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.

Which would you prefer most?

Poll ended at Sat Apr 23, 2016 11:05 am

1. Blog advice
0
No votes
2. Podcast advice
0
No votes
3. Video advice
0
No votes
4. Just keep it all on TLS
0
No votes
5. Tweet it
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 0

20141023
Posts: 3072
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:17 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby 20141023 » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:56 pm

.
Last edited by 20141023 on Sat Feb 14, 2015 3:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
KarenButtenbaum
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:39 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:11 am

BoxerReb6 wrote:Hi Mike and Karen,

Here's my 2 part-er that I'd very much like your input on. It is re: my DS. I'm a white male writing about my parent's felonies and frequent run-ins with the law. I believe our fairly consistent poverty (father had a job about 6 years total out of the time I've been alive) and my somewhat unusual upbringing has influenced who I am to a great degree and would make me diverse compared to the average law school student, which is also the advice I've gotten from advisors and professors. However, I have 2 concerns. First, would associating myself with that aspect make me look bad? I never committed any crimes and I'm a perfectly normal, law abiding citizen despite my childhood, but my parents are still somewhat reluctant criminals. Second, My PS mentions something specific my experience with parental identity theft. I've gone ahead and left that piece of information in because it serves as a good starting point for my PS but I'm wondering if it's too much to briefly mention something my parent's did in my PS and then make a large portion of my DS also about my parent's criminality. To be sure, my PS now only contains about 2 lines concerning my folks, intro and conclusion, but they are there nonetheless because it's commanded large portion of my life.

If I could get your thoughts on that, I'd very much appreciate it!

EDIT: And if you are feeling particularly generous, I'd love to hear your thoughts on re-applicants and what you think about students who retake the LSAT and do worse.


Hi BoxerReb,

I would not shy away from this because you think it will look bad to have a close association with criminality. It's all about how you present it in the statement, and it sounds like you are on the right track. The PS and the DS should be different (no repeated paragraphs, etc.) but they are obviously both about you, so it makes sense that they are tied together. You are headed in the right direction here.

I think there is a general misconception about re-applying. It does not look bad to re-apply. It does look bad to apply every year for the past 20 years without changing anything. Keep in mind that the applicant pool may not change from year to year (tho this is not so true with every school right now) so a re-applicant whose application doesn't change much may see the same result. My heart sinks when I see an LSAT go down; I can feel the disappointment from the applicant. I guess it depends on what the applicant plans on doing next: retake again? just go with the first one? It wouldn't look bad to retake again under those circumstances.

Cheers,
Karen

User avatar
MikeSpivey
Posts: 2609
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:28 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:11 am

I'm about to head out on a whirlwind speaking junket so be nice to Karen. Apologies for not being able to answer these for a good bit.

User avatar
KarenButtenbaum
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:39 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:18 am

Thought this was interesting, so I wanted to pass it along. Facebook 'like' is free speech according to Federal appeals court: http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/ ... employee_/

Cheers,
Karen

User avatar
lhn5007
Posts: 46
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:52 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby lhn5007 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:27 am

Hi Karen,

I had a question about the application process. I understand that LSAC will create a report for me as long as I have my undergraduate transcripts. I have a financial obligation for a post-bac transcript that I am in the progress of paying off but probably will not be able to pay in full by the time my applications are in. It is noted with LSAC. Will adcomms automatically reject me because of this? Will this be held against me even though I will eventually be able to send in the transcript to the school within the next year? Is there anyway I can notify schools of this? I am doing the best I can to pay it off as fast as possible but it is a large sum of money. I'm not sure what to do at the moment. Would you suggest I wait an entire year? I would hate to do that but if applying is futile I wouldn't have any other choice. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Big Dog
Posts: 1191
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:34 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Big Dog » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:51 am

Thought this was interesting, so I wanted to pass it along. Facebook 'like' is free speech according to Federal appeals court...


