT podcast etc.), so I had a pretty significant increase of my score.

If I write an addendum, I don't see how it would help other than highlighting a negative. Especially since my low score wasn't due to some family emergency, sickness, test-day freeze. Do you have any advice on this?

For more perspective my takes were a year and a half apart. So I was just kind of hoping the increase would speak for itself and show that "Hey, this kid got this horrible score, and instead of rushing into crushing law-school debt, took a step back, re-took and put himself in a better position."

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

Postby DerekMeeker » Sat Apr 23, 2016 6:02 pm

deanmeeker wrote:
hunt godlink wrote:Hi,

I applied ED to Penn as a reverse splitter, got waitlisted, and am doing all that I can to get in at the moment. Throughout the cycle, I have submitted a why Penn essay, a tailored letter of recommendation, and multiple LOCIs saying that I will attend if admitted. I also plan to visit and meet with an admissions officer next month. Is there anything else I can do besides what I have already done to demonstrate my commitment toward Penn and increase my chances of getting off the wait list? Thanks!


Hi there. Sounds as though you've done everything you can up to this point. Penn usually sends an invitation to applicants on the wait list to interview (either via Skype or in person) shortly after the May 1 deposit deadline. A good interview will certainly increase your chances for admission if they are seeking more candidates with high GPAs. At a minimum, be prepared to answer in the interview: why law/career goals, why Penn, how you will contribute to the Penn community (inside and outside the classroom). After the interview, you can send a brief thank you note that reiterates why you are a good fit for Penn/how you will contribute and that Penn is your top choice.

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jetsfan1
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Penn, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby jetsfan1 » Sun Apr 24, 2016 2:48 am

beantheshadow wrote:Hello,

Was reading through this thread and saw a few comments by Mike about LSAT scores that jump 10+ points between takes. He said we would have to explain it to the schools? I would hate to write an unnecessary addendum that highlights the first low score.

Basically the reason I got the low score was because I did not adequately prepare for the LSAT the first time (really, really stupid in hindsight :oops: ). I had taken one PT before it and gotten a low-score, asked the only other person I knew who was preparing for Law School about what I should do, and got some really bad advice ("You cannot increase in any section on the LSAT but LG,"). So I just went ahead an took it, although this is pretty lame excuse it's the truth. If I wrote this in an addendum, I feel like an admissions might think I'm making excuses, or question my judgment (which I probably wouldn't blame them). This was before I discovered TLS, and all the amazing LSAT resources (7sage, LSATrainer, Thinking LSAT podcast etc.), so I had a pretty significant increase of my score.

If I write an addendum, I don't see how it would help other than highlighting a negative. Especially since my low score wasn't due to some family emergency, sickness, test-day freeze. Do you have any advice on this?

For more perspective my takes were a year and a half apart. So I was just kind of hoping the increase would speak for itself and show that "Hey, this kid got this horrible score, and instead of rushing into crushing law-school debt, took a step back, re-took and put himself in a better position."


Hey no expert but responding here because I had the same situation, although my takes were 2.5 years apart. For the T6, I only sent an addendum to Y but got in everywhere, so to be honest I don't think it made much of a difference at all. If you PM me I'll send you the addendum (it was much more concise then what you seem to be thinking). Obviously not to copy, but just to get a sense of what "worked" - and I put worked in quotes because I really don't think it made a difference. The time speaks for itself.

Regardless, good luck with your retake!

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

Postby pittsburghpirates » Sun Apr 24, 2016 9:08 am

jetsfan1 wrote:
beantheshadow wrote:Hello,

Was reading through this thread and saw a few comments by Mike about LSAT scores that jump 10+ points between takes. He said we would have to explain it to the schools? I would hate to write an unnecessary addendum that highlights the first low score.

Basically the reason I got the low score was because I did not adequately prepare for the LSAT the first time (really, really stupid in hindsight :oops: ). I had taken one PT before it and gotten a low-score, asked the only other person I knew who was preparing for Law School about what I should do, and got some really bad advice ("You cannot increase in any section on the LSAT but LG,"). So I just went ahead an took it, although this is pretty lame excuse it's the truth. If I wrote this in an addendum, I feel like an admissions might think I'm making excuses, or question my judgment (which I probably wouldn't blame them). This was before I discovered TLS, and all the amazing LSAT resources (7sage, LSATrainer, Thinking LSAT podcast etc.), so I had a pretty significant increase of my score.

If I write an addendum, I don't see how it would help other than highlighting a negative. Especially since my low score wasn't due to some family emergency, sickness, test-day freeze. Do you have any advice on this?

For more perspective my takes were a year and a half apart. So I was just kind of hoping the increase would speak for itself and show that "Hey, this kid got this horrible score, and instead of rushing into crushing law-school debt, took a step back, re-took and put himself in a better position."


