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

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

Postby t-14orbust » Thu Sep 05, 2013 6:06 pm

FYI: If anyone is having trouble getting their password, mine showed up in my spam folder.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Sep 05, 2013 6:36 pm

The Live Q&A is now shutting down, so we can't answer any more questions (Dean Lee from NU was our mystery guest and he had to leave just now but many thanks to him for joining)!

I actually think we may be able to keep this questions and answers online --I will work with Stefan on that.

Thanks all! I believe we had over 100 register and over 20 questions answered in that short time period! I immodestly think my answers are the most valuable, of course.

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

Postby t-14orbust » Thu Sep 05, 2013 6:42 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:The Live Q&A is now shutting down, so we can't answer any more questions (Dean Lee from NU was our mystery guest and he had to leave just now but many thanks to him for joining)!

I actually think we may be able to keep this questions and answers online --I will work with Stefan on that.

Thanks all! I believe we had over 100 register and over 20 questions answered in that short time period! I immodestly think my answers are the most valuable, of course.


Thanks again Mike! It was very helpful

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Sep 05, 2013 7:56 pm

t-14orbust wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:The Live Q&A is now shutting down, so we can't answer any more questions (Dean Lee from NU was our mystery guest and he had to leave just now but many thanks to him for joining)!

I actually think we may be able to keep this questions and answers online --I will work with Stefan on that.

Thanks all! I believe we had over 100 register and over 20 questions answered in that short time period! I immodestly think my answers are the most valuable, of course.


Thanks again Mike! It was very helpful


I haven;t talked to Johann since the Q&A but Karen and I had a blast. We'll do it again.

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bouleversement
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby bouleversement » Thu Sep 05, 2013 8:49 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:We'll do it again.


I couldn't make it this time Mike but I would like to in the future. Any rough idea when you will have the next one?

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:35 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.


Sorry for the delay; this corporate retreat is filled with work, work, work!

If you leave a graduate program without finishing, I would add an addendum to explain what happened. If you don't, the person reading the file may make an assumption about what happened, and that may not be in your best interest. Better to just tell the reason why.
It doesn't look good to have bad grades in grad school, but if the program is a bad fit that may be a good reason to not finish the program.
I would advise college seniors who are debating a career between academia and the law to take some time away from school and try something else before making that commitment.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:43 pm

gobosox wrote: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"?


It is important to read the instructions for the applications for each school. Some have specific optional essays that you may include if the topic applies to you It is not looked down upon if you don't include them -- many people are admitted without additional essays -- but it sometimes gives you the opportunity to tell the adcoms a little more about yourself.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:58 pm

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


It depends. I know that some readers (not specifically at HLS) will read the LSAT essay, while others don't. I can't speak for all adcoms, but I can tell you that there were only a few situations where I would read the essay. Specifically, I would read it if I was unsure of the English language ability of the applicant or if I just wanted to get a better sense of the person's raw writing ability. Both of those reasons led me to read a very small percentage of the essays, but I always flipped through to make sure that you didn't draw a picture. It happens; don't do it.

The takeaway is: you should take it seriously, but please do not fret over it.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Sep 05, 2013 11:07 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.


Don't be surprised when LSAC comes knocking on your door to ask what's up?
In cases like this when there is a huge jump, the academic record will help the adcoms see where the academic potential lies. If the 146 is an anomaly, it will come across as such in the application. If the academic record is as wildly fluctuating as the LSAT score, then this shows a pattern.
Remember, the schools will report the high score, so congrats on that 172!

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bouleversement
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby bouleversement » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:44 am

bouleversement wrote:
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?


Hi Karen,

Thanks for answering our questions here as well. Did you happen to respond in the Q+A to this question I posed here yesterday?

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

Postby t-14orbust » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:55 am

What do "disciplinary action" and "disciplinary proceedings" mean in the C&F questions about UG? Do they mean sanctions or can they mean any alleged charges for violations that I was found to be not responsible for?

edit: For Yale: "been the subject of any other disciplinary action or proceedings for misconduct"

Columbia: "subjected to disciplinary action for scholastic or other reasons by any college"

gimmedanger
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby gimmedanger » Fri Sep 06, 2013 8:40 pm

Thanks Mike and Karen for your invaluable answers on this forum. It has been a powerful resource.
Love that you are based in Boulder, my hometown!

