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

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Clearly
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Clearly » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:51 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
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.

Well, there goes my being tall diversity statement...

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Dmini7
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Dmini7 » Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:12 pm

Clearly wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
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.

Well, there goes my being tall diversity statement...


Not sure if you are serious or not, but depending on your height, it could be a serious statement. I personally know of an individual who wrote theirs on being tall (6'8"-7') range, and the school still supplies is as a sample diversity essay that is unique and different.

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

Postby t-14orbust » Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:13 pm

One TLSer wrote his Yale 250 on having an abnormally large head. He didn't get in but I imagine that they enjoyed reading it.

edit: found it, it's one of the 250's included in the TLS Personal Statement Guide

I have an abnormally large head. It has been that way since birth – just ask my mother. In home videos, I can be seen futilely trying to balance my head on my neck, only to have it tip forward or backward. When I was nine, it got stuck under the bed while I was trying to retrieve a Lego. My parents told me I would eventually grow into it, but I am still waiting.

Though balance is no longer an issue, other problems have arisen. Whenever I do something that requires entry into a small space, I have to mentally check its size against the dimensions of my head. Putting on shirts stretches their collars, while removing them requires body contortions that would put a “sixteen”-year-old Olympic gymnast to shame. I steer clear of sunglasses - put a pair on a watermelon and you will see why. The same goes for hats. “One size fits all” excludes “gigantic.” In high school, I was forced to either remove padding from my football helmet or get one custom made. And, as if to drive the point home, I was given nicknames such as “Mr. Potato Head,” “Bobblehead,” and the beautifully blunt “Bighead.”

But alas, my head is a part of who I am. It helps to make me unique and stand head and shoulders - mostly head - above the crowd. While I have learned to embrace it, I know that it may be impossible for others to do the same.

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Clearly
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Clearly » Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:54 pm

Dmini7 wrote:
Clearly wrote:
MikeSpivey wrote:
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.

Well, there goes my being tall diversity statement...


Not sure if you are serious or not, but depending on your height, it could be a serious statement. I personally know of an individual who wrote theirs on being tall (6'8"-7') range, and the school still supplies is as a sample diversity essay that is unique and different.

And what school was this?

socraticmethod
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby socraticmethod » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:16 am

Hi Mike/Karen,
First up, this is a great resource for TLS and the 0L community, and thank you.
I'm an international applicant and as such don't have an LSAC gpa. And, I hope to score around the median LSAT for most of my target schools (HYSCCP).
Given that I can only contribute towards one reportable USNRW component, would that negatively impact my application ? Or in the alternative, would the absence make it a positive ? Any thoughts on how it will play out are appreciated, thank you.

P.S. Karen, your bit on 'honing skills' in your blog post on words funny.

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Clearly
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Clearly » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:48 am

socraticmethod wrote:Hi Mike/Karen,
First up, this is a great resource for TLS and the 0L community, and thank you.
I'm an international applicant and as such don't have an LSAC gpa. And, I hope to score around the median LSAT for most of my target schools (HYSCCP).
Given that I can only contribute towards one reportable USNRW component, would that negatively impact my application ? Or in the alternative, would the absence make it a positive ? Any thoughts on how it will play out are appreciated, thank you.

P.S. Karen, your bit on 'honing skills' in your blog post on words funny.

they just talked about this on the last page.

optimist1
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby optimist1 » Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:05 am

Thank you for replying to my questions, Karen. I have a few more questions I'd like to ask if that is okay.

I read on a post here on this forum that schools look more fondly at LORs that applicants waive their rights to see. Is this true? It does make sense but as you said it is better to just send two letters than seven. When I applied for a job I gave all of them as my references and my boss actually called every single one of them. Thankfully, all of them said very nice things about me. My boss said that was one of the reasons for hiring me lol.

I am 99.99999999% certain that the professors who are willing to write LORs for me will not write that I am a horrible person, so I am not particularly worried about sending in two waived LORs from professors who know and like me. Since it would be best to send just two LORs, should I just pick out two of my favorite professors whose letters I should send? And, should I waive my right to see the LOR?

Thanks a lot!

