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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chadbrochill
Posts: 396
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:19 am

Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby chadbrochill » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:58 pm

Hey everyone!

Just wanted to cosign literally anything Mike Spivey has to say about LS admissions.

I had a bit of a unique situation (maybe not?) and a weird cycle that just passed. For the longest time, Mike's assurances were the only thing keeping me going. In the end he was exactly right in his predictions of how things would happen. If I could go back, I definitely would've contacted him earlier in my cycle and maybe avoided some pitfalls. LS admissions is one of those things where you don't know what you don't know, and I feel like I might've had better overall results or a smoother process with some guidance.

Anyways, best of luck to you all!

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Sat Sep 28, 2013 9:39 am

Thanks, Chad! Glad it worked out so well for you and that you got in to such a great school.

Speaking of assurances this coming Sat. Oct 5th I am going to do my second quadrennial (actually is that once every four years?) pre-LSAT pep talk. In other words, I am setting my alarm for 4am MT and will talk to anyone who wants to call before taking the LSAT. For the June one this seemed to ease some nerves and I think the people who called me, in general, enjoyed the brief talk.

My work number is on the Spivey Consulting Website. Feel free to call Oct. 5th! I will work on having a smooth, relaxing, melodic vice.

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BruinRegents
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby BruinRegents » Sun Sep 29, 2013 9:56 am

MikeSpivey wrote:Thanks, Chad! Glad it worked out so well for you and that you got in to such a great school.

Speaking of assurances this coming Sat. Oct 5th I am going to do my second quadrennial (actually is that once every four years?) pre-LSAT pep talk. In other words, I am setting my alarm for 4am MT and will talk to anyone who wants to call before taking the LSAT. For the June one this seemed to ease some nerves and I think the people who called me, in general, enjoyed the brief talk.

My work number is on the Spivey Consulting Website. Feel free to call Oct. 5th! I will work on having a smooth, relaxing, melodic vice.

That's kind of you Mike.

Instinctive
Posts: 436
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Instinctive » Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:12 pm

How do you feel about an addendum if you have an incomplete on your transcript? In my case, the course will be finished and graded at the end of this semester, and is simple Honors Research that took longer than just Spring to conduct. Is a quick addendum the right way to go?

rebexness
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby rebexness » Mon Sep 30, 2013 7:09 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:Thanks, Chad! Glad it worked out so well for you and that you got in to such a great school.

Speaking of assurances this coming Sat. Oct 5th I am going to do my second quadrennial (actually is that once every four years?) pre-LSAT pep talk. In other words, I am setting my alarm for 4am MT and will talk to anyone who wants to call before taking the LSAT. For the June one this seemed to ease some nerves and I think the people who called me, in general, enjoyed the brief talk.

My work number is on the Spivey Consulting Website. Feel free to call Oct. 5th! I will work on having a smooth, relaxing, melodic vice.


You are a hero among Admissions Gurus, Mike.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:06 pm

I feel loved!

I owe you guys so I just tweeted more heroic advice on the "perfect Why X Law School" essay. I hope it helps!

https://twitter.com/SpiveyConsult

(coming tomorrow some sincere advice on how you might be able to boost your LSAT without anything other than considering a mindset. I spoke to a June test-taker the morning before her LSAT and she scored 5 points higher than her highest practice test score and I will blog about what I spoke with her about. I hope this helps some more people. Disclaimer, do not try the "Why X Law " that we just tweeted)

ZVBXRPL
Posts: 258
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby ZVBXRPL » Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:50 pm

Mike and Co.,
I'm concerned that applying after my December LSAT will hurt my admission chances. I mean don't law schools extend offers early in the cycle? I know ED is an option (although it may be a marketing ploy) but still, should I just wait for the next cycle?

Thanks,
Concerned

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:29 pm

Instinctive wrote:How do you feel about an addendum if you have an incomplete on your transcript? In my case, the course will be finished and graded at the end of this semester, and is simple Honors Research that took longer than just Spring to conduct. Is a quick addendum the right way to go?


I don't think that its even necessary to submit an addendum if its going to be completed at the end of the semester. If you really want to submit an addendum, I think it could be two sentences in this case.

Cheers,
Karen

pancho
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby pancho » Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:36 pm

Hi Mike and Karen,

I would really appreciate you addressing the following two points. Thanks in advance.

1. I first sat for the LSAT in June 2008. It is a score I would rather not remember or have schools see. Now that five years four months have elapsed, is it true that schools I apply to this cycle will have no way of seeing that score or even knowing I took the test then? Is there a note or something on the CAS that would give an indication of a prior test even if the score/date is not shown?

