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
0
No votes
2. Podcast advice
0
No votes
3. Video advice
0
No votes
4. Just keep it all on TLS
0
No votes
5. Tweet it
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 0

User avatar
DerekMeeker
Posts: 196
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:31 am

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

Postby DerekMeeker » Fri Aug 26, 2016 1:41 pm

TexasENG wrote:Hi guys, as always thanks for answering so many questions. I had a quick question regarding personal statements. Is there a preferred / suggested format for them? Should we have a title, or a header / footer with our name and page number on it?


First, follow any instructions the school provides on the application – some are very explicit about format. If they don't provide explicit instructions, standard is: 1 inch margins, double-spaced, 11-point Times New Roman (or similar) font. Do create a header with your name and LSAC number and generic title (i.e., Personal Statement).

User avatar
TexasENG
Posts: 677
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 5:31 pm

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

Postby TexasENG » Fri Aug 26, 2016 2:47 pm

deanmeeker wrote:
TexasENG wrote:Hi guys, as always thanks for answering so many questions. I had a quick question regarding personal statements. Is there a preferred / suggested format for them? Should we have a title, or a header / footer with our name and page number on it?


First, follow any instructions the school provides on the application – some are very explicit about format. If they don't provide explicit instructions, standard is: 1 inch margins, double-spaced, 11-point Times New Roman (or similar) font. Do create a header with your name and LSAC number and generic title (i.e., Personal Statement).


Thanks for the information! It looked pretty odd just having two pages of text.

User avatar
DerekMeeker
Posts: 196
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:31 am

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

Postby DerekMeeker » Fri Aug 26, 2016 6:14 pm

Gitaroo_Dude wrote:Hi, I had two questions about possible addenda:

1. I got an F in a math class during my sophomore year, for missing too many labs. Should I address the F in an addendum and explain why I missed the labs? Wouldn't be much more than something along the lines of "I was an idiot, didn't bother to attend enough to save my grade."

2. Is it okay to write "Why X" essays for schools that don't explicitly ask for them? I'm thinking of writing a few for schools like William & Mary since my PS doesn't really address it directly. Would that help, or is it unnecessary?


1. Yes, do explain it and limit it to a few sentences. Take responsibility, express remorse/lesson learned.

2. Yes, as long as the instructions don't explicitly say not to upload additional documents/addenda.

tgc92
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 9:51 pm

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

Postby tgc92 » Fri Aug 26, 2016 11:15 pm

Hello! Thank you officers for taking the time to answer our questions!

I graduated from Princeton in 2014 and ended up with a low GPA, 2.89 (not sure what my LSAC uGPA is). I had a 3.21 average until my last semester in my senior year when I difficulty finishing my thesis on time and that affected the rest of the grades during that same semester. This aberrant semester decreased my GPA drastically, as you can tell.

Going to law school has always been my dream, and I still really wish to go to the best, such as HLS or Stanford. I currently work in DC and am planning on getting a MPA (or other Master's degree) in a few years after more work experience.

With that in mind, if I make it to one of top MPA/MPP programs, such as SAIS, Princeton, Harvard, or Fletchers, and redeem myself academically, would it be possible to get to a top law school like Harvard or Stanford? By the time I apply, I would be 5-7 years out of undergrad.

Moreover, if redeeming myself in this manner is possible, which MPA/MPP programs have you seen top law schools like HLS or Stanford consider to be academically rigorous and therefore to be a reputable enough soft? (For example, I've heard that Princeton's MPA is considered more academically rigorous than others and so to be better soft.) Have you possibly encountered or heard of a pattern of past instances of these top law schools admitting students more from certain MPA/MPP programs than others?

A few more related questions: Perhaps it would be more advantageous to attend MPA/MPP programs that have joint degrees already set up with one of these law schools? Or perhaps a MPA/MPP program with the same school, like the Kennedy School --> HLS?

Please let me know; law school is my dream so receiving a variety of advice from different admissions officers would be immensely appreciated!

User avatar
Gitaroo_Dude
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2016 10:06 pm

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

Postby Gitaroo_Dude » Sat Aug 27, 2016 4:10 pm

deanmeeker wrote:1. Yes, do explain it and limit it to a few sentences. Take responsibility, express remorse/lesson learned.

2. Yes, as long as the instructions don't explicitly say not to upload additional documents/addenda.


Thanks! That's a big relief on the second point. It would have felt so inorganic trying to shoehorn a paragraph or two for every school into my PS.

One other question I forgot to ask earlier:

On my LSAC profile I have my ethnicity listed as European along with Chicano/Mexican. I identify mostly as white, but my mom is Mexican, so it seemed natural to list that too. I'm safe and won't get URM status, right? I just don't want to come off as disingenuous to adcomms.

