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

General admissions strategy questions, what are my chances, discussion of specific application materials like financial aid and scholarships.
coffeeandbagels
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Re: Spivey Consulting Q&A with Adcoms from Yale, Harvard, Penn, Chicago etc.

Post by coffeeandbagels » Sun Sep 16, 2018 4:10 pm

SD_Spivey_Consulting wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:31 pm
coffeeandbagels wrote:
Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:23 pm
Hi! Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.

I know Cubans are not URMs, but do we receive any boosts in admissions? I wrote my personal statement about being Cuban-American, and I wrote a diversity statement as well. Any advice or insights appreciated, thank you! Sidenote: I was not born in Cuba, but my mom was.
Ethnic categories encompass a great many different backgrounds within them, so schools will also consider the level of economic, cultural, and educational (dis)advantage present in one's background in whether or not to actually give an applicant a boost. If being Cuban-American is a large part of your identity, enough to write both your PS and DS about it, then you should share that about yourself and it could give you some distinction. However, if you've had similar advantages and experiences as majority represented students, then it may be a nice aspect of your application but there probably wouldn't be a boost for "diversity."
Thank you!

nate3869
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Re: Spivey Consulting Q&A with Adcoms from Yale, Harvard, Penn, Chicago etc.

Post by nate3869 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:02 pm

Spivey Team, thanks for doing this! The thread has been most helpful!

I have a question regarding how adcoms approach splitter's applications. Is being above a 75th percentile or below a 25th percentile a binary thing, or does an applicant's specific numbers within that range matter?

For example, if Harvard knows their 25th percentile for GPA is going to be somewhere in the 3.75-3.8 range, does an applicant with a 3.7 and 175 have an advantage over another applicant with a 3.6 and 175 on the basis of their stats?

I ask this because schools typically publish their statistics in terms of percentiles, for which there would (presumably) be no difference between the applicants in the example above.

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

Post by DanielleEarly » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:27 pm

nate3869 wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:02 pm
Spivey Team, thanks for doing this! The thread has been most helpful!

I have a question regarding how adcoms approach splitter's applications. Is being above a 75th percentile or below a 25th percentile a binary thing, or does an applicant's specific numbers within that range matter?

For example, if Harvard knows their 25th percentile for GPA is going to be somewhere in the 3.75-3.8 range, does an applicant with a 3.7 and 175 have an advantage over another applicant with a 3.6 and 175 on the basis of their stats?

I ask this because schools typically publish their statistics in terms of percentiles, for which there would (presumably) be no difference between the applicants in the example above.
The 25th and 75th percentiles should be looked at as more of a "how big of a range do they have in their numbers." It can be helpful to see that a school enrolls students with GPAs as low as X (while another school with the same median doesn't seem to stretch so far).

You are right though that at one school within the range, the difference in GPA isn't likely to be a major differentiator between two applicants who are both below median. There are a number of factors that the adcoms are focused on (and these differ at each school). So for example, your Harvard applicant with a 3.7/175 may be straight out of college while the 3.6/175 may be a few years out with significant work experience and HLS puts an emphasis on work so they are more likely interested in the 3.6. Both have shown they can do the work, so it's the factors outside of these numbers that determine their decisions.

Hope this helps -
Danielle

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

Post by HopingForInfo » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:02 pm

Spivey Team,

Thank you so much for creating this thread and being willing to answer questions, it really helps!

I recently attended a YLS online open house, and something the dean said has me a bit worried. He mentioned that applicants want to avoid looking like a "one-trick pony," meaning too much of your application is focused on one particular activity/interest.

I spent a significant amount of time in undergrad participating in one club (think along the lines of debate, model UN), and I held a couple of exec positions, including president my last year.

I am a recent graduate without significant work experience, so a nice chunk of my resume talks about this club. I also have a letter of recommendation from the faculty advisor to the club. In addition to that, my personal statement is focused on one experience I had within the club (but doesn't overlap with/repeat things on my resume).