2. Is an application considered "submitted" (in the sense of early applicants getting a boost) when

-----A) a completed application is submitted even if the applicant is retaking the LSAT, or
-----B) when said LSAT retake score comes in?

For example, if I submit October 15 with one LSAT score (and therefore have an entirely "complete" application) but retake the LSAT in December am I considered an October or a January applicant?

Thank you again for your time and all that you are doing to assist the law school community.

EEguy5
Posts: 94
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby EEguy5 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 3:01 pm

Hi Mike and Karen,

In my current PS draft I briefly state that I graduated from a private under grad institution and had over six figures in student loan debt that I paid off in less than years so I could attend law school as quickly as possible.

Is this impressive or does it implicitly reveal that my high school grades were average and I didn't receive scholarships?

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Oct 01, 2013 3:11 pm

pancho wrote:Hi Mike and Karen,

I would really appreciate you addressing the following two points. Thanks in advance.

1. I first sat for the LSAT in June 2008. It is a score I would rather not remember or have schools see. Now that five years four months have elapsed, is it true that schools I apply to this cycle will have no way of seeing that score or even knowing I took the test then? Is there a note or something on the CAS that would give an indication of a prior test even if the score/date is not shown?

2. Is an application considered "submitted" (in the sense of early applicants getting a boost) when

-----A) a completed application is submitted even if the applicant is retaking the LSAT, or
-----B) when said LSAT retake score comes in?

For example, if I submit October 15 with one LSAT score (and therefore have an entirely "complete" application) but retake the LSAT in December am I considered an October or a January applicant?

Thank you again for your time and all that you are doing to assist the law school community.


Hi pancho,

You should be able to see what is on your CAS report prior to submitting an application. As I understand it, the "5 year" rule of LSAT scores expiring is not exact since they go by the LSAT cycle, not calendar year. You should be able to find out if that score shows up on your report through your LSAC account.

You shouldn't focus so much on the submission date as much as the completion date. I can't speak for all schools, but in general, no application is read until it is complete. So, if you don't have a valid LSAT score on your CAS report, then it won't be complete until your December score comes in and it will be read after that. Each school has a different process for reviewing applications and for reviewing retakes of the LSAT, so there are schools that do A and B above.

Don't worry too much about that timing and focus on preparing for the LSAT! A strong LSAT in January is a strong LSAT. period.

Cheers,
Karen

pancho
Posts: 56
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby pancho » Tue Oct 01, 2013 3:40 pm

Thanks so much for your exceptionally quick reply Karen. I have never heard your answer to #1 so that was really helpful. To clarify your response to #2,

KarenButtenbaum wrote:So, if you don't have a valid LSAT score on your CAS report, then it won't be complete until your December score comes in and it will be read after that. Each school has a different process for reviewing applications and for reviewing retakes of the LSAT, so there are schools that do A and B above.


If you do already have a valid LSAT score in October but admissions sees there will be another one three months down the road in January, some offices will consider you complete in October and some in January? How would you in your time at Harvard, for example, have considered such an applicant?

I ask because I am trying to determine whether I should apply in January or wait a cycle to apply next September. I wouldn't wait if I would be considered an October applicant now. On the other hand, Mike was saying somewhere else that -- in so many words -- perhaps the early application boost is waning. Do you agree with this?

I am on the margin at my target school so I am trying to get all the little things right. ;)

Thanks again.

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:03 pm

pancho wrote:If you do already have a valid LSAT score in October but admissions sees there will be another one three months down the road in January, some offices will consider you complete in October and some in January? How would you in your time at Harvard, for example, have considered such an applicant?

I ask because I am trying to determine whether I should apply in January or wait a cycle to apply next September. I wouldn't wait if I would be considered an October applicant now. On the other hand, Mike was saying somewhere else that -- in so many words -- perhaps the early application boost is waning. Do you agree with this?

I am on the margin at my target school so I am trying to get all the little things right. ;)

Thanks again.


When I was at HLS, we would evaluate the application with the old score and then hold the decision for the new score. I can't speak for what other schools would do, but I am assuming that you can ask them the process. I don't think that you should focus so much on being an "October applicant" vs. a "January applicant" since you don't want a decision without the December test. The early boost -if it even exists, a topic about which I am on the fence - won't matter because you won't be ready to receive a decision until January.

pancho
Posts: 56
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby pancho » Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:21 pm

KarenButtenbaum wrote:When I was at HLS, we would evaluate the application with the old score and then hold the decision for the new score. I can't speak for what other schools would do, but I am assuming that you can ask them the process. I don't think that you should focus so much on being an "October applicant" vs. a "January applicant" since you don't want a decision without the December test. The early boost -if it even exists, a topic about which I am on the fence - won't matter because you won't be ready to receive a decision until January.