In the case presented, it was kind of a no-brainer, since it had to do with an election. But I'd love to know what a court would do if someone clicked 'like' on a child pornography site..... :?

Vitaminwater
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:53 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Vitaminwater » Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:05 pm

Hey Karen and Mike,

I was wondering if you could enlighten me on the specifics of what a "first generation college student is" and/or whether it also somewhat relates and/or applies to being a "first generation graduate student". (Sorry if this sounds totally confusing...)

I've tried looking up definitions, but have found conflicting answers and was hoping that people such as yourselves that dealt with admissions might have some better insight.

Obviously if neither parents ever went to college, you would be considered first generation, but what about if your parents went to college, but only received an associate's degree rather than a bachelor's degree?

Does being a first generation graduate student also help at all, if say one is not a first generation college student?

Thanks!

User avatar
KarenButtenbaum
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:39 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:20 pm

lhn5007 wrote:Hi Karen,

I had a question about the application process. I understand that LSAC will create a report for me as long as I have my undergraduate transcripts. I have a financial obligation for a post-bac transcript that I am in the progress of paying off but probably will not be able to pay in full by the time my applications are in. It is noted with LSAC. Will adcomms automatically reject me because of this? Will this be held against me even though I will eventually be able to send in the transcript to the school within the next year? Is there anyway I can notify schools of this? I am doing the best I can to pay it off as fast as possible but it is a large sum of money. I'm not sure what to do at the moment. Would you suggest I wait an entire year? I would hate to do that but if applying is futile I wouldn't have any other choice. Any advice would be much appreciated.


I would suggest letting the schools know that you are working on finding a resolution to this. It will be noted on your CAS report as a financial obligation, so I think it's best to address it and not ignore it. You can attach an addendum to your application but make it short. Just one or two sentences will be fine; don't make it too long.
I don't think that it is an auto-deny, but it may hold up your application review depending on the school and how significant this transcript is. I don't think that you'd have to wait a year.

Hope that is helpful!
Cheers,
Karen

User avatar
KarenButtenbaum
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:39 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:25 pm

Vitaminwater wrote:Hey Karen and Mike,

I was wondering if you could enlighten me on the specifics of what a "first generation college student is" and/or whether it also somewhat relates and/or applies to being a "first generation graduate student". (Sorry if this sounds totally confusing...)

I've tried looking up definitions, but have found conflicting answers and was hoping that people such as yourselves that dealt with admissions might have some better insight.

Obviously if neither parents ever went to college, you would be considered first generation, but what about if your parents went to college, but only received an associate's degree rather than a bachelor's degree?

Does being a first generation graduate student also help at all, if say one is not a first generation college student?

Thanks!


Don't look too deep into definitions of these things. Forget the label and describe what it is. In the example you gave above, I think the person should describe themselves as the first person in their family to receive a bachelor's degree. And I think that is significant.
First generation graduate student sounds like you are talking about graduate school.

Cheers,
Karen

Vitaminwater
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:53 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Vitaminwater » Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:00 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:
Vitaminwater wrote:Hey Karen and Mike,

I was wondering if you could enlighten me on the specifics of what a "first generation college student is" and/or whether it also somewhat relates and/or applies to being a "first generation graduate student". (Sorry if this sounds totally confusing...)

I've tried looking up definitions, but have found conflicting answers and was hoping that people such as yourselves that dealt with admissions might have some better insight.

Obviously if neither parents ever went to college, you would be considered first generation, but what about if your parents went to college, but only received an associate's degree rather than a bachelor's degree?

Does being a first generation graduate student also help at all, if say one is not a first generation college student?

Thanks!


Don't look too deep into definitions of these things. Forget the label and describe what it is. In the example you gave above, I think the person should describe themselves as the first person in their family to receive a bachelor's degree. And I think that is significant.
First generation graduate student sounds like you are talking about graduate school.

Cheers,
Karen


Awesome, thank you!

