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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bouleversement
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby bouleversement » Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:24 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
Hawg, thanks for the question.

I think if you focused on this recently, ie if you are a year into TLS, and reading up on going to law school it would seem like this is the first year for a applicant friendly "buyer's market (buyer not seller from applicant perspective). In reality, we are more into year 4 of this --the expert admissions offices saw this at least 3 years ago and only the ones slow to adept (or at the very top of the food chain) are the ones that may be changing their admit patterns this year.

This is very likely the most applicant friendly period anyone has ever seen in law admissions, in respect to a 3-4 year time frame and change. The ebbs that I have lived through as a law school administrator and studied historically did not have nearly this significant of a drop in both application/applicant volume or in volume at the top bandwidths of LSAT scores. So this is dramatic and dictating a great deal of what law schools are doing on the front end -- as far as scholarship awards, admit profiles, and even SWAG. These are crazy times that favor the applicant unlike eve before, but disfavor a law school graduate unlike we have seen in recent memory. So if the later holds true (do not go back to a pyramid "out and up" model at bigfrims for hiring, we probably are in a new normal. That said, admissions numbers will back back some eventually, it is just hard to say exactly when. Indeed no body knows and if someone says they do they are likely the least to have a clue.


Great answer Mike: Exciting and frightening at the same time!

Any guidance on whether being a citizen of another country is a boost? Any tips on how to maximize it?

Also, where is that beautiful building on your home page? I am guessing Oxford.

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Clearly
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Clearly » Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:28 pm

bouleversement wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
Hawg, thanks for the question.

I think if you focused on this recently, ie if you are a year into TLS, and reading up on going to law school it would seem like this is the first year for a applicant friendly "buyer's market (buyer not seller from applicant perspective). In reality, we are more into year 4 of this --the expert admissions offices saw this at least 3 years ago and only the ones slow to adept (or at the very top of the food chain) are the ones that may be changing their admit patterns this year.

This is very likely the most applicant friendly period anyone has ever seen in law admissions, in respect to a 3-4 year time frame and change. The ebbs that I have lived through as a law school administrator and studied historically did not have nearly this significant of a drop in both application/applicant volume or in volume at the top bandwidths of LSAT scores. So this is dramatic and dictating a great deal of what law schools are doing on the front end -- as far as scholarship awards, admit profiles, and even SWAG. These are crazy times that favor the applicant unlike eve before, but disfavor a law school graduate unlike we have seen in recent memory. So if the later holds true (do not go back to a pyramid "out and up" model at bigfrims for hiring, we probably are in a new normal. That said, admissions numbers will back back some eventually, it is just hard to say exactly when. Indeed no body knows and if someone says they do they are likely the least to have a clue.


Great answer Mike: Exciting and frightening at the same time!

Any guidance on whether being a citizen of another country is a boost? Any tips on how to maximize it?

Also, where is that beautiful building on your home page? I am guessing Oxford.

If I'm not mistaken, it's Cambridge.

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LEPWU
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby LEPWU » Wed Aug 07, 2013 10:42 pm

.
Last edited by LEPWU on Fri Mar 20, 2015 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:07 am

Clearly wrote:
Also, where is that beautiful building on your home page? I am guessing Oxford.

If I'm not mistaken, it's Cambridge.[/quote]

Homepage = Cambridge
Blog = University of Arkansas
Employment Page =Jones Day, DC

I'm actually going to update the website in early Sept, adding a bio and page for Karen B. and some small changes. Any suggestions from TLS'ers?

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MCL Law Dean
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MCL Law Dean » Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:05 am

Mike,
I was told yesterday by a Golden Gate alumna that their entering class has dropped from 300 to 140. I was trying to fact-check this and I remember a previous TLS post on admissions changes by school for the current cycle. Unfortunately, I can't find it and it was a few months ago anyway. Is there a link to a source that you can direct me to? Thanks.

By the way, although we are small and somewhat removed from the ABA klieg lights, when the dust settles, MCL will be up about 20% this cycle with only a slight drop in our LSAT median and an increase in our UGPA median.

...............LSAT ................... UGPA
............... 25th 50th 75th .... 25th 50th 75th
2013 ........ 139 144 151 ........ 3.00 3.18 3.49
2012 ........ 141 146 148 ........ 2.67 3.03 3.60
2011 ........ 140 148 152 ........ 2.95 3.21 3.44
2010 ........ 142 146 151 ........ 2.96 3.20 3.43

Mal Reynolds
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Mal Reynolds » Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:12 am

MCL Law Dean wrote:By the way, although we are small and somewhat removed from the ABA klieg lights, when the dust settles, MCL will be up about 20% this cycle with only a slight drop in our LSAT median and an increase in our UGPA median.

