Podcast Episode #54 -Columbia Law And NYU Law With Jill Steier (2023)

J.Y.: Hello, and welcome to the 7Sage podcast.I'm J.Y.Ping, and today we're presenting awebinar with Jill Steier, who was theassistant director of admissions atNYU Law, and more recently, a reader inthe admissions office of Columbia Law.David asks Jill about the admissionsprocess of each school, and then Jillfields questions from the audience.

Without further ado, here's the webinar.

David: Hello everyone.If you don't know me, I'm DavidI'm a partner at 7Sage and I amreally pleased to host Jill Steier.Jill has worked in the admissionsoffices of NYU and Columbia,and Jill, I'm just going tolet you introduce yourself.

Jill: Hi, everybody.Welcome.Thank you so much for joining us.I am Jill Steier.My pronouns are she/her/they, comingto you from my beautiful library.For those who are going to listen to thepodcast, it's just my scene background.It's a stock image.You really don't wantto see what's behind me.Admissions officers are just like you.We hide our stuff behind scenebackgrounds, and we also wearsweatpants on Zoom calls.

Thank you all for joining us tonight.As David said, I am Jilll Steier.I worked as assistant director ofadmissions at NYU Law, and then I wasa contracted JD admissions officerat Columbia Law School, and soon Iwill be working at Temple UniversityBeasley School of Law as associatedirector of admissions, and excitedto talk to you a little bit more aboutthe law school admissions process.

I'm going to try to be as transparentas possible while also respecting theprivacy of the deans that I workedfor and the incredible people thatI've worked for at NYU and Columbia.But I'm happy to help try to pullback the curtain a little bit andanswer some of your questions.

David: Jill, it's funny that youmention the fake Zoom background.I do want to know what'sbehind the fake Zoom backgroundof law school admissions.But when someone hits submit,what's really going on?Who reads their files?How are they evaluated?What happens basically?Can you talk about NYU in particular?

Jill: Yeah, applications open upSeptember 1st and it is awhirlwind up until orientation.That's actually something that Iwanted to point out later, is thatyour cycle does not end May 1st.It will end once youstarted orientation.

So once somebody submits theirapplication, Columbia and NYUhave incredible teams to work onthe processing, making sure thateverything that you have is consideredcomplete before it gets sent tothe admissions officers for review.

So not everybody who you maymeet in admissions officemay review the application.There are some employees who willwork on the processing side, somethat work on the communication side,some that work on the tech side,some that help with events, sometimesa combination of all of them.That's kind of what I did at NYU.I did a little bit of everything.

So, once your file is marked ascomplete, it will be distributed amongstthe senior staff who review the files.Typically, every applicationthat is admitted, every studentthat is admitted will have to bereviewed by the dean of admissions.So, if you are admitted toa law school, know that thedean did see your application.

So what that may mean is that when welook at a pool, the very tippy-top ofthe pool, and this is just when I saythe top of the pool, this is just,you know, your hard factors, yourLSAT scores and your GPA, those willtypically go to the dean for review.Everyone else will be distributedamongst the admissions officers.

Now, there could be a varietyof different reasons whyadmissions officers may receiveyour application or may not.Some schools will use thosehard factors to divvy it up.Some schools will do it randomly.The pool changes greatly each year.So that's a thing that can also bedifficult to predict because law schooladmissions is comparative in nature.

So we try to, even if you think thatyou're going to split it up by, youknow, highest LSAT score and GPA, thatmay not necessarily mean that that's aneven split for each admissions officer.So that's why it may be a bit morerandomized, just to make sure thatevery admissions officer gets,you know, around the same number.

Now, once an application is reviewed,there will always be anotherperson taking another look at it.Even if an application that I maycome across may be a student thatI think should not be admitted,there will always be anotherperson to take a look at it.

There are some times that we may havea committee review on an application.A committee can consist of facultymembers, administrators, someschools may use alumni, some schoolseven use upper-level students, 3Lstudents, so that you know thatyou're not going to be at schoolat the same time and they have tosign a confidentiality agreement.

Typically, those may be, you know, those3L students may be students who arefrom underrepresented groups who arereading applications of applicants whoare also from underrepresented groups.So, typically, applications that may goto committee for review are applicationsthat it's not a clear admit or deny.

And that's actually the majorityof applications that we get.Just because you may submit yourapplication early doesn't necessarilymean that you may hear back early.Although I do recommend, Itell everyone, apply early.I think that that is great advicebecause, as I said, law schooladmissions is comparative innature and the pool changes.