Thanks Karen. That's exactly the kind of insight I was looking for.

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Vincent
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby Vincent » Tue Oct 01, 2013 7:51 pm

Mike (and Karen):

No real question to post; just wanted to say that both due to its information and its mechanics of presentation, this is my current favourite thread on TLS.

Thanks.

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Oct 01, 2013 7:56 pm

Vincent wrote:Mike (and Karen):

No real question to post; just wanted to say that both due to its information and its mechanics of presentation, this is my current favourite thread on TLS.

Thanks.


Many thanks, Vincent!

Timeout: I was about to dispute with Karen the process of reading an application while knowingly awaiting a second LSAT score but you have now calmed me down. Plus she has heard my plee against this practice too many times before. Finally, she is not a law school.
Timein: Back to working on this blog article on the LSAT.

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t14splitter
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby t14splitter » Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:30 pm

Mike and Karen,

With all of the talk about US News possibly (probably??) changing their ranking formulas to better reflect employment data, which schools will rise and which will fall? Do you have any predictions for 5 or 10 years down the road?

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:53 pm

t14splitter wrote:Mike and Karen,

With all of the talk about US News possibly (probably??) changing their ranking formulas to better reflect employment data, which schools will rise and which will fall? Do you have any predictions for 5 or 10 years down the road?


I do! In fact in 9 out of every 10 days I spend some time on rankings. I'll answer this but give me about a month. Slowly compiling some sort of list and predictions. Stay on me about this!

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MikeSpivey
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby MikeSpivey » Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:55 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
t14splitter wrote:Mike and Karen,

With all of the talk about US News possibly (probably??) changing their ranking formulas to better reflect employment data, which schools will rise and which will fall? Do you have any predictions for 5 or 10 years down the road?


I do! In fact in 9 out of every 10 days I spend some time on rankings. I'll answer this but give me about a month. Slowly compiling some sort of list and predictions. Stay on me about this!


I should add we will break the rankings a day early on twitter like we did last year...

http://abovethelaw.com/2013/03/the-2014 ... -rankings/

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:42 pm

EEguy5 wrote:Hi Mike and Karen,

In my current PS draft I briefly state that I graduated from a private under grad institution and had over six figures in student loan debt that I paid off in less than years so I could attend law school as quickly as possible.

Is this impressive or does it implicitly reveal that my high school grades were average and I didn't receive scholarships?


It's impressive! Law school admissions don't really care about your high school grades, and I don't know if that conclusion would be drawn anyway.
Good job paying off those loans!

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t14splitter
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby t14splitter » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:10 pm

MikeSpivey wrote:
t14splitter wrote:Mike and Karen,

With all of the talk about US News possibly (probably??) changing their ranking formulas to better reflect employment data, which schools will rise and which will fall? Do you have any predictions for 5 or 10 years down the road?


I do! In fact in 9 out of every 10 days I spend some time on rankings. I'll answer this but give me about a month. Slowly compiling some sort of list and predictions. Stay on me about this!



I'm looking forward to this list, and I will certainly remind you!

Based on your personal opinion (if you feel comfortable giving one given your relationship with the admissions directors at many law schools), are there any schools you feel are significantly overrated or underrated consistently?

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:12 pm

Taking a little test on Saturday? Mike has some great and useful advice for you!
As Mike says, Blog it, tweet it, send it to the warehouse: https://twitter.com/SpiveyConsult

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twenty
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby twenty » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:14 pm

Hi Karen/Mike

While I know you can't speak to the admissions practices of every school out there, did you ever look at the previous year's application for reapplicants? Based on your knowledge of your colleagues did they?

Thanks!

goCats3
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby goCats3 » Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:08 am

KarenButtenbaum wrote:Taking a little test on Saturday? Mike has some great and useful advice for you!
As Mike says, Blog it, tweet it, send it to the warehouse: https://twitter.com/SpiveyConsult


Hi Mike and Karen,

Just wanted to say your blog post on the Oct LSAT really calmed me down and is helpful in a big way! I was a nervous wreck in June and got a disappointing score as a result. On Saturday, I'll be walking in cool and collected.

Thanks!

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KarenButtenbaum
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Re: Q&A with former Admissions Officer

Postby KarenButtenbaum » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:46 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:Hi Karen/Mike

While I know you can't speak to the admissions practices of every school out there, did you ever look at the previous year's application for reapplicants? Based on your knowledge of your colleagues did they?

Thanks!


You are right that schools all have different policies regarding how they review reapplicants, but many will look at (or at least have access to) elements of the old application. As a general rule, you should include all of the information you want the law school to see in your new application and not rely on the old stuff being read, but know that they might have access to the old stuff.. Does that answer your question?


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