ZVBXRPL
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby ZVBXRPL » Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:59 am

bee wrote:I apologize in advance if this has been asked before, I haven't read through the whole thread yet.

Since, for the last few years, December scores haven't come out until after New Years, would it be better for applicants to send in their applications before receiving an LSAT score if they're taking the LSAT in Dec? Does this answer change depending upon whether you already have a previous LSAT score on file?

Applying in January just seems so late to me, and I'm really worried about what I'll end up having to do if I decide to retake the LSAT in December.

Thank you so much for your time!


I am curious what Spivey Consulting has to say...
Courtesy of RetakeFrenzy: Schools like Penn, Duke and Cornell now have 2 ED rounds. You can take Dec LSAT and still apply.
Also, UVA and Georgetown don't have a conventional ED program. You can submit almost anytime while their application's open and just ask them to review your app under ED.

Here:
Penn
Duke
Cornell

Georgetown
UVA

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:07 am

Not specific to any school, but in general I tend to think Early Decision Programs are most often a marketing tool and not anything else. Obviously there are exceptions.

El Terrible produced some strong data towards this end which is on his and my blog, fyi.

Amicus_Curiae2013
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Amicus_Curiae2013 » Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:43 pm

LEPWU wrote:Hi Mike,

I am originally from TX, but I received my BA at an American-style college in Brussels, Belgium. The degree only took 3 years to achieve, which is sort of the norm "over there," although a 3-year degree here in the U.S. may be viewed with some skepticism. [I would argue that while I never got to take "The History of Rock-'n'-Roll" or "The Horror Film in Context," I did get a solid foundational education of the non-fluff basics (major: international affairs; minor: politics).]

I graduated as #1 in my class, with a 4.0GPA. I also went on to get a master's degree at Columbia University (GPA = 3.89), so I do have higher education from an American institution under my belt.

How do admissions officers view candidates who are foreign-educated? Will this be a hindrance for me or viewed as something novel / out of the norm (in a good way)? I have always been proud of my GPA, but I worry that admissions officers will think: "Great, a 4.0 from an unknown school in Brussels, Belgium. Who cares?" Just curious. Thank you!


OMG! I thought I was the only one with this issue. Also earned a masters with a perfect GPA, albeit from a less prestigious school. Did he ever answer your question?

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Fri Sep 13, 2013 4:36 pm

optimist1 wrote:Thank you for replying to my questions, Karen. I have a few more questions I'd like to ask if that is okay.

I read on a post here on this forum that schools look more fondly at LORs that applicants waive their rights to see. Is this true? It does make sense but as you said it is better to just send two letters than seven. When I applied for a job I gave all of them as my references and my boss actually called every single one of them. Thankfully, all of them said very nice things about me. My boss said that was one of the reasons for hiring me lol.

I am 99.99999999% certain that the professors who are willing to write LORs for me will not write that I am a horrible person, so I am not particularly worried about sending in two waived LORs from professors who know and like me. Since it would be best to send just two LORs, should I just pick out two of my favorite professors whose letters I should send? And, should I waive my right to see the LOR?

Thanks a lot!


Optimist,

I really don't think that waiving your right to see the letters (or not) will make a difference in the evaluation. I can't remember the last time I even looked at that when reviewing an application. I'd suggest pick the 2 professors that you impressed the most. Waiving your right is totally up to you. Do you think that the professors would write anything differently if you waive or not?

Cheers,
Karen

062914123
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby 062914123 » Fri Sep 13, 2013 4:43 pm

.
Last edited by 062914123 on Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:17 pm, 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 14, 2013 1:55 pm

bee wrote:I apologize in advance if this has been asked before, I haven't read through the whole thread yet.

Since, for the last few years, December scores haven't come out until after New Years, would it be better for applicants to send in their applications before receiving an LSAT score if they're taking the LSAT in Dec? Does this answer change depending upon whether you already have a previous LSAT score on file?

Applying in January just seems so late to me, and I'm really worried about what I'll end up having to do if I decide to retake the LSAT in December.

Thank you so much for your time!


