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

Special forum where professionals are encouraged to help law school applicants, students, and graduates.

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

Postby Broncos15 » Mon May 23, 2016 12:03 pm

Hello Ms. Buttenbaum,

It was a pleasure speaking on the phone last week and learning about Spivey Consulting.

I had a quick question I wanted to post here in case it helps any future applicants. I have a question regarding my LSAC GPA calculation.

As I mentioned, I plan on receiving a Bachelor's degree from a four year school with a 3.7 GPA and afterwards may attend a Christian Insititue. It is a 9 month program in which I would receive Master's credit but not a degree. The standard policy of the institute is not to release grades with the transcript (it will just show that I have completed the classes). However, they do record grades for students in the event that they would need them.

As the standard policy of the institute is not to release grades but only show the credits, am I obligated by LSAC to have those grades on my transcript? Even if it is optional, would it look "sketchy" if I didn't release grades? I don't want law schools to make an assumption that I did poorly because I didn't want to disclose my grades.

Thanks for the help!

RPlatt85
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Penn, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby RPlatt85 » Wed May 25, 2016 8:57 pm

Hi,

I have a somewhat unusual question (or so I imagine.) I attended a T30 law school for one semester (although I didn't take any finals), before leaving to take a job in politics. I originally scored a 166 on my LSAT in 2012, but retook it recently and scored a 175. Would any T14 law school consider me? Any T6? I have a good GPA and great work experience in between, and feel I can explain well why I want to go back to law school, but I don't want to quit my career if I have no shot at a great law school.

Thanks in advance for your help!

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Fri May 27, 2016 5:00 pm

RPlatt85 wrote:Hi,

I have a somewhat unusual question (or so I imagine.) I attended a T30 law school for one semester (although I didn't take any finals), before leaving to take a job in politics. I originally scored a 166 on my LSAT in 2012, but retook it recently and scored a 175. Would any T14 law school consider me? Any T6? I have a good GPA and great work experience in between, and feel I can explain well why I want to go back to law school, but I don't want to quit my career if I have no shot at a great law school.

Thanks in advance for your help!


You will have some explaining to do, but you should absolutely apply. You don't have to quit to apply, do you?

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Fri May 27, 2016 5:27 pm

Broncos15 wrote:Hello Ms. Buttenbaum,

It was a pleasure speaking on the phone last week and learning about Spivey Consulting.

I had a quick question I wanted to post here in case it helps any future applicants. I have a question regarding my LSAC GPA calculation.

As I mentioned, I plan on receiving a Bachelor's degree from a four year school with a 3.7 GPA and afterwards may attend a Christian Insititue. It is a 9 month program in which I would receive Master's credit but not a degree. The standard policy of the institute is not to release grades with the transcript (it will just show that I have completed the classes). However, they do record grades for students in the event that they would need them.

As the standard policy of the institute is not to release grades but only show the credits, am I obligated by LSAC to have those grades on my transcript? Even if it is optional, would it look "sketchy" if I didn't release grades? I don't want law schools to make an assumption that I did poorly because I didn't want to disclose my grades.

Thanks for the help!


If the school is considered a "graduate institution" then the transcript will be required. Even if you don't receive a degree, the transcript might be required. LSAC and the schools are pretty inclusive on what they want to see with regard to transcripts. The fact that it might not have grades is irrelevant in deciding whether or not you need to send it, but if the school's policy is to send the transcript with just credits, you can just start by sending that in. But it sounds like you have the option to release those grades, so you can cross that bridge when you get to it.

Hope that helps!
KB

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Fri May 27, 2016 5:29 pm

Does anyone know of any school videos from TV commercials (or from law school websites for that matter) that are cutting edge and different? Not necessarily law school - we are open to looking at everything. We've been tasked with coming up with a theme for a school video and we'd love your input!

Thanks in advance!

KB

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

Postby splitterfromhell » Sat May 28, 2016 4:09 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:Does anyone know of any school videos from TV commercials (or from law school websites for that matter) that are cutting edge and different? Not necessarily law school - we are open to looking at everything. We've been tasked with coming up with a theme for a school video and we'd love your input!

Thanks in advance!

KB


I always thought this was well done.