So law school admissions officesmay want to hold on to yourapplication to see what therest of the pool looks like.That was especially important thispast cycle, as those, as it wasthe, you know, as we were reviewingFlex scores, and Flex scores weredifferent than the traditional LSAT.And so it was difficult to predictwhat that pool would look like,who would be applying, what scoresthey would have, what kind ofexperiences that they would have.It was a really uniquecycle this past cycle.

So law school admissions officesmay hold off until later in thecycle where they get to evaluateall the applications that they havebefore making a decision on it.So, for example, it'skind of like a puzzle.You may want to wait and flip overall the pieces before you start toconnect them and put them all together.

David: Does NYU put applicants with highscores in a presumptive admit pile?

Jill: It's not a presumptive admit.Scores aren't everything.If it just came down to scores,I would be out of a job.There's a reason why we have humanbeings in admissions offices,because there are those softfactors that come into play.

And there are people who I have seenhave a 4.0 and a 179 not be admittedbecause there are other factors.They might have not followed directionson their admissions application, orwe might have felt like they weren'tready for law school yet, or theremight have been some questionableletters of recommendations.

There's a variety of reasons why theremay be somebody with, you know, thosehigh scores and high GPAs that may notbe admitted, but yes, the very tippy-topof the pool would go to the dean,and then the dean would also revieweveryone else that, who the admissionsofficers would recommend for admission.

David: And what about the flip side of that?So you mentioned that some people withincredibly high scores are rejected.Are some people with incrediblylow scores or at leastrelatively low scores admitted?And if so, what would make yougo to bat for someone like that?

Jill: Yes, definitely.I mean, whenever I would give admissionspresentations, I would always tellstudents, don't focus on the medians.

I think everyone is very focusedon what that median LSAT score is,and they think of it as a minimum.Do not confuse median with minimum.I think that the most helpfulnumbers to look at are the 25thpercentile and the 75th percentile.And keep in mind that 50% of studentsare between those two scores, and25% are below and 25% are above.

But also, you know, there are,25% is quite a large chunk at aschool like NYU, which had, youknow, around 400 incoming students.That's 100 people that werecoming in with below the25th percentile LSAT score.So there's a varietyof different reasons.

You know, if somebody has impressivework experience, if somebody hasreally shown that they've grownwith their graduate studies, if theyhave completed impressive volunteerexperiences, if they have a Fulbright ora Marshall scholarship, or if they havedemonstrated a sincere interest in theschool, and we feel like there's a highlikelihood that they're going to enrolland be a positive part of the community.

I mean, of course every school wantsintelligent students, but we wouldreally be doing us a disserviceif we just had smart studentswho didn't want to get involved.So, you know, you're looking for peoplewho are going to contribute to thelaw school community while they are inlaw school, and then also as an alum.

When we're reviewing an application foradmission, we're not just looking at howthey would perform in their three years.We're looking at how they wouldengage with us as alumni, becausethey will have that alumni titlefor the rest of their lives.And so that's something that wetake into consideration as well.

David: What might indicate that they'regoing to keep in touch asalumni and represent you well?

Jill: So I'll look at how they might have beenengaged in their undergraduate school.Now, I also keep in mind thatnot every student may have hadthe time or means to volunteeras a tour guide or join clubs.

And there are instances where I takeinto consideration if a student hadto work throughout their undergraduateschooling to help pay their tuition.And so feel free to disclosethat to us, because that issomething that we like to know.We're not always looking for themost prestigious internships.

Not everybody can afford to take onan unpaid internship, and that's okay.We just want to see that you're activeand engaged, whatever you're doing,whether that you're a cashier workingin retail or whether you are presidentof student government association.We just want to see that youhave a commitment to community.

David: When you're reviewing a file,what happens at the end?How do you assess it?Do you write a paragraph of notes?What happens?

Jill: Okay, I'll walk itthrough for what I do.So, first thing I do is I review theCAS report, and the CAS report issomething that, it's a standard formthat the LSAC creates, and it will,it's sent with every single applicationand it helps give us information.

I'll look at things like whatis the LSAT college mean?So, for example, this number that'son your CAS report is a numberthat will tell us what's the meanLSAT score of everyone who takes anLSAT from that particular school.Now, that's just one bit of information,but that helps give us some informationabout the types of candidates thatcome from this type of school.

We'll look at your GPA percentile.So how did you farecompared to your peers?Also in the CAS reportis your writing sample.I will skim through the writingsample, make sure that you don'tjust like kind of doodle and nottake it seriously, because somepeople don't take it seriously.They think that it'snever going to be read.So I'll skim through that.

I'll look through theletters of recommendation.I'll see if there's any specificconcrete examples of how you were agreat student or intern or employee.I'll look to see if there's anyinformation about how you mayfare compared to your peers.Then we'll look over at the application,look down, and I'll make sure thateverything is filled out correctly.

Your submitting your law schoolapplication is a great exercisein following directions andbeing detail-oriented, whichare two things that you reallyneed to master as a lawyer.All of those additional questionsthat law schools may ask that maybe different, I'll make sure that,you know, those questions areanswered, and answered correctly.

I'll look through thecharacter and fitness section.I'll see if there's anythingthat should be flagged.I will look through the resume andthen I'll read the personal statement.I'll go back to the resume.I'll try to see if it's all cohesive.Then I'll try to read all ofthese additional statements.

Then I may go back to the CAS report.Then I may go back to theapplication, and then all in all,I'm kind of writing my notes atthe same time, so it can vary.Sometimes I may write a sentenceif it's a student that I reallydon't think should be admitted.

If it's a student that I think should beadmitted, I'll highlight the reasons whyI think that they should be admitted.And then if it's a student who Ithink that I really need to fightfor, I'll write a little bit more.

David: This last year you werewith Columbia Law School.Could you compare NYU's admissionsprocess with Columbia's?

Jill: I can try.Well, first I'll say law schooladmissions officers, actually, forthe most part, all know each other.So I was kind of familiar with mypeers at CLS before I went over there.

That's been actually one of thesaddest things about the pandemic isbecause typically we all get to chatwith each other on the road as wetravel from forum to forum, or schoolto school at law school admissionsevents, and we all know each other.And so keep that in mind too.

We exchange best practiceswith one another.So it was greattransitioning over to CLS.I will say it's very similar from whatI've seen, and keep in mind, you know,the dean of admissions is the one personwho really gets to see everything,really gets the bird's-eye view.

I would say that the biggest differenceis, a, Columbia interviews, and youhave limited time, so CLS uses thattime to have the admissions officersinterview prospective candidates.NYU also has limited time.They spend the time callingevery admitted student.So both have value.It's just, you know, thepreferences of the deans.And also keep in mind at any time thiscould change at any cycle, so thismay be different next cycle, but thatwould be, a, the first difference.

The second difference, I thinkthat, from what I saw, I felt thatCLS had a much larger what theycall reserve pool compared to NYU'shold or waitlist pool, which couldbe a good thing or a bad thing.Sometimes some studentsjust want to know.They'd rather know earlier whethereven if it's a deny, some studentswould rather like to have theapplication held on for, you know,maybe they're taking the LSAT againand they'll submit a new score.They'd rather have theirapplication held onto.So it's neither a goodthing or a bad thing.It's just different.

David: Do you think that one schoolputs more weight on onefactor than the other school?Like applying early decision, orrecommendations, or the essays?

Jill: Not really.I really haven't noticed a difference.I think that there's shared goals ofcreating a class that is not homogenous,creating a class that has intelligent,engaged, proactive students, that can bedemonstrated in a lot of different ways,but there were a lot of similarities,I would say, more than differencesin what they were looking for.

David: One thing that's different, at leastfrom the point of view of the applicant,is the personal statement prompt.NYU has a very open-ended prompt.Columbia asks you to talk aboutyour motivation and your goals.Did you read the essays differentlywhen you were working at Columbiathan you did when you were at NYU?

Jill: Well, as I said before, we wantto make sure that students, thatapplicants follow directions.For the most part, moststudents did follow directions.And I did review them kind ofsimilarly, but also keep in mind whenwe review applications, we have tokeep in mind, is this somebody who I,personally, as a law school admissionsprofessional, would want in the class?

Is this somebody who the dean would wantin the class, the dean of admissions?And is this somebody who the dean ofthe law school would want in the class?I don't want to get into too much detailabout personal preferences of the deans.I don't want to speak for them.There are a couple little things,but overall, it is quite similar.

Now, for me, personally, there aresome things that I don't like tosee in personal statements, and someof my peers may feel differently,and that's kind of, that's theart of law school admissions.It's an art and a science.We're humans.There's a human preferencethat comes into play.That's what can be so unpredictableabout law school admissions.

Certain things that I personally don'tlove to see, you know, are these really,like, detailed stories about childhoodthat I think are maybe embellished orexaggerated a bit, or if somebody istelling the story of somebody else.So if they're talking about a mentoror a family member who they admire.