User avatar
DerekMeeker
Posts: 196
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:31 am

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

Postby DerekMeeker » Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:07 am

Gitaroo_Dude wrote:
deanmeeker wrote:1. Yes, do explain it and limit it to a few sentences. Take responsibility, express remorse/lesson learned.

2. Yes, as long as the instructions don't explicitly say not to upload additional documents/addenda.


Thanks! That's a big relief on the second point. It would have felt so inorganic trying to shoehorn a paragraph or two for every school into my PS.

One other question I forgot to ask earlier:

On my LSAC profile I have my ethnicity listed as European along with Chicano/Mexican. I identify mostly as white, but my mom is Mexican, so it seemed natural to list that too. I'm safe and won't get URM status, right? I just don't want to come off as disingenuous to adcomms.


Sounds like you provided information that is genuine and true, so you will be fine. :)

User avatar
Gitaroo_Dude
Posts: 56
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2016 10:06 pm

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

Postby Gitaroo_Dude » Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:11 pm

deanmeeker wrote:Sounds like you provided information that is genuine and true, so you will be fine. :)


Thanks again! That really puts my concerns and anxieties to rest. I feel like the actual process of applying/waiting for decisions is going to be a cakewalk in comparison, haha.

User avatar
carlos_danger
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:21 am

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

Postby carlos_danger » Sun Aug 28, 2016 3:55 pm

I had an off-the-books job at a grocery store one summer (typical grocery store stuff like working the register, etc.). It was a small business and the guy paid me in cash. Should I list it in the list of employers on my applications, or will that present a problem down the line?

User avatar
KarenButtenbaum
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:39 am

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:14 am

tgc92 wrote:Hello! Thank you officers for taking the time to answer our questions!

I graduated from Princeton in 2014 and ended up with a low GPA, 2.89 (not sure what my LSAC uGPA is). I had a 3.21 average until my last semester in my senior year when I difficulty finishing my thesis on time and that affected the rest of the grades during that same semester. This aberrant semester decreased my GPA drastically, as you can tell.

Going to law school has always been my dream, and I still really wish to go to the best, such as HLS or Stanford. I currently work in DC and am planning on getting a MPA (or other Master's degree) in a few years after more work experience.

With that in mind, if I make it to one of top MPA/MPP programs, such as SAIS, Princeton, Harvard, or Fletchers, and redeem myself academically, would it be possible to get to a top law school like Harvard or Stanford? By the time I apply, I would be 5-7 years out of undergrad.

Moreover, if redeeming myself in this manner is possible, which MPA/MPP programs have you seen top law schools like HLS or Stanford consider to be academically rigorous and therefore to be a reputable enough soft? (For example, I've heard that Princeton's MPA is considered more academically rigorous than others and so to be better soft.) Have you possibly encountered or heard of a pattern of past instances of these top law schools admitting students more from certain MPA/MPP programs than others?

A few more related questions: Perhaps it would be more advantageous to attend MPA/MPP programs that have joint degrees already set up with one of these law schools? Or perhaps a MPA/MPP program with the same school, like the Kennedy School --> HLS?

Please let me know; law school is my dream so receiving a variety of advice from different admissions officers would be immensely appreciated!


While I would never discourage you to apply to any school that you think will be a good fit, I want to help manage your expectations. This is an incredible hurdle to get over. Your undergraduate GPA is well below what is typically seen in the the bottom 25% of these classes.

A graduate degree is never a bad idea if it is an education that you will find interesting and useful, but it can never replace your undergraduate GPA for law school admissions purposes.

Keep in mind that one of the factors in the decision is the quality of the applicant pool. Even if your application is really quite stellar otherwise, the applicant pool at these schools is ridiculously talented. When people are denied with excellent applications, it is often the result of there being others in the pool that were admitted first.

If you continue with this plan and do well on the LSAT, there will be opportunities for you in law school. There is also the possibility of transferring after 1L year, tho i am hesitant to recommend transferring as a rock-solid plan.

KB

User avatar
TexasENG
Posts: 677
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 5:31 pm

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

Postby TexasENG » Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:52 am

.
Last edited by TexasENG on Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
KarenButtenbaum
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:39 am

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:04 am

TexasENG wrote:Hello, I have I guess a fairly specific question, so I understand if you can't answer. I have a minor academic C&F issue that I am planning on disclosing. It was expunged from my record, and I am now 5+ years out of my undergrad. I have seen some applications requesting documentation for any disclosures, however due to the timing of this (~8 years ago) I have not been able to find anyone in my undergrad who recalls the incident or has documentation that they can provide. So my question is what can I do if a school requires documentation, but there isn't any?


You should be able to get a letter from the school saying that the records for this incident no longer exist.

