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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gobosox
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby gobosox » Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:13 pm

Hey Mike,

Thanks for this-- great info in here (though I haven't gotten to all 31 pages yet, so if my question is redundant, please let me know.)

How much weight do they put on the additional essays? Is it looked down on if you don't do "optional essays"?

Do they essentially look at the main personal statement and then have the other things as "fluff"?

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banjo
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby banjo » Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:01 pm

Now that KB is on board, I 'd like to throw a question out there. FWIW, my cycle is over (and mostly turned out okay) so my question is not urgent and only meant to help future applicants.

I left a graduate program without finishing and felt that it counted against me. I don't think I was able to persuade admissions officers that I had the maturity and commitment to succeed in law school. I take full responsibility for that, of course; a future lawyer should accept that not every judge or mediator will find her arguments persuasive. But for future applicants, what is the best way to address this kind of background on your application? Does it require an addendum, or is it so commonplace that it might be better not to dwell on it? What would you consider "red flags" on a graduate record? Finally, for college seniors debating a career between academia and law, would it be better not to try the academic route at all, lest it hurt the student's future application to law school?

Thanks in advance. For the record, although I am very happy where I am, I sometimes wish that I had consulted a professional about my application.

FloridaCoastalorbust
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby FloridaCoastalorbust » Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:27 pm

Perhaps a silly question. Is there a significant difference to the eye of adcomms between a 169 and 170 when not considering the actual medians they might be looking at? E.g. is the difference between a 169/170 greater than a difference between a 168/169 or 170/171 for a school in the middle t14?

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yot11
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby yot11 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:37 pm

Mike / Karen,

Given that some of the numbers are being released at schools for this past cycle, do you see this downward trend of applications continuing into next cycle? Or do you think we will have bottomed out this cycle?

ZVBXRPL
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby ZVBXRPL » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:11 pm

Spivey Consulting,
Does the essay at the end of the LSAT carry any weight on adcomms?

optimist1
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby optimist1 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:15 pm

I didn't cancel my LSAT score last year. I ended up getting a 146.

I took the test again this year and got a 172.

I had horrible test day jitters and panicked. Thought I was gonna get like a 160ish but ended up doing much worse.

I'm applying this year and I'm wondering how screwed I'm going to get. My goal is one of the T14s but I am not sure how my first LSAT score will affect my chances. Please help!

Thanks.

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dowu
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby dowu » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:26 pm

optimist1 wrote:I didn't cancel my LSAT score last year. I ended up getting a 146.

I took the test again this year and got a 172.

I had horrible test day jitters and panicked. Thought I was gonna get like a 160ish but ended up doing much worse.

I'm applying this year and I'm wondering how screwed I'm going to get. My goal is one of the T14s but I am not sure how my first LSAT score will affect my chances. Please help!

Thanks.

I'm willing to bet they won't care about your 146 and will use your 172.


But we will let the admissions officer chime in. :)

Nolita Fairytale
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Nolita Fairytale » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:35 pm

banjo wrote:Now that KB is on board, I 'd like to throw a question out there. FWIW, my cycle is over (and mostly turned out okay) so my question is not urgent and only meant to help future applicants.

I left a graduate program without finishing and felt that it counted against me. I don't think I was able to persuade admissions officers that I had the maturity and commitment to succeed in law school. I take full responsibility for that, of course; a future lawyer should accept that not every judge or mediator will find her arguments persuasive. But for future applicants, what is the best way to address this kind of background on your application? Does it require an addendum, or is it so commonplace that it might be better not to dwell on it? What would you consider "red flags" on a graduate record? Finally, for college seniors debating a career between academia and law, would it be better not to try the academic route at all, lest it hurt the student's future application to law school?

Thanks in advance. For the record, although I am very happy where I am, I sometimes wish that I had consulted a professional about my application.


Thank you for asking this question, banjo. I'm very interested in Mike's reply, too. I've been thinking a lot about the issue today. *possibly identifying info snipped*
Last edited by Nolita Fairytale on Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:39 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:All,

Just a quick FYI written hastily from my iPhone, Karen and I will be doing a web chat Q&A this Thursday starting at 5:30pm EST.