I am visiting Austin in 2 weeks for pleasure, and also to check out the city as University of Texas is my top choice. My application will not be in yet, but I'm hoping to be complete by mid-October (166/3.68). Does making an appointment with the admissions office help my app? Is it important to come in with 100 questions, or more valuable just to make contact, shake a hand, and express my strong interest?

Also curious how important it is to visit schools if you are on the waiting list. I live in outside the US and work full-time so visiting schools after this trip is an unlikely option.

Any thoughts you have on visits would much appreciated.

Thanks again!

PS. I saw you were going to be in Austin the same week, but now it looks like Houston instead?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat Sep 07, 2013 9:35 am

gimmedanger wrote:Thanks Mike and Karen for your invaluable answers on this forum. It has been a powerful resource.
Love that you are based in Boulder, my hometown!

I am visiting Austin in 2 weeks for pleasure, and also to check out the city as University of Texas is my top choice. My application will not be in yet, but I'm hoping to be complete by mid-October (166/3.68). Does making an appointment with the admissions office help my app? Is it important to come in with 100 questions, or more valuable just to make contact, shake a hand, and express my strong interest?

Also curious how important it is to visit schools if you are on the waiting list. I live in outside the US and work full-time so visiting schools after this trip is an unlikely option.

Any thoughts you have on visits would much appreciated.

Thanks again!

PS. I saw you were going to be in Austin the same week, but now it looks like Houston instead?


I am a big fan of reaching out to every office of admissions and in rank order (1) visit, (2) call, (3) email. Not every school has an open door policy to visit the admissions folks but most do, and any connection you can establish helps. At times, it can make all the difference in the world. (particularly when on the WL). So I would definitely go for it.

Re: Texas. You are correct. I will be in Houston (at Rice University) the evening of the 17th and then straight to Dallas on the 18th morning of. I do have some time in Dallas either the afternoon of the 18th or morning of the 19th to meet with a few people for coffee, if the trip up from Austin is possible or if that interests anyone else.
Last edited by MikeSpivey on Sat Sep 07, 2013 10:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Sat Sep 07, 2013 9:59 am

t-14orbust wrote:What do "disciplinary action" and "disciplinary proceedings" mean in the C&F questions about UG? Do they mean sanctions or can they mean any alleged charges for violations that I was found to be not responsible for?

edit: For Yale: "been the subject of any other disciplinary action or proceedings for misconduct"

Columbia: "subjected to disciplinary action for scholastic or other reasons by any college"


I hate to give this answer, but it really does vary from school to school. It is important to answer the questions right because it may come back and bite you later, so please read each question carefully. It is usually better to err on the side of disclosure and please keep the explanation brief.

To me, the Yale language you posted above would include the alleged charges, but the Columbia language would not.

Karen

Instinctive
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Instinctive » Sat Sep 07, 2013 11:47 am

The Q&A was great y'all! Thank you so much for making that available to us.

ETA: I did have a random question though, after typing that up. For any, but Karen especially: How do you feel about words like "y'all" in a personal statement or Yale 250? I'm a middle class male, so the diversity I bring to the table is in growing up in Texas and going to OU for school. "Y'all" is a very common word in my life, but do I need to edit that out because northeastern schools will view it as uneducated?

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bouleversement
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby bouleversement » Sat Sep 07, 2013 12:09 pm

bouleversement wrote:
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?


Hi Karen,

In addition to the quoted question above, could you please resolve once and for all whether a given school has any way of learning to which other schools we have applied?

Thanks.

pancho
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby pancho » Sat Sep 07, 2013 12:48 pm

Great stuff here!
Last edited by pancho on Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

pancho
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby pancho » Sat Sep 07, 2013 12:50 pm

yot11 wrote: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?


I would also really like to know this.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat Sep 07, 2013 1:11 pm

Instinctive wrote:The Q&A was great y'all! Thank you so much for making that available to us.