...............LSAT ................... UGPA
............... 25th 50th 75th .... 25th 50th 75th
2013 ........ 139 144 151 ........ 3.00 3.18 3.49
2012 ........ 141 146 148 ........ 2.67 3.03 3.60
2011 ........ 140 148 152 ........ 2.95 3.21 3.44
2010 ........ 142 146 151 ........ 2.96 3.20 3.43


:|

steven21
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby steven21 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:59 am

Question
Is it beneficial to apply before you receive your LSAT score? Will the application go complete faster and be looked at sooner? Also, is there any way to notify them that I will be taking the test again October so that they know a new higher score will be coming in? Would turning in an application have a negative effect in this situation since they would see the old LSAT score before the new one

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:45 pm

steven21 wrote:Question
Is it beneficial to apply before you receive your LSAT score? Will the application go complete faster and be looked at sooner? Also, is there any way to notify them that I will be taking the test again October so that they know a new higher score will be coming in? Would turning in an application have a negative effect in this situation since they would see the old LSAT score before the new one


Steven -- It is basically a wash either way. There may be very nuanced reasons depending on your situation to do one or the other, but i would not worry about this. Just tell them to NOT READ your application as it is incomplete you are taking it in OCT. Well, say it a bit more diplomatically than I just type.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:52 pm

MCL Law Dean wrote:Mike,
I was told yesterday by a Golden Gate alumna that their entering class has dropped from 300 to 140. I was trying to fact-check this and I remember a previous TLS post on admissions changes by school for the current cycle. Unfortunately, I can't find it and it was a few months ago anyway. Is there a link to a source that you can direct me to? Thanks.

By the way, although we are small and somewhat removed from the ABA klieg lights, when the dust settles, MCL will be up about 20% this cycle with only a slight drop in our LSAT median and an increase in our UGPA median.

...............LSAT ................... UGPA
............... 25th 50th 75th .... 25th 50th 75th
2013 ........ 139 144 151 ........ 3.00 3.18 3.49
2012 ........ 141 146 148 ........ 2.67 3.03 3.60
2011 ........ 140 148 152 ........ 2.95 3.21 3.44
2010 ........ 142 146 151 ........ 2.96 3.20 3.43


The Golden Gate numbers would not surprise me at all, not even a drop that is as dramatic as that. Aside from the budgetary problems this creates (which I bet are obvious to you as you understand the budget impact and considerations better than all of us), I actually applaud some reductions. Take a look at the Paul Campos data and projections, were are nearing a state where we will have near 1:1 relationship between applicants and admit, i.e. zero barriers to entry. I am not sure I would want that in medical education, training, etc...just a thought.

You guys are doing very well with your numbers relative to a lot of places, keep it up and let me know if I can help in either of these two areas:

http://spiveyconsulting.com/services/pu ... consulting

Mike

David_Hume14
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby David_Hume14 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:53 pm

At how much of a disadvantage are December lsat takers who otherwise have everything together/submitted to lsac?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:13 pm

David_Hume14 wrote:At how much of a disadvantage are December lsat takers who otherwise have everything together/submitted to lsac?


David,

Not very much other than missing the ED boat if you had wanted to go in that direction. Even the ED "bump" is not real for many schools that have it.

Also, didn't you say "You can not infer ought from is?" I use that quote from time to time, well done.

David_Hume14
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby David_Hume14 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:15 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
David_Hume14 wrote:At how much of a disadvantage are December lsat takers who otherwise have everything together/submitted to lsac?


David,

Not very much other than missing the ED boat if you had wanted to go in that direction. Even the ED "bump" is not real for many schools that have it.

Also, didn't you say "You can not infer ought from is?" I use that quote from time to time, well done.


That may have been in a past life. Anyway thanks for the info. Is this recent with apps being down or has it really always been the case?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:17 pm

David_Hume14 wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
David_Hume14 wrote:At how much of a disadvantage are December lsat takers who otherwise have everything together/submitted to lsac?


David,

Not very much other than missing the ED boat if you had wanted to go in that direction. Even the ED "bump" is not real for many schools that have it.

Also, didn't you say "You can not infer ought from is?" I use that quote from time to time, well done.


Is this recent with apps being down or has it really always been the case?


5 years ago I would have encouraged you to get things in earlier.

steven21
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby steven21 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:29 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
steven21 wrote:Question
Is it beneficial to apply before you receive your LSAT score? Will the application go complete faster and be looked at sooner? Also, is there any way to notify them that I will be taking the test again October so that they know a new higher score will be coming in? Would turning in an application have a negative effect in this situation since they would see the old LSAT score before the new one


Steven -- It is basically a wash either way. There may be very nuanced reasons depending on your situation to do one or the other, but i would not worry about this. Just tell them to NOT READ your application as it is incomplete you are taking it in OCT. Well, say it a bit more diplomatically than I just type.


Thanks. I asked this question because schools have rolling admissions and the earlier you apply the better chance you have of getting in so I thought getting your application completed sooner gave you an advantage

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Clearly
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Clearly » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:30 pm

steven21 wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
steven21 wrote:Question
Is it beneficial to apply before you receive your LSAT score? Will the application go complete faster and be looked at sooner? Also, is there any way to notify them that I will be taking the test again October so that they know a new higher score will be coming in? Would turning in an application have a negative effect in this situation since they would see the old LSAT score before the new one


Steven -- It is basically a wash either way. There may be very nuanced reasons depending on your situation to do one or the other, but i would not worry about this. Just tell them to NOT READ your application as it is incomplete you are taking it in OCT. Well, say it a bit more diplomatically than I just type.


Thanks. I asked this question because schools have rolling admissions and the earlier you apply the better chance you have of getting in so I thought getting your application completed sooner gave you an advantage

This actually isn't as true as it used to be.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:31 pm

steven21 wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
steven21 wrote:Question
Is it beneficial to apply before you receive your LSAT score? Will the application go complete faster and be looked at sooner? Also, is there any way to notify them that I will be taking the test again October so that they know a new higher score will be coming in? Would turning in an application have a negative effect in this situation since they would see the old LSAT score before the new one


Steven -- It is basically a wash either way. There may be very nuanced reasons depending on your situation to do one or the other, but i would not worry about this. Just tell them to NOT READ your application as it is incomplete you are taking it in OCT. Well, say it a bit more diplomatically than I just type.


Thanks. I asked this question because schools have rolling admissions and the earlier you apply the better chance you have of getting in so I thought getting your application completed sooner gave you an advantage


Not really. Check out a few pages back, this is a myth.

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bouleversement
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby bouleversement » Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:45 pm



What about the picture on that page?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:03 pm

bouleversement wrote:


What about the picture on that page?


Queens University of Belfast

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Clearly
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Clearly » Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:50 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
bouleversement wrote:


What about the picture on that page?


Queens University of Belfast

Interesting.

ZVBXRPL
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby ZVBXRPL » Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:29 am

Mike,
Website suggestions: Pre-law/admissions podcast, 0L book recommendations (books that will scare us to stay away), and nake...never mind that.

NYstate
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby NYstate » Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:09 pm

The personal statements being posted here lately are terrible. Please post some basic, clear guidelines that we can link to. These 0Ls don't seem to have a clue what a PS should say.

I know the forum has a section. But some simple guidance from you would be helpful.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:50 pm

NYstate wrote:The personal statements being posted here lately are terrible. Please post some basic, clear guidelines that we can link to. These 0Ls don't seem to have a clue what a PS should say.

I know the forum has a section. But some simple guidance from you would be helpful.


Ha! I didn't even realize there is a PS dedicated section to this site until now. I'm on it but will need some time.

ZVBXRPL
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby ZVBXRPL » Fri Aug 09, 2013 3:19 pm

Disclaimer: I have yet to write my personal statement--mainly because I'm too lazy--so in hopes of both inspiring myself to write it and to save Mike from a subject which he has spoken MUCH about, here are my notes and guidelines based on my research of what a personal statement should consist of. Special thanks to TLS for the plethora of information about law school and to Mike for tirelessly answering our (redundant) questions. To give back to the TLS community that has helped me, here are my notes:

What should a personal statement consist of?

I feel a personal statement is of the utmost importance because it completes a picture. Here's a metaphor that (hopefully) captures the magnitude of what a great personal statement will do for your application:
You're bidding over the phone for an expensive painting you have never seen in person. The painting is magnificent--it will complete your home and you must have it. You see pictures of the painting, you read reviews, and finally decide to buy it. You sell a car and some stock. After much anticipation and anxiety, you are the highest bidder and win the painting. You wire the money to the auction house, send the auctioneer the phone number of your long time art framer, and hire a designer/art aficionado to choose the best location for the painting in your home. Two weeks later the painting arrives in a large wooden crate. It's difficult to open. You didn't think you would need tools to open it. Frantically, you call your designer to figure out how to open the crate without damaging the valuable art. An hour later, the bell rings. You rush to the door, open it and let man and woman who's expertise lies in fine art in. They carefully disassemble the crate, remove the five layers of protective plastic and foam and eventually hang the painting. You're transcended and amazed by how good the painting looks in your home. Amazed by the painting's beauty, you forget the art experts are still in your home. Ten minutes passes and you hear the door of your home open and then close. Realizing you've forgotten to thank and tip them, you run downstairs and catch them before their car pulls away. Relieved to have compensated your "heros", you run up your stairs to continue to admire the painting's beauty.You KNOW it's marvelous. It completes you. It's your second wife. It's you.