Hey no expert but responding here because I had the same situation, although my takes were 2.5 years apart. For the T6, I only sent an addendum to Y but got in everywhere, so to be honest I don't think it made much of a difference at all. If you PM me I'll send you the addendum (it was much more concise then what you seem to be thinking). Obviously not to copy, but just to get a sense of what "worked" - and I put worked in quotes because I really don't think it made a difference. The time speaks for itself.

Regardless, good luck with your retake!


Also not an expert, but to add onto what jets said I was in the virtually exact same situation as you were. I wrote an addendum for the LSAT and submitted it to everywhere I applied and my cycle has gone as well as I could have hoped. Feel free to PM me, I'm also happy to share more details and my addendum provided I can dig it up!

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

Postby beantheshadow » Sun Apr 24, 2016 2:25 pm

jetsfan1 wrote:
beantheshadow wrote:Hello,

Was reading through this thread and saw a few comments by Mike about LSAT scores that jump 10+ points between takes. He said we would have to explain it to the schools? I would hate to write an unnecessary addendum that highlights the first low score.

Basically the reason I got the low score was because I did not adequately prepare for the LSAT the first time (really, really stupid in hindsight :oops: ). I had taken one PT before it and gotten a low-score, asked the only other person I knew who was preparing for Law School about what I should do, and got some really bad advice ("You cannot increase in any section on the LSAT but LG,"). So I just went ahead an took it, although this is pretty lame excuse it's the truth. If I wrote this in an addendum, I feel like an admissions might think I'm making excuses, or question my judgment (which I probably wouldn't blame them). This was before I discovered TLS, and all the amazing LSAT resources (7sage, LSATrainer, Thinking LSAT podcast etc.), so I had a pretty significant increase of my score.

If I write an addendum, I don't see how it would help other than highlighting a negative. Especially since my low score wasn't due to some family emergency, sickness, test-day freeze. Do you have any advice on this?

For more perspective my takes were a year and a half apart. So I was just kind of hoping the increase would speak for itself and show that "Hey, this kid got this horrible score, and instead of rushing into crushing law-school debt, took a step back, re-took and put himself in a better position."


Hey no expert but responding here because I had the same situation, although my takes were 2.5 years apart. For the T6, I only sent an addendum to Y but got in everywhere, so to be honest I don't think it made much of a difference at all. If you PM me I'll send you the addendum (it was much more concise then what you seem to be thinking). Obviously not to copy, but just to get a sense of what "worked" - and I put worked in quotes because I really don't think it made a difference. The time speaks for itself.

Regardless, good luck with your retake!



Awesome! If you could send that over, that would be great! That makes me feel better that the other schools didn't care at all. When you interviewed did they mention it at all? I actually already took the test again and got my score! :D I'm hoping to apply first week next cycle!!!

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

Postby beantheshadow » Sun Apr 24, 2016 2:25 pm

pittsburghpirates wrote:
jetsfan1 wrote:
beantheshadow wrote:Hello,

Was reading through this thread and saw a few comments by Mike about LSAT scores that jump 10+ points between takes. He said we would have to explain it to the schools? I would hate to write an unnecessary addendum that highlights the first low score.

Basically the reason I got the low score was because I did not adequately prepare for the LSAT the first time (really, really stupid in hindsight :oops: ). I had taken one PT before it and gotten a low-score, asked the only other person I knew who was preparing for Law School about what I should do, and got some really bad advice ("You cannot increase in any section on the LSAT but LG,"). So I just went ahead an took it, although this is pretty lame excuse it's the truth. If I wrote this in an addendum, I feel like an admissions might think I'm making excuses, or question my judgment (which I probably wouldn't blame them). This was before I discovered TLS, and all the amazing LSAT resources (7sage, LSATrainer, Thinking LSAT podcast etc.), so I had a pretty significant increase of my score.

If I write an addendum, I don't see how it would help other than highlighting a negative. Especially since my low score wasn't due to some family emergency, sickness, test-day freeze. Do you have any advice on this?

For more perspective my takes were a year and a half apart. So I was just kind of hoping the increase would speak for itself and show that "Hey, this kid got this horrible score, and instead of rushing into crushing law-school debt, took a step back, re-took and put himself in a better position."


Hey no expert but responding here because I had the same situation, although my takes were 2.5 years apart. For the T6, I only sent an addendum to Y but got in everywhere, so to be honest I don't think it made much of a difference at all. If you PM me I'll send you the addendum (it was much more concise then what you seem to be thinking). Obviously not to copy, but just to get a sense of what "worked" - and I put worked in quotes because I really don't think it made a difference. The time speaks for itself.

Regardless, good luck with your retake!


Also not an expert, but to add onto what jets said I was in the virtually exact same situation as you were. I wrote an addendum for the LSAT and submitted it to everywhere I applied and my cycle has gone as well as I could have hoped. Feel free to PM me, I'm also happy to share more details and my addendum provided I can dig it up!



Thanks, I'll send you a PM!


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