Given all of that, I'm worried that I look exactly like that one-trick pony applicant. Do you have any advice on how to avoid looking too one-dimensional?

I also have two pretty good academic LORs in addition to the faculty advisor's, and given what I've read about how important academic letters are vs professional ones, I'm considering just not sending the LOR from the faculty advisor. Would that likely be enough to minimize the one-sidedness, or should I write a totally different personal statement on another topic?

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

Post by NikkiLaubenstein » Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:57 pm

HopingForInfo wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:02 pm
Spivey Team,

Thank you so much for creating this thread and being willing to answer questions, it really helps!

I recently attended a YLS online open house, and something the dean said has me a bit worried. He mentioned that applicants want to avoid looking like a "one-trick pony," meaning too much of your application is focused on one particular activity/interest.

I spent a significant amount of time in undergrad participating in one club (think along the lines of debate, model UN), and I held a couple of exec positions, including president my last year.

I am a recent graduate without significant work experience, so a nice chunk of my resume talks about this club. I also have a letter of recommendation from the faculty advisor to the club. In addition to that, my personal statement is focused on one experience I had within the club (but doesn't overlap with/repeat things on my resume).

Given all of that, I'm worried that I look exactly like that one-trick pony applicant. Do you have any advice on how to avoid looking too one-dimensional?

I also have two pretty good academic LORs in addition to the faculty advisor's, and given what I've read about how important academic letters are vs professional ones, I'm considering just not sending the LOR from the faculty advisor. Would that likely be enough to minimize the one-sidedness, or should I write a totally different personal statement on another topic?
This is a bit difficult to answer without seeing the angle you’ve taken in writing your personal statement (or Yale 250/other supplemental essays) if it’s too much like other pieces of your application. It may not be a bad thing to highlight a particular involvement you are passionate about such as a club, sport, leadership or volunteer role, but if you aren’t displaying various aspects of who you are through your materials you could look one-dimensional to an admissions committee. If your resume touts your experience and achievement in a particular area, it may be better to surprise the reviewer with another side of you to show what you will add to their incoming class.

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

Post by SteamedHams » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:31 am

Hi Spivey,

Thanks for answering our questions. I applied about a week ago and my schools notified me that they have received all my materials. In this case, I was wondering whether sending in additional materials would delay my apps being read? Much thanks!

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

Post by SD_Spivey_Consulting » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:56 pm

SteamedHams wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:31 am
Hi Spivey,

Thanks for answering our questions. I applied about a week ago and my schools notified me that they have received all my materials. In this case, I was wondering whether sending in additional materials would delay my apps being read? Much thanks!
Hi there SteamedHams,

If a school has received all required materials then they consider your application ready to review. If they don't know additional materials are on the way, then they won't delay the review. That is, of course, once their process starts -- right now is too early for most schools to begin reviewing applications and making decisions.

One exceptions is if you have an LSAT/GRE score on file, but also have one pending. If the school knows there's a score pending, they will wait for the score to come in before reading your file. If they don't know, your file might go in for review, although schools do often check which of their applicants have taken an upcoming test and will have a score coming, even if the applicant doesn't indicate it on their application. A note about timing on this -- if a school won't accept LSAT scores past a certain administration (November, for example) and you've taken the LSAT at least once, but plan to take the LSAT again (say, in Jan or March), the school will not wait for those scores to come in and will review your app with your earlier score(s).

Another exception is that, a school might hold your file for review if you ask, because you want to submit other materials -- most commonly that would be an addendum, an additional LOR beyond the minimum number required, or an updated transcript. You will have to contact the schools separately and ask them to hold the review of your application in such cases. Again, since it's so early, you may have time to get other materials in prior to their review without having any kind of delay. I hope this answers your question!

Shannon

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

Post by coffeeandbagels » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:50 pm

Hi,

Thanks for doing this. I have a pretty odd question, but I'm freaking out. Do Adcomms see what you originally named a file? I have been uploading my resume for all my schools (already submitted) and just realized the original file name said Duke Law Resume. I'm freaking out. I, of course, only named the document "resume" when I attached it in LSAC. But I'm worried now. What do I do?!?!

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tada77
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Re: Spivey Consulting Q&A with Adcoms from Yale, Harvard, Penn, Chicago etc.

Post by tada77 » Sat Sep 22, 2018 12:38 pm

Hello, thanks for being here!

I have a quick question about revising an addendum for an already submitted app. I included an addendum explaining that a very close family member was sick the last two years of my undergrad and eventually died. This was to explain that I had become a commuter to be with this person, and thus stopped participating in certain on campus activities. I made it clear that being with this person was my main priority. However, it was also the reason I took a couple summer classes before my senior year, in order to lighten my load during the regular year, and thus my time away. I have added a sentence to later iterations of this addendum explicitly stating that this was the reason for a lighter courseload during my senior year. Poor grades were not an issue. Do you think it’s worth sending Stanford the updated addendum, or can I trust them to connect the dots? I’m not clear if updating my application will make me lose my place in the order of being read, which of course I don’t want. Thank you!

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

Post by calicolombia » Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:32 pm

Hi Spivey,

Thank you for all your help--we greatly appreciate your service to the law school applicant community! I have a question related to Tada's above. In my last semester in school, I took only one class because I completed all my requirements in advance (by enrolling in summers). In this semester, I worked part time for a professor (at a higher position than RA) and this is noted on my resume. Is it advisable to write an addendum to explain this?

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

Post by SD_Spivey_Consulting » Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:00 pm

coffeeandbagels wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:50 pm
Hi,

Thanks for doing this. I have a pretty odd question, but I'm freaking out. Do Adcomms see what you originally named a file? I have been uploading my resume for all my schools (already submitted) and just realized the original file name said Duke Law Resume. I'm freaking out. I, of course, only named the document "resume" when I attached it in LSAC. But I'm worried now. What do I do?!?!
They shouldn't be able to see the names of any of your files, except those that you send in later, such as an updated resume. The original required documents (your app, PS, resume and supplemental statements if you have them) all get put into on PDF file so the original names you gave them disappear. Relax with peace of mind on this one!

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

Post by SD_Spivey_Consulting » Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:04 pm

tada77 wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 12:38 pm
Hello, thanks for being here!

I have a quick question about revising an addendum for an already submitted app. I included an addendum explaining that a very close family member was sick the last two years of my undergrad and eventually died. This was to explain that I had become a commuter to be with this person, and thus stopped participating in certain on campus activities. I made it clear that being with this person was my main priority. However, it was also the reason I took a couple summer classes before my senior year, in order to lighten my load during the regular year, and thus my time away. I have added a sentence to later iterations of this addendum explicitly stating that this was the reason for a lighter courseload during my senior year. Poor grades were not an issue. Do you think it’s worth sending Stanford the updated addendum, or can I trust them to connect the dots? I’m not clear if updating my application will make me lose my place in the order of being read, which of course I don’t want. Thank you!
First, adding something to an already complete file does not delay the order of when it would be read, so it's okay to submit an update without that being a concern. Whether they to know why you took summer courses to lighten your load your senior year doesn't seem that critical in all honesty. I wouldn't assume they would connect the dots on their own, though, as there could be many reasons why one might do that. It also should be clear that grades aren't the issue, if indeed, you received good grades. That said, if you feel you really want to make this clear, send the updated addendum as it certainly won't hurt, but I would make it brief and don't try to over explain your reasons.

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

Post by SD_Spivey_Consulting » Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:07 pm

calicolombia wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:32 pm
Hi Spivey,

Thank you for all your help--we greatly appreciate your service to the law school applicant community! I have a question related to Tada's above. In my last semester in school, I took only one class because I completed all my requirements in advance (by enrolling in summers). In this semester, I worked part time for a professor (at a higher position than RA) and this is noted on my resume. Is it advisable to write an addendum to explain this?
You are very welcome and it's our pleasure to help you all out! In your case, an addendum is unnecessary. If a reviewer wondered why you only had once class, they're likely to look at your resume to see the timing of what you were doing that semester and it would be clear to them. This isn't something most committees, if any, would be concerned with.

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

Post by ThaBlackLord » Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:22 am

Hey Spivey team,

I was wondering when is the latest time we can apply to still be considered an early applicant?
If that makes sense at all!

Thanks!

Downy4in1
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Re: Spivey Consulting Q&A with Adcoms from Yale, Harvard, Penn, Chicago etc.

Post by Downy4in1 » Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:45 pm

Hi Spivey Team!

Thank you for all that you do! You're all amazing!

...And now that I have you all buttered up, I have a question: at what point does one officially enroll at a law school? Some applications ask if we have ever enrolled at another law school. If someone had submitted a seat deposit and then withdrawn in a previous cycle, has that person previously enrolled in law school?

Edit: Some also use the word "attended" instead of "enrolled" - does that make a difference? I would think a seat deposit could qualify as having enrolled but not so much for "attended".

Thank you!

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

Post by MindyKale » Wed Sep 26, 2018 1:49 pm

Hi Spivey Team!

https://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/its-e ... -is-early/

Based on this blog post, would it be ok to apply with/ask schools to consider the Jan 27th LSAT score (which might be releasing mid February).
My idea is to apply before the LSAT and request schools to consider my Jan 27th scores.

My goal is to get admitted into one of the t14s-t20. I'd like to know if I'd be too late for admission and/or scholarship opportunities for this cycle.

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

Post by NikkiLaubenstein » Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:44 am

ThaBlackLord wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:22 am
Hey Spivey team,

I was wondering when is the latest time we can apply to still be considered an early applicant?
If that makes sense at all!

Thanks!
As another poster has just provided, see our recent blog post on this exact topic! I think this should answer your questions about timing and what is considered "early":
https://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/its-e ... -is-early/

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

Post by NikkiLaubenstein » Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:47 am

Downy4in1 wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:45 pm
Hi Spivey Team!

Thank you for all that you do! You're all amazing!

...And now that I have you all buttered up, I have a question: at what point does one officially enroll at a law school? Some applications ask if we have ever enrolled at another law school. If someone had submitted a seat deposit and then withdrawn in a previous cycle, has that person previously enrolled in law school?

Edit: Some also use the word "attended" instead of "enrolled" - does that make a difference? I would think a seat deposit could qualify as having enrolled but not so much for "attended".

Thank you!
This is a great question! While law schools may refer to you as a "matriculated" student once you've submitted a seat deposit, you are typically not considered enrolled/attended until you actually begin at the law school. At some law schools this means the first day of orientation and at others this may mean the first day of actual classes.

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

Post by NikkiLaubenstein » Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:53 am

MindyKale wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 1:49 pm
Hi Spivey Team!

https://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/its-e ... -is-early/

Based on this blog post, would it be ok to apply with/ask schools to consider the Jan 27th LSAT score (which might be releasing mid February).
My idea is to apply before the LSAT and request schools to consider my Jan 27th scores.

My goal is to get admitted into one of the t14s-t20. I'd like to know if I'd be too late for admission and/or scholarship opportunities for this cycle.
You will need to do your research on each school you are applying to in the T-20 to see which will accept January LSAT scores. Many specify on their websites that the November LSAT is the latest they will accept and others say they will accept the January test, but prefer an earlier administration (and yes, some require permission to be considered with the Jan. LSAT). Most schools provide this information in their Admissions FAQs, although I was recently looking up this same information for T-14 schools, and found that some schools haven't updated their FAQs yet to show that there are now 6 LSATs/yr. instead of 4! :shock:

chasingcars123
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Re: Spivey Consulting Q&A with Adcoms from Yale, Harvard, Penn, Chicago etc.

Post by chasingcars123 » Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:44 pm

Dear Spivey,

Thanks for all you do.

I graduated from HYP with pretty strong softs (University endorsee for the Rhodes scholarship, etc.) and am grappling with whether to take the GRE. I have a 3.737 GPA.

I've been studying for the LSAT for about 1.5 year now but I've been having lots of difficulty and it's been getting kinda frustrating. My diagnostic was 149, and I am currently PT scoring in the mid 160s. I think I can get myself to the 170s, but I feel it's going to take a TON of work (perhaps another 4 more months), and will take hundreds/thousands of hours of doing PT's, fool proofing logic games, redoing PT's, etc.

In all honesty, I'm not sure if it's worth it to put that much more work to reach the 170s-- if the GRE is much easier and can be prepared in a shorter amount of time. There's also the worry of underperforming the LSAT and the need to retake (I have also never taken a registered LSAT exam yet).

In addition, I've heard that the GRE is relatively easier than the LSAT and can be prepared for in a much shorter amount of time. Should I abandon the LSAT and take the GRE instead?

As you know, the GRE is now accepted in 10 of the top 15 law schools (I recently saw that UChicago and UVA just started accepting the GRE).

If I take the GRE, which score should I aim for to be competitive? With a competitive GRE score, would I still be competitive candidate for HLS/Uchicago/etc. even though my GPA is below 25th percentile? (in other words, am I at a bigger disadvantage for being a GRE splitter?)

Would my HYP status and strong softs make a difference?

Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.

(please don't quote - thank you)

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

Post by itsaviolet » Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:32 am

Hi Spivey team, I would love to get your insight on this: How important is it to list information for both parents? Particularly if you were raised by a single parent and its hard to obtain accurate information about the other. What is the recommended course of action in such situations? Why do schools ask for this?

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

Post by DanielleEarly » Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:31 am

Hi Chasingcars123,

For you to decide whether or not the GRE is right for you - I would start by taking a practice test. See how you do. While many people say the GRE was easier... my experience has been that most of those people who say it didn't actually take it themselves. For some people, it resonates better with their skill set for others it does not.

It is important to note that for most schools that are now taking the GRE and LSAT if you take the LSAT the score will be used regardless of if the GRE is stronger (because the USNWR rankings will use the LSAT score for rankings). So if you can evaluate the GRE before taking the LSAT it's worth it.

Lastly, your school strength will be considered but that will have more impact on the way your GPA is evaluated not really in the way your LSAT is evaluated.

Here is a recent blog post we've done on the GRE/LSAT -
https://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/gre-v ... the-deans/

I hope this helps,

Danielle

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

Post by DanielleEarly » Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:37 am

itsaviolet wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:32 am
Hi Spivey team, I would love to get your insight on this: How important is it to list information for both parents? Particularly if you were raised by a single parent and its hard to obtain accurate information about the other. What is the recommended course of action in such situations? Why do schools ask for this?
Most schools this is an optional response section. If you don't have information on the second parent, don't list it.

The question is asked for a few reasons - to understand background (are you a first-generation college grad, both parents lawyers, etc), to see if they have a legacy applying (did mom/dad attend the school? ) or as data to pass over to the financial aid office for them to match up with what they are getting for documentation for your aid application.

~Danielle

notachance3955
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Re: Spivey Consulting Q&A with Adcoms from Yale, Harvard, Penn, Chicago etc.

Post by notachance3955 » Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:31 pm

Hi Spivey Team, thanks in advance for taking the time to answer my question.

What is the positive effect, if any, of the prestige of an undergraduate institution (Ivy League)? Can it help a weak LSAT and/or GPA look better? Do STEM degrees also help an application?

mkirm189
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Re: Spivey Consulting Q&A with Adcoms from Yale, Harvard, Penn, Chicago etc.

Post by mkirm189 » Wed Oct 03, 2018 2:09 pm

Hi Spivey team,

For those of us applying a substantial time after undergraduate (5+ years for me), how important is it to mention our undergraduate extracurriculars? The applications has space for them but the extracurriculars were not related to law or public policy and seem kind of trivial now compared to the rest of my experience. Should I just go ahead and list all the leadership positions I held in college?

Thank you in advance!

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