The painting is like you're personal statement; do your research, surround yourself by the people who can help you, exchange ideas, and perfect it. It separates you from the other and makes you unique. Devote yourself to it and nail it because it completes and defines who you are.



What are schools looking for in someone?


Leadership- Cite specific examples of jobs at which you coordinated/oversaw others
-evidence that demonstrates strong leadership and potential to succeed
-people who have a strong acedemic potential ("you've got to like school", Berkeley Law Dean)
-people who not only create an agenda but do everything they can to make it happen (give examples how ambitions/passion has expressed itself in practical ways--show  kind of person u are and will be)
-Our admits [Berkeley] are appreciative that a traditional legal education paired with an emphasis on communication, presentation, problem, solving skills, and cross management will lay the groundwork for their career regardless of sector
-real world experience-can you look at issue with multiple perspectives?--"an open mind is a powerful mind"
-even if you are all around exceptional candidate, you should explain to school what attracts and excites you about its program--committee wants to admit student who expresses excitement to attend its institution
-eliminate reasons your might have to doubt your potential-inspire readers to act on your behalf and persuade them to admit you

Styles/types of personal statements (PS)
-ethical appeal-make your good character the reason for admit-Story-quest narrative(overcome odds)--begin with a quote  work quote throughout PS (hard to do unless you can work rhetorical magic upon it)
-Sketch a character in familiar/unfamiliar environment-pose questions and answers in PS
-present a problem and solution and give evidence how you solved problem in your life and life of others
-major family crisis-use recent rather than old
-describe how you endured adversity/personal tragedy and how it shaped you as a person today. Be sure to explain how explain how tragedy influenced your intellectual life/leadership skills.   
-how this situation makes you a good law school candidate       
-avoid talk of life pre college-describe what you learned from a mentor       
-do not seem over influenced by certain person/ idea     
-show you can synthesize various ideas and choose your own opinion (law schools want deep thinkers, not shallow pundits)
-show your devotion to and experience with your issue by describing your experience volunteering for/serving a cause
-tales of real world action can move reader
-Write about course work/legal research related to your legal interest     
-academic/professional experiences that have contributed to who you are today
-it's especially helpful to relate academic interests to reasons why you want to attend law school("LS")
-Write about passions,ideas,hobbies which should relate to your desire to become a lawyer and backup with evidence-steer clear of controversial issues; don't alienate reader-brainstorm for a list of personal qualities and consider how they d make you an asset to law school/legal community

Structure
-join powerful ideas with powerful expression-clear sentences
-words are a scarce resource. So every word counts-
Length: 2-3 double typed, 12pt., Times new Roman font, 
-hook readers with strong introduction         
-anecdote, vivid description, question which will be answered in rest of PS, or life changing experience-use active, not passive voice             
-use professional and formal tone             
-avoid cliches, elementary writing mistakes, legalese-Conclude powerfully             
-rephrase main ideas, keywords, point , point towards future and finish with a rhetorical flourish.           
-refer to intro paragraph             
-restate main thesis in a slightly different way that adds resonance to all that came before

Checklist
-thread central theme throughout PS
-write about aspects of yourself that readers cannot get from the other parts of your application
-let committee hear a distinct voice--there are hundreds of applicants and one you, let them hear your voice
-write about things which genuinely make you excited/enthusiastic
-abstraction without content will not persuade anyone to admit you--concrete examples of how you influenced others will build your credibility
-Tailor PS to LS you are applying to--this demonstrates knowledge of and commitment to that LSUltimately:-Intellectual experience-tangible impact on individual or group-good leadership skills-pro active starter skills-real world Experience-ability to see multiple perspectives of situation-attributes that make you unique
Last edited by ZVBXRPL on Fri Aug 09, 2013 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Motivator9
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Motivator9 » Fri Aug 09, 2013 3:41 pm

This is by far my favorite thread on TLS.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:39 am

Motivator9 wrote:This is by far my favorite thread on TLS.


Me too :) I even like it more than this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=214540

Which I have no idea why I am doing being that I am already up to my ears in work!


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