User avatar
Thomas Hagan, ESQ.
Posts: 186
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 1:55 pm

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

Postby Thomas Hagan, ESQ. » Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:16 am

Hello! Thanks for having this Q&A; it's probably one of the most helpful threads on this forum.

Just a quick question as a re-applicant to waitlisted schools. I know that you've answered this questions before, but perhaps my situation is a little different. Would you advise that I re-write my personal statement to schools that previously waitlisted me? I was planning on changing it a little and building on last cycle's PS but I wanted to keep the same topic because it truly is what defines me and is why I want to attend law school. Also, during the waitlist interviews, I talked about this topic extensively with the admissions staff and so I'm afraid that changing the topic would make them question if I actually know why I want to be a lawyer. While I totally understand why it's best to re-write PS after being rejected, does the same advice stand for waitlisted applicants?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

LikelyThrowaway
Posts: 91
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2016 3:19 am

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

Postby LikelyThrowaway » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:52 am

At my school's honors college we wrote a senior thesis, which was then published on a database hosted by our university's library. Could/should I mention cite this thesis on my resume under a "Publications" section?

User avatar
KarenButtenbaum
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:39 am

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:02 pm

Thomas Hagan, ESQ. wrote:Hello! Thanks for having this Q&A; it's probably one of the most helpful threads on this forum.

Just a quick question as a re-applicant to waitlisted schools. I know that you've answered this questions before, but perhaps my situation is a little different. Would you advise that I re-write my personal statement to schools that previously waitlisted me? I was planning on changing it a little and building on last cycle's PS but I wanted to keep the same topic because it truly is what defines me and is why I want to attend law school. Also, during the waitlist interviews, I talked about this topic extensively with the admissions staff and so I'm afraid that changing the topic would make them question if I actually know why I want to be a lawyer. While I totally understand why it's best to re-write PS after being rejected, does the same advice stand for waitlisted applicants?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!


It really does depend on what the school asks for -- most expect a new PS even if you were WL'd. If you want to keep the same topic, I would suggest that you rework the essay so that it looks/reads differently.

User avatar
KarenButtenbaum
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:39 am

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

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:04 pm

LikelyThrowaway wrote:At my school's honors college we wrote a senior thesis, which was then published on a database hosted by our university's library. Could/should I mention cite this thesis on my resume under a "Publications" section?


Yes! you could and should put this on your resume either in a publications section or under the education section (because it is connected to your undergrad work)

User avatar
DerekMeeker
Posts: 196
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:31 am

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

Postby DerekMeeker » Thu Sep 01, 2016 12:28 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
Thomas Hagan, ESQ. wrote:Hello! Thanks for having this Q&A; it's probably one of the most helpful threads on this forum.

Just a quick question as a re-applicant to waitlisted schools. I know that you've answered this questions before, but perhaps my situation is a little different. Would you advise that I re-write my personal statement to schools that previously waitlisted me? I was planning on changing it a little and building on last cycle's PS but I wanted to keep the same topic because it truly is what defines me and is why I want to attend law school. Also, during the waitlist interviews, I talked about this topic extensively with the admissions staff and so I'm afraid that changing the topic would make them question if I actually know why I want to be a lawyer. While I totally understand why it's best to re-write PS after being rejected, does the same advice stand for waitlisted applicants?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!


It really does depend on what the school asks for -- most expect a new PS even if you were WL'd. If you want to keep the same topic, I would suggest that you rework the essay so that it looks/reads differently.


I concur completely with what Karen says. I just want to add that when you are reapplying to a school after being wait-listed or rejected, keep in mind that the question the admissions committee will ask is: What has changed since the last application? It is very unlikely that they will change the decision unless there has been a material change (improvement) in the application. And if you are reapplying in the next immediate cycle (within just a few months after being released from a WL), there is little you can do to materially change your application except retake the LSAT and/or update your essays (hence, why, as Karen points out, most schools expect something new in the PS).

User avatar
Thomas Hagan, ESQ.
Posts: 186
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 1:55 pm

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

Postby Thomas Hagan, ESQ. » Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:16 pm

DerekMeeker wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:
Thomas Hagan, ESQ. wrote:Hello! Thanks for having this Q&A; it's probably one of the most helpful threads on this forum.

Just a quick question as a re-applicant to waitlisted schools. I know that you've answered this questions before, but perhaps my situation is a little different. Would you advise that I re-write my personal statement to schools that previously waitlisted me? I was planning on changing it a little and building on last cycle's PS but I wanted to keep the same topic because it truly is what defines me and is why I want to attend law school. Also, during the waitlist interviews, I talked about this topic extensively with the admissions staff and so I'm afraid that changing the topic would make them question if I actually know why I want to be a lawyer. While I totally understand why it's best to re-write PS after being rejected, does the same advice stand for waitlisted applicants?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!