Hi Bee,

If you are taking the test for the first time in December, and you know you are going to apply regardless of the score, apply early so the school is just waiting for the test.

If you are retaking the test, make sure you let the school know that you are going to be sending in an updated test score. (the preferred method of that communication varies from school to school, but an email is usually fine) You may want to apply early, but you should be aware that your application will likely be completed with the first score, so it may be reviewed with just that score.

Cheers,
Karen

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Sat Sep 14, 2013 1:58 pm

What do y'all think of the National Jurist rankings?
https://twitter.com/SpiveyConsult

Karen

Innovative
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Innovative » Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:18 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:What do y'all think of the National Jurist rankings?
https://twitter.com/SpiveyConsult

Karen


So far, the methodology for the report seems a bit vague ("The Best Value rankings look at tuition, debt, and cost of living and compare these numbers with percent employed and bar pass rates."). If the analyzed methodology did in fact uncover that Public Interest, Clerkships, and loan forgiveness were taken into account I would certainly have to give the rankings a much more serious look.

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Ex Cearulo
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Ex Cearulo » Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:36 pm

Hi Karen,

Welcome and thank you for your contributions! I was hoping you would address your take on applications from large splitters at the very top law schools, at least as much as you can based on your own professional experience. When you see an application with an above-median LSAT (or even above-75th percentile LSAT), but a "very low" GPA (think 3.25-3.5 range), what goes through your mind? And what kinds of other things do you need to see to consider the applicant for a waitlist or admit spot? Any personal preferences or anecdotes regarding non-quantitative factors on applications that you'd be willing to share with the TLS masses?

Thanks again!

Cheers,
HD

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:53 pm

Innovative wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:What do y'all think of the National Jurist rankings?
https://twitter.com/SpiveyConsult

Karen


So far, the methodology for the report seems a bit vague ("The Best Value rankings look at tuition, debt, and cost of living and compare these numbers with percent employed and bar pass rates."). If the analyzed methodology did in fact uncover that Public Interest, Clerkships, and loan forgiveness were taken into account I would certainly have to give the rankings a much more serious look.


Agreed 100% Innovative but coming up with a strong methodology is extremely difficult. I have long coveted a blog article on schools that punch above their weight but it would be anecdotal because determining what metrics to use, weighting them, and actually getting them as raw data is rather difficult.

Incidentally, if I were to do such a list BYU would head mine as well, and Richmond Law would be way up there. Emory is a rising star over the past 3 years, thanks in large part to this guy:

http://shared.web.emory.edu/emory/news/ ... jSwcsakrmY

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MyNameIsFlynn!
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MyNameIsFlynn! » Sat Sep 14, 2013 5:58 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:What do y'all think of the National Jurist rankings?
https://twitter.com/SpiveyConsult

Karen


Baylor at the top of the list? Yale gets a B- on value? :roll: at these rankings

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Dr.Zer0
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Dr.Zer0 » Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:27 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
bee wrote:I apologize in advance if this has been asked before, I haven't read through the whole thread yet.

Since, for the last few years, December scores haven't come out until after New Years, would it be better for applicants to send in their applications before receiving an LSAT score if they're taking the LSAT in Dec? Does this answer change depending upon whether you already have a previous LSAT score on file?

Applying in January just seems so late to me, and I'm really worried about what I'll end up having to do if I decide to retake the LSAT in December.

Thank you so much for your time!


Hi Bee,

If you are taking the test for the first time in December, and you know you are going to apply regardless of the score, apply early so the school is just waiting for the test.

If you are retaking the test, make sure you let the school know that you are going to be sending in an updated test score. (the preferred method of that communication varies from school to school, but an email is usually fine) You may want to apply early, but you should be aware that your application will likely be completed with the first score, so it may be reviewed with just that score.

Cheers,
Karen


Hey Karen,

Thanks you for your contributions to this thread. I wanted to ask a follow up question. If you do complete your app with one score, but schools know you have another score coming in, do schools sometimes offer acceptances before they see that second score? Or do they wait to see the retake score to offer/deny admission?