Stefan of TLS fame is working on enabling some great software for this, as yet we do not have a link but once we do it will be twitter from my twitter account and linked from my blog. I'll pop it on here too.

We may work on bringing a mystery admissions dean to the dance too. Hope to see you all there!

Mike


All:

Here is the link everyone:

http://newyorkwebsite.org/admissions/

Hope to see you all there tomorrow at 5:30pm.

Also, there are a good number of questions in this thread from the past day -- we are going to answer them all together (Karen is out here for strategic planning and our corporate retreat) but were are so swimming in work right now it might be a day or too. Sorry for the delay.

Mike

062914123
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby 062914123 » Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:24 pm

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Last edited by 062914123 on Mon Jun 30, 2014 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Instinctive
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Instinctive » Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:05 am

MikeSpivey wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:All,

Just a quick FYI written hastily from my iPhone, Karen and I will be doing a web chat Q&A this Thursday starting at 5:30pm EST.

Stefan of TLS fame is working on enabling some great software for this, as yet we do not have a link but once we do it will be twitter from my twitter account and linked from my blog. I'll pop it on here too.

We may work on bringing a mystery admissions dean to the dance too. Hope to see you all there!

Mike


All:

Here is the link everyone:

http://newyorkwebsite.org/admissions/

Hope to see you all there tomorrow at 5:30pm.

Also, there are a good number of questions in this thread from the past day -- we are going to answer them all together (Karen is out here for strategic planning and our corporate retreat) but were are so swimming in work right now it might be a day or too. Sorry for the delay.

Mike


Thanks Mike! You're offering free advice to people who want/need it more than anyone else...I think a day or two delay is probably going to be alright with most of us ;)

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Sep 05, 2013 12:36 pm

Instinctive wrote:
Lavitz wrote:
NYstate wrote:I'm posting the content here so people will see it. For people attempting to get into top schools (HYS) where PS matter, I think spending $425 to have all three of you review a PS is an option to consider.

I recommend it if you think you're borderline.

I'm happy where I ended up, but I do somewhat regret not finding an admissions consultant to help me with my app.


Not to hijack, but I'd like to hear more about the bolded.

Perhaps the question works better for Mike, to avoid the hijack (haha):

Earlier you mentioned (repeatedly) that if you're above the medians at your school(s) of choice, you shouldn't even buy the book you're writing. I'm wondering just how much you believe this to be true at the extremes like HYS+Chicago. If that's not specific enough, I suppose the question I'm looking at is: Just how important are PS/LoR if you're a 4.0 GPA and a 180 LSAT? I've spoken with Deans of Students (I don't have connections to any of the admissions deans, unfortunately) and it seems like with a numbers profile that strong you just have to avoid blowing it with the other application parts. Does that ring true in your experience?


To be totally clear, I am NOT a 4.0, nor do I have a 180. But I wanted to keep it macro-level per your requests throughout the thread.


It is ever s slightly different at HYS, because at the top of the pyramid there are simply more inelastic and there are more people on their waitlist who would drop everything they are going to matriculate. But, even with that, in this environment HYS are not raising their medians, indeed Harvard may come down slightly in gpa it would seem from the data we are all looking at.

My general advice is that if you are above both medians of your dream school you would only need us for:

1. If you are a terrible writer and you are introspective enough to know it and you want everyone line by line proof read.
2. You have a C&F issue
3. You want help with the scholarship negotiations
4. you *think* you are getting bad advice from someone else like your pre-law adviser and it has you totally discombobulated.

I am certainly not going to speak for Lavitz but I wish he and I had connected at this stage last year. I definitely think I could have helped him organize things and to have strategized vis-a-vis the schools he most wanted,

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Sep 05, 2013 12:46 pm

Mike
I'm on the West Coast and will be at work during the web chat; will there be a recorded version you could post in this thread for those of us who won't be able to attend? Thanks for taking the time to host this chat



Bee, for a variety of reasons the answer is likely no. One prominent one is that we want people to feel free to ask sensitive questions thus we do not want them floating around on the web forever.