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

Postby MikeSpivey » Sun May 29, 2016 2:28 pm

splitterfromhell wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:Does anyone know of any school videos from TV commercials (or from law school websites for that matter) that are cutting edge and different? Not necessarily law school - we are open to looking at everything. We've been tasked with coming up with a theme for a school video and we'd love your input!

Thanks in advance!

KB


I always thought this was well done.



Definitely differentiated and well-done. Thanks!

Has anyone seen any law school videos they like or are different. For example, WUSTL has a cartoon. it is well-done but I don't like the cartoon element (it does for some reason have you watch until the end).

TXguy2016
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Penn, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby TXguy2016 » Wed Jun 01, 2016 5:31 pm

Hello,

I had a question: in what types of cases outside of URM, veteran status, or super softs (like a Pulitzer Prize), have you seen someone outperform their "numbers"?

I am mostly interested in stories about disability. My situation is this; born with a congenital disability that is very rare. (don't want to give away too much disclosure for privacy reasons as only 1 in 50,000 Americans have it so I don't want to inadvertently self identify). Further complicating this, I had an accident after my freshman year of college that made the disability worse and made me withdraw a semester of school due to recovery from a surgery. This disability has had a direct impact on my ability to complete schoolwork as it took me longer to read assigned material and complete assignments.

However, there has been a very recent procedure for my condition that only 80 people have taken. It will not make things 100% better, but I will likely have a substantial improvement that will make it easier for me to complete my schoolwork. (again I do not want to get into the details).
I have a 3.7 GPA which I know is solid, but I was wondering (assuming the surgery works well and I get the desired results) if I could outperform my numbers from both an admissions and scholarships perspective. I have finished undergrad so I cannot improve on my GPA or do anything to qualitatively prove that I would do academically better without a disability.(the next level of school for me would be law school, as I do not foresee myself getting a Masters/attending grad school before law)

I currently do not have an LSAT score.

Thanks!

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dietcoke1
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Penn, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby dietcoke1 » Tue Jun 07, 2016 2:15 pm

I know its been said that schools only care about your high score on the LSAT. But I've heard conflicting information about HYS.

Do these schools look down on multiple takes of the LSAT? Or are they with everyone else in caring only about your high score?

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

Postby aptivych » Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:26 pm

Hello there,

Thank you so much for all your help answering our questions.

I have a quick but urgent question: I already have one cancellation on my LSAT record and I'm contemplating whether it would be a good idea to cancel for the second time. How bad is two cancellations back to back? Would it be better to keep my score even though it's likely to be sub-par (I had some horrible testing conditions in which my proctor failed to give us the full 35 minutes for some of the sections).

Thank you so much for your reply!

-aptivych

hunt godlink
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Postby hunt godlink » Thu Jun 09, 2016 9:29 am

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Last edited by hunt godlink on Sat Jul 02, 2016 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Jun 09, 2016 9:48 am

Apologies for our lack of response this week - Mike, Derek and I are all at a conference this week. We will be back on the grid soon!

Cheers,
KB

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Jun 09, 2016 9:55 am

aptivych wrote:Hello there,

Thank you so much for all your help answering our questions.

I have a quick but urgent question: I already have one cancellation on my LSAT record and I'm contemplating whether it would be a good idea to cancel for the second time. How bad is two cancellations back to back? Would it be better to keep my score even though it's likely to be sub-par (I had some horrible testing conditions in which my proctor failed to give us the full 35 minutes for some of the sections).

Thank you so much for your reply!

-aptivych


There are many considerations, but two cancels are not bad if you have a solid third score. It does put a lot of pressure on yourself to do well the third time since that is the limit within three years.
High score is usually the only thing they care about if it is three takes. My general advice is not to cancel -- tho you probably know best since you were cut short on time.

hope that helps!

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:40 pm

Hi all, back from the conference will answer questions in here and the few I have in PMs over the weekend!

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Jun 14, 2016 1:55 pm

dietcoke1 wrote:I know its been said that schools only care about your high score on the LSAT. But I've heard conflicting information about HYS.

Do these schools look down on multiple takes of the LSAT? Or are they with everyone else in caring only about your high score?


If you feel that you can even get just 1 point higher, and you are not at their median or 75th (especially if below median GPA), use a second and third take. You will hear and see a lot of misleading information on this very topic. We have blogged about it, written on the Powerscore blog about it, spoken across the country on this, etc etc. lease believe me when I say the high score is the score that counts. It is the only score that goes to the ABA and USNWR. I die inside everytime someone does not retake because they worry about scores being averaged or looked down upon.

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dietcoke1
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Penn, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby dietcoke1 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 3:30 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
dietcoke1 wrote:I know its been said that schools only care about your high score on the LSAT. But I've heard conflicting information about HYS.

Do these schools look down on multiple takes of the LSAT? Or are they with everyone else in caring only about your high score?


If you feel that you can even get just 1 point higher, and you are not at their median or 75th (especially if below median GPA), use a second and third take. You will hear and see a lot of misleading information on this very topic. We have blogged about it, written on the Powerscore blog about it, spoken across the country on this, etc etc. lease believe me when I say the high score is the score that counts. It is the only score that goes to the ABA and USNWR. I die inside everytime someone does not retake because they worry about scores being averaged or looked down upon.



Thank you Spivey! Your willingness to answer questions is very much appreciated.

Also, do you happen to have any updates for those of us that are waitlisted? How are things progressing this year? From this point, should we expect little or lots of movement?

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Jun 14, 2016 6:05 pm

dietcoke1 wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
dietcoke1 wrote:I know its been said that schools only care about your high score on the LSAT. But I've heard conflicting information about HYS.

Do these schools look down on multiple takes of the LSAT? Or are they with everyone else in caring only about your high score?


If you feel that you can even get just 1 point higher, and you are not at their median or 75th (especially if below median GPA), use a second and third take. You will hear and see a lot of misleading information on this very topic. We have blogged about it, written on the Powerscore blog about it, spoken across the country on this, etc etc. lease believe me when I say the high score is the score that counts. It is the only score that goes to the ABA and USNWR. I die inside everytime someone does not retake because they worry about scores being averaged or looked down upon.



Thank you Spivey! Your willingness to answer questions is very much appreciated.

Also, do you happen to have any updates for those of us that are waitlisted? How are things progressing this year? From this point, should we expect little or lots of movement?


There should be some dominoes falling down the line now that Stanford took a number of people.

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

Postby Famous » Fri Jun 17, 2016 2:38 am

I received a misdemeanor reckless driving charge a few years ago as a UG for speeding while driving through Virginia. Any speed above 80 MPH is considered reckless driving in VA and I got the charge despite going just 1 MPH above a regular speeding charge. FWIW, I was allowed to continue driving after being pulled over. Besides one other minor moving violation, I have had no other issues with the law. Soon after the charge, I took a driving course and got my DL points dropped back to 0.

Anyways.... I've read online that a reckless driving charge in VA is not listed as part of a criminal record due to the statute it falls under and the lawyer I hired for this case also told me this. Do I list my reckless on my law school application if it is technically not a misdemeanor? Is there any way to clarify this? I think I should list, but I am also worried my application will be negatively affected for a charge that (I believe, at least) doesn't fully fit the offense.

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:22 pm

Famous wrote:I received a misdemeanor reckless driving charge a few years ago as a UG for speeding while driving through Virginia. Any speed above 80 MPH is considered reckless driving in VA and I got the charge despite going just 1 MPH above a regular speeding charge. FWIW, I was allowed to continue driving after being pulled over. Besides one other minor moving violation, I have had no other issues with the law. Soon after the charge, I took a driving course and got my DL points dropped back to 0.

Anyways.... I've read online that a reckless driving charge in VA is not listed as part of a criminal record due to the statute it falls under and the lawyer I hired for this case also told me this. Do I list my reckless on my law school application if it is technically not a misdemeanor? Is there any way to clarify this? I think I should list, but I am also worried my application will be negatively affected for a charge that (I believe, at least) doesn't fully fit the offense.


We can't give out specific C&F advice without a signed contract, but on a broad level I wouldn't spend another second worrying about this no matter what you do. It would be absurd for anyone to care and I do not personally know anyone who would hold this against you.

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

Postby DerekMeeker » Sun Jun 19, 2016 1:14 pm

hunt godlink wrote:
deanmeeker wrote:
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.