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MoMettaMonk
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MoMettaMonk » Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:59 pm

Karen and Mike,

As everyone has already said thank you for your contributions to this site. They have been invaluable. There was recently a post in the URM forum where someone was posting for a "friend" who was contemplating faking URM status in order to attempt to gain admission to a higher ranked school. The TLS hive-mind quickly pounced and said that it was a horrible idea, but we also realized that we weren't sure what a school could do to catch someone who did this, what penalties they would face (Dion Alaniz was mentioned but that was an especially strange case), or even if it's something that happens on even a semi-regular basis. As the admissions experts on this board, I was wondering if there was any light that you could shed on how schools deal with this issue?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:26 pm

MoMettaMonk wrote:Karen and Mike,

As everyone has already said thank you for your contributions to this site. They have been invaluable. There was recently a post in the URM forum where someone was posting for a "friend" who was contemplating faking URM status in order to attempt to gain admission to a higher ranked school. The TLS hive-mind quickly pounced and said that it was a horrible idea, but we also realized that we weren't sure what a school could do to catch someone who did this, what penalties they would face (Dion Alaniz was mentioned but that was an especially strange case), or even if it's something that happens on even a semi-regular basis. As the admissions experts on this board, I was wondering if there was any light that you could shed on how schools deal with this issue?


Let me suspend judgement on someone doing this or thinking about doing this (and I have them x10) and focus on the possible ramifications.

One. If you (obviously not you MoMettaMonk, I mean anyone) were to do this and a school were to investigate and find out you would be blackballed from the law school community. Likely you would never go to law school. All it would take would be for law school to find out -- so if a friend told on this applicant (it happens), if a school investigates, etc etc. No JD. Ever.

Two. Perhaps even worse, what if this was discovered while you were in law school. You would be kicked out after spending x year(s) and $$$ and revert back to #1. Again, no JD, this time you would also be out of time and money.

Three. What if 1 or 2 happened and the media picked up on it. You might not be out of a job but out of a career.

Think back to what happened on this very board a few years ago with Illinois. I have never commented on it because I know people involved very well and I was pretty much shocked out of my mind. All I will say is that one lie seems to have turned into a pattern of lies, (as is the norm by the way I used to teach Business Ethics at a university and we talked about this very topic) and someone lost their career because of doing so. Why would you ever risk this? You integrity is the most important thing you have in your career. I mean #1 most important. To quote a Dutch saying "trust leaves on horseback and returns on foot"

20141023
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby 20141023 » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:26 pm

.
Last edited by 20141023 on Sat Feb 14, 2015 3:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:29 pm

Dr.Zer0 wrote:
Hey Karen,

Thanks you for your contributions to this thread. I wanted to ask a follow up question. If you do complete your app with one score, but schools know you have another score coming in, do schools sometimes offer acceptances before they see that second score? Or do they wait to see the retake score to offer/deny admission?


Dr. Z,
Sure, schools can make an admit decision without seeing the new score, but that is a rare situation since you usually retake because you are hoping for a higher score. Remember, schools report the high score to the ABA so the high score wins.
Cheers,
Karen

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:42 pm

Please don't let me get on your bad side, kappycaft1.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:49 pm

HawgDriver wrote:Hi Karen,

Welcome and thank you for your contributions! I was hoping you would address your take on applications from large splitters at the very top law schools, at least as much as you can based on your own professional experience. When you see an application with an above-median LSAT (or even above-75th percentile LSAT), but a "very low" GPA (think 3.25-3.5 range), what goes through your mind? And what kinds of other things do you need to see to consider the applicant for a waitlist or admit spot? Any personal preferences or anecdotes regarding non-quantitative factors on applications that you'd be willing to share with the TLS masses?

Thanks again!

Cheers,
HD


HD,
When I read applications like that, I went right to the transcript and looked at: how long ago the bad grades happened (time and distance is good here), trends (upward is better than downward), difficulty of major, and grade inflation at the school. There are very smart people with good reasons for bad grades, and readers can see that through those elements listed above as well as some other factors. Of course the LSAT can help here. Other factors include: good/ interesting work experience, exceptionally strong academic letters of rec, or a compelling personal story.

I hope this is helpful!
Cheers,
Karen


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