Still related though, if I have cousins who are older and have graduated college, but I am the first in my immediate family to receive a bachelor's degree, would that still count?

User avatar
KarenButtenbaum
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:39 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:02 pm

Vitaminwater wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:
Vitaminwater wrote:Hey Karen and Mike,

I was wondering if you could enlighten me on the specifics of what a "first generation college student is" and/or whether it also somewhat relates and/or applies to being a "first generation graduate student". (Sorry if this sounds totally confusing...)

I've tried looking up definitions, but have found conflicting answers and was hoping that people such as yourselves that dealt with admissions might have some better insight.

Obviously if neither parents ever went to college, you would be considered first generation, but what about if your parents went to college, but only received an associate's degree rather than a bachelor's degree?

Does being a first generation graduate student also help at all, if say one is not a first generation college student?

Thanks!


Don't look too deep into definitions of these things. Forget the label and describe what it is. In the example you gave above, I think the person should describe themselves as the first person in their family to receive a bachelor's degree. And I think that is significant.
First generation graduate student sounds like you are talking about graduate school.

Cheers,
Karen


Awesome, thank you!

Still related though, if I have cousins who are older and have graduated college, but I am the first in my immediate family to receive a bachelor's degree, would that still count?


Then you are the first in your immediate family to graduate from college - describe it as it is, then of course it will count! And it is still relevant.

User avatar
lhn5007
Posts: 46
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:52 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby lhn5007 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:19 pm

Thank you Karen! I will definitely address it in an addendum as I will have the transcript by the end of spring.

User avatar
twenty
Posts: 3153
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby twenty » Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:30 pm

Is there any admissions "advantage" to applying to joint programs, particularly when the non-JD degree is not regarded as highly as the JD is? (ex. NYU or Yale's JD/MBA)

rebexness
Posts: 4163
Joined: Sun Jan 09, 2011 6:24 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby rebexness » Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:21 pm

Kind of specific, but-

Any experience with (more than)3+ LSAT scores hurting someone, even if the eventual score is "there"?

Excluding the obvious YSH.

User avatar
MikeSpivey
Posts: 2609
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:28 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:27 pm

rebexness wrote:Kind of specific, but-

Any experience with (more than)3+ LSAT scores hurting someone, even if the eventual score is "there"?

Excluding the obvious YSH.


Yes, but only back when scores were averaged by USNWR, and that is long gone.

Maybe Yale can still afford to care, but everything I know to the nth degree says 3 scores actually equals 1 high score. Everywhere.

If the jump is 10 points or more you need to explain...and LSAC may come calling

User avatar
blink
Posts: 428
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:14 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby blink » Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:56 pm

Thanks!
Last edited by blink on Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
KarenButtenbaum
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:39 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:49 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:Is there any admissions "advantage" to applying to joint programs, particularly when the non-JD degree is not regarded as highly as the JD is? (ex. NYU or Yale's JD/MBA)


It's really hard to say from school to school, but it might (ever-so-slightly) help if they are trying to grow the program. I wouldn't encourage it as a tactic, but if you are seriously thinking about it, why not indicate it?

Cheers,
Karen

User avatar
KarenButtenbaum
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:39 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:10 pm

It is really important to read each C&F question carefully, since each school ask different questions. This is tricky because they are so similar, but it is really important to be accurate here.
Generally speaking, if there is a record of it, you should disclose. But it really depends on what each C&F question asks for. Sorry I can't be more help here.
Multiple write-ups can be indicative of a larger behavior problem, but you should say exactly what you said above. Don't make excuses, just explain it. And keep it brief.

Cheers,
Karen

Instinctive
Posts: 436
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:23 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Instinctive » Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:43 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:It is really important to read each C&F question carefully, since each school ask different questions. This is tricky because they are so similar, but it is really important to be accurate here.
Generally speaking, if there is a record of it, you should disclose. But it really depends on what each C&F question asks for. Sorry I can't be more help here.
Multiple write-ups can be indicative of a larger behavior problem, but you should say exactly what you said above. Don't make excuses, just explain it. And keep it brief.