ETA: I did have a random question though, after typing that up. For any, but Karen especially: How do you feel about words like "y'all" in a personal statement or Yale 250? I'm a middle class male, so the diversity I bring to the table is in growing up in Texas and going to OU for school. "Y'all" is a very common word in my life, but do I need to edit that out because northeastern schools will view it as uneducated?


I would not use Ya'll, especially if i were applying to Northeastern schools. I grew up in CT but my entire family is from TN and AL and there is this downward posture in the NE on the word Ya'll.

Karen just looked over my shoulder and agreed 100%, btw.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Sat Sep 07, 2013 8:05 pm

bouleversement wrote:
bouleversement wrote:
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?


Hi Karen,

In addition to the quoted question above, could you please resolve once and for all whether a given school has any way of learning to which other schools we have applied?

Thanks.


Sure, being from an under-represented country is a differentiating factor. I'm not sure how much it will matter for the purpose of the school saying "students from x countries" but it wouldn't hurt for the school to have x+1

Some law school applications may ask about other schools to which you have applied, but if they don't, there isn't a way to tell. Unless your personal statement that you submitted to HLS says "...and that is why I belong at Stanford Law School."

EDIT Later on in the cycle - starting in April or May - schools will be able to tell if you have submitted a deposit to another school by running a report. Not all schools participate in this, but most do.

Karen
Last edited by KarenButtenbaum on Sat Sep 07, 2013 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bouleversement
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby bouleversement » Sat Sep 07, 2013 8:26 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
Sure, being from an under-represented country is a differentiating factor. I'm not sure how much it will matter for the purpose of the school saying "students from x countries" but it wouldn't hurt for the school to have x+1

Some law school applications may ask about other schools to which you have applied, but if they don't, there isn't a way to tell. Unless your personal statement that you submitted to HLS says "...and that is why I belong at Stanford Law School."

Karen


Thanks!

gimmedanger
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby gimmedanger » Sat Sep 07, 2013 9:04 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
I am a big fan of reaching out to every office of admissions and in rank order (1) visit, (2) call, (3) email. Not every school has an open door policy to visit the admissions folks but most do, and any connection you can establish helps. At times, it can make all the difference in the world. (particularly when on the WL). So I would definitely go for it.

Re: Texas. You are correct. I will be in Houston (at Rice University) the evening of the 17th and then straight to Dallas on the 18th morning of. I do have some time in Dallas either the afternoon of the 18th or morning of the 19th to meet with a few people for coffee, if the trip up from Austin is possible or if that interests anyone else.


Great advice, thanks!

Too bad, I'll be leaving Austin on the 18th. :(

ZVBXRPL
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby ZVBXRPL » Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:36 am

MikeSpivey wrote:Karen just looked over my shoulder and agreed 100%, btw.

...makes me curious about your office setup, location, employees etc. Care to shed light? By the way, the Spivey fox is cool.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:39 am

ZVBXRPL wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:Karen just looked over my shoulder and agreed 100%, btw.

...makes me curious about your office setup, location, employees etc. Care to shed light? By the way, the Spivey fox is cool.


Karen is in the Northeast, I am in the Rockies -- she was just out here so we could work on a number of things post expansion (we currently sit at three employees, 1 intern, and 1 Stefan)...(I am pretty sure our next intern will be someone from TLS and I'll introduce them to a bunch of BigLaw managing partners).

The Fox is here to stay, just met with our web guy. We are, however, working on a verbal brand to express our experience in the industry (over 30 years combined) and to reflect that we actually very much enjoy doing this line by line, school by school. If anyone has a catchy, pithy idea bring it on! Thanks!

Mike

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:56 am

While I am thinking about it I should add we have a new twitter account because we now have a full-time person (Jennifer Winslow/JenWins on TLS and Scrambles with Friends) on employment.

@SpiveyCoEmploy

We are going to entirely post open jobs and job search advice on that account.

All admissions and miscellaneous law school advice, data, breaking news, and when we break the USNWR rankings a day early again will still come from

@SpiveyConsult


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