Thank you for the response, Dean Meeker. Just to follow up, I ended up doing the "informational meeting," sending a thank you note, and also another LOCI. Other reverse splitters with my numbers have been accepted off the wait list, which is slightly concerning. I'm currently contemplating visiting and meeting with an admissions officer for a second meeting in a few weeks. What are your thoughts on this? Penn is my absolute top choice, and I'm willing to do all that I can to get in. Thanks again for taking the time to respond, I really do appreciate it!


Hello, sorry I didn't see your post earlier. If you did the informational meeting via Skype or phone and have not yet visited the school, then it may be worth making the trip. If nothing else, it would be something new you could do to connect with them and stay on their radar. Given what we hearing from our clients, I suspect there will continue to be some wait list movement at the top schools over the next few weeks. Good luck!

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Jun 20, 2016 10:03 am

Hi everyone.

Far too many people force a diversity statement on admissions offices. Here is a blog from Karen Buttenbaum about her thoughts on this from her time as Director of Admissions at Harvard Law.

http://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/when-s ... statement/

Also, have missed any questions in this thread while at the admissions/pre-law conference? Thanks!

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

Postby a_j_l » Mon Jun 20, 2016 2:49 pm

Thank you Spivey et al. for such an informative thread--it has been a huge help as I get my bearings on this whole process!

I have a quick question about application timelines. I am planning on taking the LSAT in September but am curious about what my back-up plan should be if I don't get the desired score. In the past, you've said that applying after the December LSAT was fine if it could potentially increase your LSAT score and wasn't considered late. Do you think that's still true in light of the increase of LSAT takers? I don't know if you have any way of assessing this, but I'm particularly interested in whether applying post-December LSAT would impact scholarship offers in a cycle with more applicants, even if you had scores that were at/above the medians of schools you were applying to.

Thank you in advance!

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

Postby DerekMeeker » Tue Jun 21, 2016 1:16 pm

a_j_l wrote:Thank you Spivey et al. for such an informative thread--it has been a huge help as I get my bearings on this whole process!

I have a quick question about application timelines. I am planning on taking the LSAT in September but am curious about what my back-up plan should be if I don't get the desired score. In the past, you've said that applying after the December LSAT was fine if it could potentially increase your LSAT score and wasn't considered late. Do you think that's still true in light of the increase of LSAT takers? I don't know if you have any way of assessing this, but I'm particularly interested in whether applying post-December LSAT would impact scholarship offers in a cycle with more applicants, even if you had scores that were at/above the medians of schools you were applying to.

Thank you in advance!


Hi there. Yes, still fine to take the December LSAT; I would just advise completing and submitting your applications before December 1 but letting the schools know that you are taking the December test and asking that they wait for your new score before reviewing. At least that way everything else in your application will be submitted, and the school can then complete it and begin the review process as soon as the new score is available. If you wait to submit your applications until later in December, as the holiday break nears, or after you receive your LSAT score, it delays the completion/review process further. Schools still award scholarships to applicants that apply in December. Bottom line is: Yes, of course the best case scenario is always to have your best application (with best possible LSAT score) submitted earlier, but if taking the December LSAT results in a higher score that will make you more competitive at your target schools, that will outweigh the advantage of an earlier application. Good luck!

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

Postby Itsnotalwayssunny » Mon Jun 27, 2016 2:18 pm

Last week, I received a rescission-of-offer letter from the t-14 school I was going to attend--I was recently arrested for felony drug possession. There is a strong chance, the case will be dismissed before the start of the school year. At this point, I would be willing to attend any of the law schools that admitted me; I was admitted to about twenty different law schools. Since I had committed to a law school, I withdrew all my other applications. Is it worth it for me to reach out to those other schools? I qualify for 100% of the G.I. Bill, so money is not a factor. I recognize that if I am found guilty, I may not even be able to pass the C&F section of the BAR. With that in mind, I really want to study law, and I am willing to assume that risk. Any feedback would be beneficial, thanks.

poptart123
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Re: Q&A with former Harvard, Penn, Chicago, Vandy Admissions officers

Postby poptart123 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:15 am

I was lucky to receive a 6 point increase on my LSAT yesterday. I'm hoping this will greatly help my chances on some of the WLs I'm currently on. Besides a traditional LOCI, sent by email, updating the schools with my new LSAT score, is there anything else I should do?

Thank you!


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