Cheers,
Karen


I have no C&F issues. I have received a traffic ticket before though. At the moment, it escapes which school does this, but one of their applications says you don't count minor PARKING violations instead of minor TRAFFIC violations. Is there a difference? Do I need to disclose to that school alone that I rolled a stop sign 5 years ago?

User avatar
t-14orbust
Posts: 2066
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:43 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby t-14orbust » Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:45 pm

Instinctive wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:It is really important to read each C&F question carefully, since each school ask different questions. This is tricky because they are so similar, but it is really important to be accurate here.
Generally speaking, if there is a record of it, you should disclose. But it really depends on what each C&F question asks for. Sorry I can't be more help here.
Multiple write-ups can be indicative of a larger behavior problem, but you should say exactly what you said above. Don't make excuses, just explain it. And keep it brief.

Cheers,
Karen


I have no C&F issues. I have received a traffic ticket before though. At the moment, it escapes which school does this, but one of their applications says you don't count minor PARKING violations instead of minor TRAFFIC violations. Is there a difference? Do I need to disclose to that school alone that I rolled a stop sign 5 years ago?


It was Columbia, and though I'm not as qualified as Mike and Karen, I'd imagine that the answer to your question is a quick phone call/e-mail away.

liz2534
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:15 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby liz2534 » Mon Sep 23, 2013 4:43 pm

...
Last edited by liz2534 on Thu Apr 30, 2015 11:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
MikeSpivey
Posts: 2609
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:28 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:15 pm

liz2534 wrote:
KarenButtenbaum wrote:It is really important to read each C&F question carefully, since each school ask different questions. This is tricky because they are so similar, but it is really important to be accurate here.
Generally speaking, if there is a record of it, you should disclose. But it really depends on what each C&F question asks for. Sorry I can't be more help here.
Multiple write-ups can be indicative of a larger behavior problem, but you should say exactly what you said above. Don't make excuses, just explain it. And keep it brief.

Cheers,
Karen


I have a follow up question. Not sure if this is looking too far into the future. In your experience, how does it play out if a law school had a really specific question that definitely didn't include a particular offense, but a bar application has a really broad C&F section that requires you to list that same offense? For example, Harvard's only asks you to include misdemeanors and felonies, but I will have to list non-misdemeanor traffic tickets and a noise violation on most bar apps I've looked at. Does this go smoothly? Or is it safer to just disclose anything that could possibly show up on the bar C&F?

Even though Harvard's question is so specific, I keep thinking there's a trick in there...

Thanks!


This is a good question because we get it often. The bar can not hold it against you if you answer the exact question the law school(s) ask. Thus, in the Harvard example, answer their specific question (which I have learned is worded that way due to Mass. law) and do not worry about any future bar implications -- you are fine.

User avatar
NYC2012
Posts: 224
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:47 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby NYC2012 » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:37 am

How do you both feel about contractions in a personal statement? Yay or nay?

User avatar
MikeSpivey
Posts: 2609
Joined: Sun May 03, 2009 4:28 pm

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:58 am

NYC2012 wrote:How do you both feel about contractions in a personal statement? Yay or nay?


As long as they were used correctly they never bothered me in the least. Plus, I was mindful of the fact you all were often trying to fit a good deal in a limited space.

User avatar
NYC2012
Posts: 224
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 3:47 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby NYC2012 » Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:23 am

MikeSpivey wrote:
NYC2012 wrote:How do you both feel about contractions in a personal statement? Yay or nay?


As long as they were used correctly they never bothered me in the least. Plus, I was mindful of the fact you all were often trying to fit a good deal in a limited space.


This is great news, thank you! :D


Return to “Free Help and Advice from Professionals”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest