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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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:51 pm

Coming tomorrow on blog:

The Best application I have ever seen.

The creepiest application I have ever seen.


Should be a fun read if I can write at about a 4th grade or above level.

062914123
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby 062914123 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:13 pm

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Last edited by 062914123 on Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lilkrnq
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby lilkrnq » Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:28 pm

If a school application in their C&F section does not ask specifically about employment history and if you've been let go from a place of employment, would it be best to disclose voluntarily even though the application does not ask for it?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:04 pm

lilkrnq wrote:If a school application in their C&F section does not ask specifically about employment history and if you've been let go from a place of employment, would it be best to disclose voluntarily even though the application does not ask for it?


I would not. That is not a character & fitness issue (unless you broke a law or significant policy) and there is no reason you have to talk about a personal experience that they are not asking about.

One of the common mistakes in applications is the assumption that "more is always better" ...when that is not always the case. I hope this helps!

Mike

lilkrnq
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby lilkrnq » Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:30 pm

So just to clarify, if an application does not require the disclosure then do not disclose. However, if it does ask then be forthright.

I just wanted to confirm that your understanding of let go and what I meant to convey are the same. I meant let go not as in being laid off but being terminated/separated from my employment.

MikeSpivey wrote:
lilkrnq wrote:If a school application in their C&F section does not ask specifically about employment history and if you've been let go from a place of employment, would it be best to disclose voluntarily even though the application does not ask for it?


I would not. That is not a character & fitness issue (unless you broke a law or significant policy) and there is no reason you have to talk about a personal experience that they are not asking about.

One of the common mistakes in applications is the assumption that "more is always better" ...when that is not always the case. I hope this helps!

Mike

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:10 pm

So just to clarify, if an application does not require the disclosure then do not disclose. However, if it does ask then be forthright.


Correct.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Sep 10, 2013 2:00 pm

I owe everyone a best/worst applicant blog. Here it is:

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/bestworst-in-show/

Also, my ubiquitous " be the first to get it" on twitter at:

twitter.com/SpiveyConsult

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

Postby t-14orbust » Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:23 pm

Got a good one for you, Mike and Karen.

AFAIK, applicants don't want there to be any inconsistencies between their LS and Bar Apps C&F. However, what if the LS App question is not as specific as most? I ask this because Stanford's question is:

Have you ever been convicted of, or is any charge now pending against you for any crime other than a traffic violation?


I do not have any convictions but I do have C&F issues when applying the standard of other schools that ask their question like Columbia does:

Have you ever, either as an adult or a juvenile, been cited, arrested, charged with, indicted, convicted or tried for, or pleaded guilty to, the commission of any felony or misdemeanor or the violation of any law, except minor parking violations, or been the subject of any juvenile delinquency or youthful offender proceeding? This should include matters that may have been expunged from the records or subject to a diversionary program.


Basically, my question is: should I still provide C&F explanations of non-convictions to Stanford, even though they are not specifically asking for any?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:51 pm

I would almost never disclose something that is specifically not asked for, the exception being if I thought it would elevate my application ( I get a few C&F issues that are so minor and that admissions deans can relate to that they actually are value -added. I am making up an example here but something like "we set up a water slide from our 2nd floor porch to our lawn")

I don't want to get into answering for specific schools here, but I think you can discern from this what to do, yes?

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

Postby t-14orbust » Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:53 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:I would almost never disclose something that is specifically not asked for, the exception being if I thought it would elevate my application ( I get a few C&F issues that are so minor and that admissions deans can relate to that they actually are value -added. I am making up an example here but something like "we set up a water slide from our 2nd floor porch to our lawn")

I don't want to get into answering for specific schools here, but I think you can discern from this what to do, yes?


Thanks Mike, I'll be answering the question as it is asked.

SPerez
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby SPerez » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:30 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
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.


Elitists. :)

Dean Perez
TEXAS Tech University School of Law
JD, University of TEXAS School of Law
BS, TEXAS A&M University

(Actually, though, as long as you didn't use it in a way that suggested you thought it was a grammatically correct word, but instead used it once or twice for literary effect to support an overall essay written around your Texan culture, I think it could work. Unless Nor'easterners are just adverse to Texan culture generally, y'all or no y'all. You could always try "you'se guys", maybe? #thetwoutes)

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:39 pm

What is all this gobbledygoo in bold in this thread?

SPerez
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby SPerez » Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:48 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:What is all this gobbledygoo in bold in this thread?


Gobbledygoo? Did you learn that word on the mean streets of Greenwich, CT, Mr. Spivey?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:14 pm

Here is an actual value-added blog (versus a story on a creepy person or someone with a 180) on how to make a memorable impression at an admissions Forum or Fair that will help you in the admissions file reading phase of your application.

http://spiveyconsulting.com/blog/forums ... e-or-draw/

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twenty
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby twenty » Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:07 pm

Quick question that's apparently relevant to people other than just myself;

For applicants with no GPA (LSAC has not calculated a cumulative GPA), does the school just report the LSAT score for that applicant?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:13 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:Quick question that's apparently relevant to people other than just myself;

For applicants with no GPA (LSAC has not calculated a cumulative GPA), does the school just report the LSAT score for that applicant?


By "does the school just report the LSAT score?" I am not sure what you mean. (now is a good time to talk about how it is really important to be precise in law school applications because as a lawyer this is demanded blah blah blah.)

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twenty
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby twenty » Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:23 pm

Sorry -- to the ABA, USNWR, etc. I'm jumping to the (potentially unwarranted) assumption that anywhere an admissions officer would have to report identical data.

I suppose my real question is; in light of the fact that law school is very much a numbers game, if an applicant has a 165 and no cumulative GPA, will the law school be able to report that applicant to the ABA/USNWR on account of the missing GPA? If not, wouldn't that mean that retaking is virtually pointless?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:41 pm

No worries 20 percent I just wanted to make sure i answered the right way.

Your LSAT will go to the ABA but not your gpa, fyi.

Are you at one of the schools that do evaluations? There was a time that I felt like I was the only admissions officer on the planet that read all of those line by line.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:42 am

I'm not sure where to post this (likely it is already up in the Wash U Section), but my longtime boss/mentor and the "dean of law deans" (that is what other law deans have called him to me) is now leaving law deanship.

http://news.syr.edu/kent-d-syverud-name ... ity-41641/

I imagine there will be some domino/ripple effects soon.
Last edited by MikeSpivey on Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

optimist1
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby optimist1 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:24 am

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
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!


I have a low GPA but a good upward trend in the last two years. I did badly in first two years due to medical problem and my mom's health issues also gave me a ton of stress.

I have read on another website that many schools do not consider anything but LSAC gpa, while some other schools do look at upward trends. How well will professor LORs boost my application? When I applied for a job for example I had seven professors willing to write LORs for me and they were all professors I had for my 300/400 level courses.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:15 pm

optimist1 wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:
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!


I have a low GPA but a good upward trend in the last two years. I did badly in first two years due to medical problem and my mom's health issues also gave me a ton of stress.

I have read on another website that many schools do not consider anything but LSAC gpa, while some other schools do look at upward trends. How well will professor LORs boost my application? When I applied for a job for example I had seven professors willing to write LORs for me and they were all professors I had for my 300/400 level courses.


The LSAC Cumulative GPA is what gets reported to the ABA, and that is important to know, but it doesn't mean that the circumstances under which you received your law GPA will not be taken into consideration during the review process. If you are going to have bad grades, it is better to have an upward trend than a downward one! Academic letters of rec are always helpful in this type of situation, but do not send in 7 letters of rec - this is not a place where more is better. Two academic recs are good here - pick the best ones. Save the next best one for the waitlist :)
I would suggest adding a 2-3 sentence addendum about your first two years. Just the facts, nothing more.
Hope this is helpful!
Cheers,
Karen

mnindc
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby mnindc » Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:38 pm

Mike / Karen,

First of all, thanks for doing this. Your responses have been very helpful in formulating how to think about some aspects of my application.

Can you talk about what schools like to see in diversity statements? Most of the samples I have read on TLS have been "i am ____, had this experience and now want to contribute back to my ____ community as a lawyer." Do they always have to tie back to the law or can it also be how your background informed your perspective of the world / who you are now?

Thanks!

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Sep 12, 2013 5:02 pm

mnindc wrote:Mike / Karen,

First of all, thanks for doing this. Your responses have been very helpful in formulating how to think about some aspects of my application.

Can you talk about what schools like to see in diversity statements? Most of the samples I have read on TLS have been "i am ____, had this experience and now want to contribute back to my ____ community as a lawyer." Do they always have to tie back to the law or can it also be how your background informed your perspective of the world / who you are now?

Thanks!


It does not have to relate back to the law or legal community at all. To an admissions officer, it is understood that each individual's experiences will shape their opinions/views/perspectives, and that it is essential to have varying and opposing viewpoints in a law school classroom. Tell them how your background has shaped your perspective, keep it under two pages unless otherwise instructed, and make sure it does not contain the same information as your personal statement. It is an optional statement, and it will not look bad if you don't include one.
And the "what not to do" tip of the day: don't write a diversity statement on how much you value diversity and how that will add diversity to the class. Saying the word diversity doesn't make it a diversity statement.

Cheers,
Karen

062914123
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby 062914123 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 5:09 pm

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Last edited by 062914123 on Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:12 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 Sep 12, 2013 6:02 pm

And the "what not to do" tip of the day: don't write a diversity statement on how much you value diversity and how that will add diversity to the class. Saying the word diversity doesn't make it a diversity statement.

Cheers,
Karen


Or on being left-handed. True story.


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