It really does depend on what the school asks for -- most expect a new PS even if you were WL'd. If you want to keep the same topic, I would suggest that you rework the essay so that it looks/reads differently.


I concur completely with what Karen says. I just want to add that when you are reapplying to a school after being wait-listed or rejected, keep in mind that the question the admissions committee will ask is: What has changed since the last application? It is very unlikely that they will change the decision unless there has been a material change (improvement) in the application. And if you are reapplying in the next immediate cycle (within just a few months after being released from a WL), there is little you can do to materially change your application except retake the LSAT and/or update your essays (hence, why, as Karen points out, most schools expect something new in the PS).


Thanks to both of you for the helpful advice! That makes a lot more sense to me now, and puts me in a better mindset as I start working on my PS again!

User avatar
DerekMeeker
Posts: 196
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:31 am

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

Postby DerekMeeker » Thu Sep 01, 2016 5:07 pm

carlos_danger wrote:I had an off-the-books job at a grocery store one summer (typical grocery store stuff like working the register, etc.). It was a small business and the guy paid me in cash. Should I list it in the list of employers on my applications, or will that present a problem down the line?


Play it safe and leave it off.

User avatar
MikeSpivey
Posts: 2607
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:28 pm

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

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat Sep 03, 2016 2:38 pm

*Critically Important*

Who wants to do a third annual TLS FF League? We would need to have 8-12 people (I am one) by Thursday, with a draft and all. This is how you should NOT do your applications :)

But, as people from the last two years will attest, I will drop some free law school admissions advice in the league from time to time.

Most importantly, we need a commish to set it up. I hardly have enough time to posts this, let alone do the league. But I am a sucker for this stuff and have highly enjoyed getting to know members of the TLS community through our past leagues.

If you want in please post here so we can keep a running tab. The draft will be Wednesday night at 5:30pm MT/7:30pm EST (hey all you (especially EST) people who never put time zones in emails making appointments with law schools, please read this: http://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/mistak ... timezones/ make sure to always mention your timezone for your interview/skype/phone calls)

Let's do this thing!

-Mike

LikelyThrowaway
Posts: 91
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2016 3:19 am

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

Postby LikelyThrowaway » Sat Sep 03, 2016 4:20 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:*Critically Important*

Who wants to do a third annual TLS FF League? We would need to have 8-12 people (I am one) by Thursday, with a draft and all. This is how you should NOT do your applications :)

But, as people from the last two years will attest, I will drop some free law school admissions advice in the league from time to time.

Most importantly, we need a commish to set it up. I hardly have enough time to posts this, let alone do the league. But I am a sucker for this stuff and have highly enjoyed getting to know members of the TLS community through our past leagues.

If you want in please post here so we can keep a running tab. The draft will be Wednesday night at 5:30pm MT/7:30pm EST (hey all you (especially EST) people who never put time zones in emails making appointments with law schools, please read this: http://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/mistak ... timezones/ make sure to always mention your timezone for your interview/skype/phone calls)

Let's do this thing!

-Mike


I'm in! Too lazy to commish but too much free time not to play!

User avatar
MikeSpivey
Posts: 2607
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:28 pm

Re: Spivey Consulting Q&A PLUS Fantasy Football Sign up now!

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat Sep 03, 2016 5:59 pm

We now have 3 people total. Need 7 more! Come on TLS.

User avatar
SweetTort
Posts: 2444
Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:57 pm

Re: Spivey Consulting Q&A PLUS Fantasy Football Sign up now!

Postby SweetTort » Sat Sep 03, 2016 6:11 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:We now have 3 people total. Need 7 more! Come on TLS.



Ayyyyy Spivey! Possible matriculant for this upcoming cycle. Would love to be a part of the Fantasy league.

User avatar
Baby Gaga
Posts: 155
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:07 pm

Re: Spivey Consulting Q&A PLUS Fantasy Football Sign up now!

Postby Baby Gaga » Sat Sep 03, 2016 6:21 pm

I'd be in (can't commish either)

User avatar
JoshLyman13
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:09 am

Re: Spivey Consulting Q&A PLUS Fantasy Football Sign up now!

Postby JoshLyman13 » Sat Sep 03, 2016 6:23 pm

Long time lurker but finally applying this cycle. Would love to join the FF league!

User avatar
ponderingmeerkat
Posts: 1307
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 11:24 am

Re: Spivey Consulting Q&A PLUS Fantasy Football Sign up now!

Postby ponderingmeerkat » Sat Sep 03, 2016 6:29 pm

In for FF!! I'd commish but I don't trust Haitian internet to be consistent enough for that level of responsibility. :lol:


Return to “Free Help and Advice from Professionals”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest