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.
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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 23, 2018 9:04 am

mjw958wn wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:24 pm
Hi Spivey Team,

Yale's instructions for the résumé state: "Unless you have a significant number of publications, the Admissions Committee prefers résumés to be no longer than one page."

What would you advise a non-traditional (10+ yrs out of college) who has a potentially 2-page-long résumé not from a long publications list but from the sheer number of post-college jobs plus 2 grad degrees?

Thank you!
It's hard to give specific advice on this forum as we don't have a full view of your resume here. But you should look to see if you have an extensive amount of bullets under each job and are they necessary. Consider whether you actually have to have a 2-page resume or not. Remember that they also have asked you for information about your resume in a separate section so much of what you would cover in your resume should be redundant. So look for the ways that you can follow their directions and still provide them all the information they need.

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

Post by CBratter » Tue Oct 23, 2018 3:10 pm

Hi Spivey -- thanks for all you do!

Do you have any sense if schools, University of Michigan in particular, will be doing scholarships later than usual?
From copious stalking of this board it seems like in past years UMich has sent out an Accepted Students Page with acceptances where scholly info is to be posted. They don't seem to be including that this year and I'm wondering if that means we should expect a longer wait?

Thank you! :)

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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 » Tue Oct 23, 2018 4:49 pm

ThaBlackLord wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:36 pm
SD_Spivey_Consulting wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 12:35 pm
ThaBlackLord wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:10 pm
Hey Spivey team,

I got a few questions. If my mentor attended the school I want to go to should I have her write me a recommendation or give a call to the admissions? When is the optimal time to apply for a URM (AA male) this cycle?
Hello! If your mentor can share some helpful information about you, such as traits you have that would be useful in law school (analytical ability, writing and research skills, logical reasoning, etc.) then it could make for a good letter, but I would also make sure you have at least one academic reference and/or a professional reference on file as well. Definitely make sure that the recommendation is in writing. If you don't want your mentor to be one of your official LORs, then have her send an email to admissions directly and write that she wanted to put in a good reference for you. That way, it's not one you've requested to be part of your app, but it will end up in your file to be read along with your formal application documents.

As for when the optimal time to apply for you is, well, it's no different than anyone else's. Our https://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/its-e ... ecent blog discusses what's early, normal and late. One thing that is a bit different is that some URM groups tend to apply a little later in the cycle and therefore, tend to get admit offers later in the cycle. If you're someone that the committee wants to admit and they still have room, they'll admit you, but we cannot say there is any "optimal" time for a particular ethnic group to apply.
Once again, thank you so much for having taken the time to answer my questions!
You are very welcome, ThaBlackLord!

galaxie500
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Re: Spivey Consulting Q&A with Adcoms from Yale, Harvard, Penn, Chicago etc.

Post by galaxie500 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:54 pm

Hi Spivey team, I'm a splitter with a downward GPA trend. I have two real but unexceptional reasons for this—1) I was a humanities and STEM double-major, and my STEM classes got really, really hard; and 2) I expanded my academic-year extracurricular and paid work activities.

I've applied to two T13 schools without an addendum so far, because I figured these reasons would be fairly self-evident within my application and not particularly compelling or surprising to admissions officers. One asked for further information before making a decision, and one admitted me without asking for further information.

In my future applications, do you think I should include an addendum?

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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 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 2:38 pm

Hi Spivey Team,

Im about to attend an LSAC Forum and I wanted to know how long after the forum should I send follow up emails?


Thanks!

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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 Oct 25, 2018 1:47 pm

galaxie500 wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:54 pm
Hi Spivey team, I'm a splitter with a downward GPA trend. I have two real but unexceptional reasons for this—1) I was a humanities and STEM double-major, and my STEM classes got really, really hard; and 2) I expanded my academic-year extracurricular and paid work activities.

I've applied to two T13 schools without an addendum so far, because I figured these reasons would be fairly self-evident within my application and not particularly compelling or surprising to admissions officers. One asked for further information before making a decision, and one admitted me without asking for further information.

In my future applications, do you think I should include an addendum?
While this may seem like a common explanation to you as to why your GPA shows a downward trend, I would go with including a GPA addendum just to provide appropriate backup detail as context to your grades. It's better to tell the committee something that may seem "unexceptional" than have them wondering if your GPA trend could be due to something else. A brief addendum should be plenty and I would think about this in terms of what you sent as additional information for the school that asked for further detail. Best of luck!

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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 Oct 25, 2018 4:14 pm

ThaBlackLord wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 2:38 pm
Hi Spivey Team,

Im about to attend an LSAC Forum and I wanted to know how long after the forum should I send follow up emails?


Thanks!
There's no right time to follow up with an admissions rep. after a forum but I'd go for sooner rather than later. Admissions officers attend a lot of law fairs and forums at this time of the year and are meeting with many, many prospective students. I'd send an email shortly after you attend the forum, so that you are still fresh in their minds. It can be helpful to refer to a particular conversation you had if possible! This will help to start the email communication so you can check in occasionally with any questions or updates. Enjoy the forum, and if you haven't already, check out our recent blog post with forum tips: https://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/law-s ... and-donts/

galaxie500
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Re: Spivey Consulting Q&A with Adcoms from Yale, Harvard, Penn, Chicago etc.

Post by galaxie500 » Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:32 am

NikkiLaubenstein wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 1:47 pm
While this may seem like a common explanation to you as to why your GPA shows a downward trend, I would go with including a GPA addendum just to provide appropriate backup detail as context to your grades. It's better to tell the committee something that may seem "unexceptional" than have them wondering if your GPA trend could be due to something else. A brief addendum should be plenty and I would think about this in terms of what you sent as additional information for the school that asked for further detail. Best of luck!
Thanks Nikki! Much appreciated.

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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 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:19 pm

NikkiLaubenstein wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 4:14 pm
ThaBlackLord wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 2:38 pm
Hi Spivey Team,

Im about to attend an LSAC Forum and I wanted to know how long after the forum should I send follow up emails?


Thanks!
There's no right time to follow up with an admissions rep. after a forum but I'd go for sooner rather than later. Admissions officers attend a lot of law fairs and forums at this time of the year and are meeting with many, many prospective students. I'd send an email shortly after you attend the forum, so that you are still fresh in their minds. It can be helpful to refer to a particular conversation you had if possible! This will help to start the email communication so you can check in occasionally with any questions or updates. Enjoy the forum, and if you haven't already, check out our recent blog post with forum tips: https://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/law-s ... and-donts/
Awesome, thank you so much!

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

Post by lianahhh » Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:59 am

Hi Spivey team,

I am an international applicant from China with an undergrad degree from a US LAC (3.8x GPA). I graduated in 2017 and have been working since then. I was set on applying this cycle, but my October LSAT score was 162, lower than my February score of 165 and 10 points lower than my PT average. My goal is to get into a T14 school preferably with scholarship. My questions are:

1. If I take the January LSAT and apply this cycle, will there be any scholarship money left? Will submitting the application in November and putting the application on hold help with scholarship chances?
2. There is a noticeable increase in the amount of Chinese applicants to US law schools. Do you think admission will be harder for our nationality group?
3. I work in management consulting, averaging 14 hours workdays. I will have to quit my job to prepare for the LSAT. However, I have already held three positions since I graduated (one because of a career change and one because I moved to a different city). Should I be worried that if I quit to study, it will reflect poorly on my career judgement?
4. Do you have any predictions for the next cycle?

Thank you so much for answering!!

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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 Nov 02, 2018 6:14 pm

lianahhh wrote:
Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:59 am
Hi Spivey team,

I am an international applicant from China with an undergrad degree from a US LAC (3.8x GPA). I graduated in 2017 and have been working since then. I was set on applying this cycle, but my October LSAT score was 162, lower than my February score of 165 and 10 points lower than my PT average. My goal is to get into a T14 school preferably with scholarship. My questions are:

1. If I take the January LSAT and apply this cycle, will there be any scholarship money left? Will submitting the application in November and putting the application on hold help with scholarship chances?
2. There is a noticeable increase in the amount of Chinese applicants to US law schools. Do you think admission will be harder for our nationality group?
3. I work in management consulting, averaging 14 hours workdays. I will have to quit my job to prepare for the LSAT. However, I have already held three positions since I graduated (one because of a career change and one because I moved to a different city). Should I be worried that if I quit to study, it will reflect poorly on my career judgement?
4. Do you have any predictions for the next cycle?

Thank you so much for answering!!
1. Applying in November won't make any difference in your scholarship chances because your file will not be able to be reviewed until your January scores comes in.

There are some schools in the T14 (and lower) who will not take LSAT scores past November, however, so you would need to apply with only your other scores. For the most part, if you are competitive for awards, there should still be some scholarship available in January, or you can ask for reconsideration later if you don't receive some initially. If you want to apply for a scholarship that has a separate application process, pay attention to those deadlines as a January score may be too late.

2. We don't have any verifiable data on the number of applicants from China and whether there has been a truly significant increase, or what impact it has had (or will have) on this group. However, any increase in applications and of stronger applicants makes admission harder for everyone.

3. I think this all depends on how long you are out of work. If you have a big gap in your resume, schools will want to know what you're doing and why you're not working. I usually point out to my clients that there are people taking the LSAT while in school and/or working. If you score the same as they do, and everything else is roughly the same, then the LSAT score of the other person is going to be much more impressive. I recommend that you don't spend that time off only studying, but that you do volunteer work or part-time work to show that you're actively involved in something aside from the LSAT. The committee is unlikely to feel that it is necessary for someone to spend all their time studying for the LSAT over a period of months without doing something else that is productive.

4. Next cycle predictions are not ready yet. Stay tuned though. It will likely come in April-ish.
Last edited by SD_Spivey_Consulting on Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by dangofi » Sat Nov 03, 2018 2:34 pm

Hi Spivey Team,

How are optional are the "optional" questions of the employment history section, like hours/week or reason for leaving, in, say, the HLS application?

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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 Nov 06, 2018 10:18 am

dangofi wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 2:34 pm
Hi Spivey Team,

How are optional are the "optional" questions of the employment history section, like hours/week or reason for leaving, in, say, the HLS application?
When I read apps for HLS - I wanted to see that people had fully completed the application - however I dont ever remember not admitting someone because they hadn't :) In trying to fillout an app that looks thoughtful and unrushed though, I would encourage filling those pieces out.

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

Post by HopingForInfo » Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:37 pm

Quick question: what does a U Chicago interview mean for your chances of being admitted? Is it a positive sign or could it even be a negative sign? I did some searching on the usual places but there doesn't seem to be a consensus.

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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 Nov 08, 2018 10:01 am

HopingForInfo wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:37 pm
Quick question: what does a U Chicago interview mean for your chances of being admitted? Is it a positive sign or could it even be a negative sign? I did some searching on the usual places but there doesn't seem to be a consensus.
U Chicago Law interviews are by invite only and admits must go through this process, so it’s only a positive to get an interview invite and get to this stage of the application process. Of course, all applicants who interview are not accepted and there are many other factors that affect a candidate’s admission. As far as the interview, though, the only negative is if the interview doesn’t go well! :) Good luck!

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

Post by HopingForInfo » Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:44 am

Awesome, great to hear and thanks!

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

Post by MindyKale » Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:45 am

Hi,

Since international students do not get a number GPA but only a rating Superior, Above average etc. How do the admissions people perceive this information? I see people say international student cycles are unpredictable precisely due to this reason but how does the admissions office evaluate or make decisions based on rating and LSAT score alone? Would having an american graduate degree mean that GPA would come into the picture?
To sum up, how do they evaluate and decide what GPA rating is good for admission?

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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 Nov 09, 2018 3:55 pm

MindyKale wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:45 am
Hi,

Since international students do not get a number GPA but only a rating Superior, Above average etc. How do the admissions people perceive this information? I see people say international student cycles are unpredictable precisely due to this reason but how does the admissions office evaluate or make decisions based on rating and LSAT score alone? Would having an american graduate degree mean that GPA would come into the picture?
To sum up, how do they evaluate and decide what GPA rating is good for admission?
This is a good question and a little tricky to answer because it's unlikely to be a standard process for all law schools. Some law schools have people on staff who have particular knowledge of international programs and experience working with international applicants, so they are well-versed on the quality of many programs especially if they have a decent number of applicants from a school or country. Other schools do not have that resource and are left to try to assess the education of an international applicant based on the rating. Another factor is how comparable the rating is to the US system, or how much information is available within the translation and evaluation itself. Often, along with a "Superior/Above Avg/etc" type rating, the evaluations show a percentile (e.g. 80-85%ile) of how the person compared to other students at that school. Some evaluations are just better than others and can make it easier to assess one's performance. In general, the admissions office does the best it can with the information it has, and compares that with the rest of the application materials -- LSAT, resume, personal statement, LORs, interview, etc. -- to make the best educated assessment as possible.

Graduate degrees from American schools can sometimes help, yes, but not always. That too depends on the degree, school, and program. Also, most graduate programs give strong grades (it's not common to see less than a 3.50), so it is harder to differentiate between who was a strong student and who wasn't as strong. Still, it does show that the person can do graduate level work. I wouldn't run out and get a grad degree just to compensate for not having a GPA, however. The cost and time and effort may not at all be worth the trouble, especially if the program is not something you would use later.

I hope this is helpful!
-- Shannon

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

Post by MindyKale » Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:12 am

SD_Spivey_Consulting wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:55 pm
MindyKale wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:45 am
Hi,

Since international students do not get a number GPA but only a rating Superior, Above average etc. How do the admissions people perceive this information? I see people say international student cycles are unpredictable precisely due to this reason but how does the admissions office evaluate or make decisions based on rating and LSAT score alone? Would having an american graduate degree mean that GPA would come into the picture?
To sum up, how do they evaluate and decide what GPA rating is good for admission?
This is a good question and a little tricky to answer because it's unlikely to be a standard process for all law schools. Some law schools have people on staff who have particular knowledge of international programs and experience working with international applicants, so they are well-versed on the quality of many programs especially if they have a decent number of applicants from a school or country. Other schools do not have that resource and are left to try to assess the education of an international applicant based on the rating. Another factor is how comparable the rating is to the US system, or how much information is available within the translation and evaluation itself. Often, along with a "Superior/Above Avg/etc" type rating, the evaluations show a percentile (e.g. 80-85%ile) of how the person compared to other students at that school. Some evaluations are just better than others and can make it easier to assess one's performance. In general, the admissions office does the best it can with the information it has, and compares that with the rest of the application materials -- LSAT, resume, personal statement, LORs, interview, etc. -- to make the best educated assessment as possible.

Graduate degrees from American schools can sometimes help, yes, but not always. That too depends on the degree, school, and program. Also, most graduate programs give strong grades (it's not common to see less than a 3.50), so it is harder to differentiate between who was a strong student and who wasn't as strong. Still, it does show that the person can do graduate level work. I wouldn't run out and get a grad degree just to compensate for not having a GPA, however. The cost and time and effort may not at all be worth the trouble, especially if the program is not something you would use later.

I hope this is helpful!
-- Shannon
Thank you so much Shannon.
So my graduate degree is in a STEM field and I have a 3.3X with upward trend. Does that require addendum since you said less than 3.5 is uncommon?

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

Post by zanzibarbungalow » Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:55 pm

Hi Team Spivey,

Truly, thank you so very much for offering this advice. It really is a tremendous service.

My question is about letters of continued interest. After getting a waitlist notification, what should you write to the school? Especially, if it is a top choice? Assure them you will matriculate if offered admission (yield protection)? Write essentially an additional Why X essay? Any thoughts and guidance on the waitlist process would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much.

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

Post by SCGAnneD » Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:04 pm

zanzibarbungalow wrote:
Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:55 pm
Hi Team Spivey,

Truly, thank you so very much for offering this advice. It really is a tremendous service.

My question is about letters of continued interest. After getting a waitlist notification, what should you write to the school? Especially, if it is a top choice? Assure them you will matriculate if offered admission (yield protection)? Write essentially an additional Why X essay? Any thoughts and guidance on the waitlist process would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much.
Waitlist communication is a lot about timing and tone. It's good for you to let the school know you're interested but they may not yet know how interested they are in you. They liked you enough not to outright deny you so you're someone who, if they have room and need of someone with your numbers, they might admit you. Most schools won't know if they need to go to their waitlist until pretty late in the admissions cycle but if you're offered a spot on on the WL, enthusiastically reply in the affirmative! You can send an LOCI or additional essay or LoR, but remember this is going to be a long haul so don't throw everything at them all at once.

We have a few helpful blog posts with more detail. Good luck!

https://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/how-t ... -interest/
https://blog.spiveyconsulting.com/the-o ... -waitlist/

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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 » Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:10 pm

Hey Spivey team,

I found that video that discusses LSAT scores for AA. And I was wondering if these scores are still relevant today? I'm trying to see what score would place me at the top of AA test takers.
- 150 AAs score at or above 170
- 250 AAs score at or above 160
- 500 AAs score at or above 153


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

Post by JaymeMcKellop » Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:30 pm

ThaBlackLord wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:10 pm
Hey Spivey team,

I found that video that discusses LSAT scores for AA. And I was wondering if these scores are still relevant today? I'm trying to see what score would place me at the top of AA test takers.
- 150 AAs score at or above 170
- 250 AAs score at or above 160
- 500 AAs score at or above 153

Hi there! Unfortunately we don't have data to answer that question specifically. LSAC is the best resource for this type of detailed LSAT data. This doesn't answer your question, but here is a link to a summary of an LSAC report that may provide some helpful information: https://www.lsac.org/data-research/rese ... -2007-2008.

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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 » Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:04 am

JaymeMcKellop wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:30 pm
ThaBlackLord wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:10 pm
Hey Spivey team,

I found that video that discusses LSAT scores for AA. And I was wondering if these scores are still relevant today? I'm trying to see what score would place me at the top of AA test takers.
- 150 AAs score at or above 170
- 250 AAs score at or above 160
- 500 AAs score at or above 153

Hi there! Unfortunately we don't have data to answer that question specifically. LSAC is the best resource for this type of detailed LSAT data. This doesn't answer your question, but here is a link to a summary of an LSAC report that may provide some helpful information: https://www.lsac.org/data-research/rese ... -2007-2008.
Alrighty, thank you :)

ShinyDratini300
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Re: Spivey Consulting Q&A with Adcoms from Yale, Harvard, Penn, Chicago etc.

Post by ShinyDratini300 » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:13 pm

Hi Spivey team,

I retook the LSAT and am reapplying for a second cycle and I have two questions related to that:

1) I really liked my personal statement from last cycle and used it to apply to schools that I didn't apply to last year. I wrote a new PS this year, part of which deals with a car accident and my recovery process. After the accident, I had to sit out a term due to rehabilitation and money. I included this information after responding "yes" to the "has your education been interrupted" question on each app. However, two apps asked for a separate addendum addressing the interruption. I applied to one of the schools last year, and I'm applying to the other for the first time. Like an idiot, I included a line saying something like, "I wrote about this incident in more detail in my personal statement" in the interruption addendum and used the same addendum for both schools, but I used totally different personal statements for each school. Should I contact the school where my PS doesn't reference the accident, or would that just draw more attention to the issue? I consider the school where I made the application error to be somewhat of a safety, but there are definitely $ scenarios where it could be my best option, and I'd be happy with that.

2) I had a score in the 160's last cycle and a score in the 170's this cycle. Last cycle, a school sent me a fee waiver through CRS. I applied and was waitlisted. When I didn't get a new fee waiver after my new score came in, I reached out to admissions who said they only sent merit-based fee waivers through CRS. What I've read and my own personal experience lead me to believe that receiving and using a CRS fee waiver one year precludes you from receiving one the next year. I asked admissions if this was true, and they said it was not. Of course, I didn't challenge that, but are they wrong or am I crazy?

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