That said, we will have another one in a few months and I will be mindful of the west coast workforce.

I also realize this chat is over Rosh Hashanah and conflicts with some. Unfortunately it is the only time on Karen's time constrained trip out to visit me that we could do this.
One thing I learned pretty quickly running a department at a law school with 1,000 student a year was that any even I planned and hosted would sadly conflict with something --so I always tried to have multiple iterations of the same event. We will of course do that with the real time Q&A sessions.

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t-14orbust
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby t-14orbust » Thu Sep 05, 2013 2:31 pm

Looking forward to the Q&A, Mike! Can we post questions prior to the start time? thanks!

WanderingPondering
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby WanderingPondering » Thu Sep 05, 2013 3:02 pm

Mike, which schools do you consider the winners and losers of this most recent admissions cycle? And do you expect to see subsequent jumps in the rankings because of this? Will a school raising or maintaining their medians, or lowering their class size be rewarded for it?

I know the rankings are not important to the students, but they can be huge for the school's reputation and ability to attract students (rightly or wrongly).

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Sep 05, 2013 3:33 pm

t-14orbust wrote:Looking forward to the Q&A, Mike! Can we post questions prior to the start time? thanks!


Yes!....but just keep in mind that we have a really tight schedule and likely can not spend much more than an hour and a half tops on the chat tonight. We also have to redesign our website, work with a bunch of joint clients on their applicants, plan all of our travel, do a video shoot, oh and participate in Doggie Dash 5k.

So if the queue fills up I'll try to give everyone a heads up so they do not ask any more questions.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Sep 05, 2013 3:50 pm

WanderingPondering wrote:Mike, which schools do you consider the winners and losers of this most recent admissions cycle? And do you expect to see subsequent jumps in the rankings because of this? Will a school raising or maintaining their medians, or lowering their class size be rewarded for it?

I know the rankings are not important to the students, but they can be huge for the school's reputation and ability to attract students (rightly or wrongly).


That's a great idea for a blog. I think we'll need about a month before we can entirely know though, so stay on me about that!

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bouleversement
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby bouleversement » Thu Sep 05, 2013 4:24 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:Yes!.


Okay, here's one. Do we derive any benefit from being the citizen of an under-represented nation? How much do schools care about being able to say "students from x countries" vs. "students from x + 1 countries" on their profile pages?

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haus
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby haus » Thu Sep 05, 2013 4:42 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:Yes!.

Does whatever slim benefit gained from having considerable professional work experience (say a decade or more) get diminished if only applying to a schools part-time program due to a higher percentage of applicants to part-time programs having work experience?

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Clearly
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Clearly » Thu Sep 05, 2013 4:57 pm

haus wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:Yes!.

Does whatever slim benefit gained from having considerable professional work experience (say a decade or more) get diminished if only applying to a schools part-time program due to a higher percentage of applicants to part-time programs having work experience?

The live q and a starts in 20 min, just post your questions there.

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t-14orbust
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby t-14orbust » Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:32 pm

Someone should probably make a new thread(or not) indicating that the Live Q&A has just begun. Not many people are too keen to click on an active topic with 30+ pages so they might not know.

bimmer11
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby bimmer11 » Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:44 pm

Registered but haven't received a password yet. How long does it usually take?

wolfgang
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby wolfgang » Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:47 pm

bimmer11 wrote:Registered but haven't received a password yet. How long does it usually take?


i got mine within seconds...

bimmer11
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby bimmer11 » Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:49 pm

wolfgang wrote:
bimmer11 wrote:Registered but haven't received a password yet. How long does it usually take?


i got mine within seconds...


Damn. Tried it again a few minutes ago and still nothing.

ETA: got it.

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Clearly
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Clearly » Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:54 pm

bimmer11 wrote:Registered but haven't received a password yet. How long does it usually take?

If you type a question it will post even before you receive your password, provided it makes it through moderation.


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