Or, you know, these copy-and-pastereasons for wanting to go to law school,throwing in at the end, "I want togo to X school because it is the bestschool to help me achieve my goals."Well, how?What is there?It's a very clear, veryevident copy-paste.So those are a couple thingsthat I don't love to seein a personal statement.

David: What do you love to seein a personal statement?

Jill: Well, if it's not already in aseparate "Why X" statement, specificreasons for being drawn to aschool, and it's okay if these arelike nonacademic reasons as well.If you are drawn to going to CLS orNYU because it's in New York City andyou are a New Yorker, you have familyin New York, or if you like goingto art museums and you want to goto the Met or the Frick, or specificreasons for why you're interestedin a school is always helpful.

I mean, we all have websites.We put a lot of work into our websites.You have a computer in yourpocket usually at all times.If you can just throw in acouple of reasons why you wantto go to that specific lawschool, that goes a long way.But also keep in mind that I lookfor these reasons to be cohesive.

So, if you say that you're interestedin going to X school because youwant to pursue immigration law,I want to see, were you partof any student organizationsthat worked with immigrants?Did you volunteer at all?Did you have any workexperience in this realm?I want to see it allkind of tie together.

Other things that I like to see,striking that balance between yourauthentic voice while also demonstratingmature writing skills is somethingthat's a tough balance to strike.And when I see it, Ireally appreciate it.It's finding that perfect tonewhere you come across as authentic.I can get a sense of who you are andyour voice, but it also demonstratesyour writing skills, that you can talkfrom a mature viewpoint, and that Ifeel confident in your ability to bea successful writer in law school.

David: That leads right to my next question.So do you think a personal statementis a writing test, a personalitytest, a synopsis of what you've done?None of the above, or all of the above?

Jill: Well, all of the, well, it depends.It depends on the school.It depends on what theschool is looking for.I love law school admissions, becausethere is not one path to law school.You don't have to be a pre-law major.You don't have to be aparalegal to go to law school.

And I love law school admissionsbecause I get to meet people withsuch an array of backgrounds: dancers,Uber drivers, scientists, parents,veterans, international students.It's one of the best things aboutlaw school admissions, is justgetting to be able to meet somany incredible different people.

Now, if you do not have any experiencein the legal world, It is helpful togive us some information about why youfeel law is the path for you and whatyou hope to get out of law school.

Now, it's not required foryou to know exactly what typeof law you want to practice.And, in fact, I even tell students,keep your options open, even if youthink you know what you want to do.Keep your mind open becauseyou may change your mindonce you get to law school.

If you are somebody who has hadexposure to law, maybe you were apre-law student, maybe you were aparalegal, it may not be necessaryto talk about why you feel likelaw is the path for you or what youintend to get out of law school.It depends on the applicant.Yeah, it's a balance, though, betweenletting us know your personality whilealso showcasing your writing skills.It's both.

David: Let's summarize some of yourgreat personal statement advice.So I'll try to put them inbullet points and you'd tellme why I'm wrong and elaborate.

Number one, you don't want apersonal statement that's atotal departure from the resume.You don't want people to becoming out of left field sayingthat they want to go into animalrights law when there's nothing intheir background to indicate that.

But on the other hand, it soundslike you want it to complementthe rest of their application ifthe rest of the application doesnot express their motivation.That's when a personalstatement can stand in.

Jill: Correct.Great.Thank you, David.You said it better than I could.

David: Well, I'm just basingthis on what you said.So you want them to be genuineunless they're genuinely immature,in which case you just want themto show that they're mature.

Jill: Correct.

David: It is, in some ways, a writingtest that matters to you.

Jill: Yes.

David: But it is also a showcase of who you areand what you might bring to the class.

Jill: Right.Correct.

David: Okay.So where does the diversitystatement fit in, if you even talkabout the diversity statement?

Jill: Yeah.Great question.So, as I mentioned before, deansdo not want a homogenous class.And when they talk about diversity, theymean diversity in the most broad sense.And that means, you know, factors likeif you're coming from a rural place oran urban place, if you were a veteran,if you are a child of veterans, ifyou are an underrepresented groupwithin the legal field, if you arefirst-generation, if you come from alow socioeconomic status background.It is so broad.

So when you write your diversitystatement, again, it should complementthe rest of your application materials.So if you already talk about it inyour personal statement, there's noneed for you to reiterate the samesentiment in a diversity statement.There's no need to submit anadditional one, but we want to talkabout how your diverse viewpointwill be an asset to our law school.

How can our students and our faculty andour greater community learn from you?What do you hope tocontribute to our community?Those are things that we're askingourselves and would like to learn aboutwhen we review your diversity statement.

David: NYU asks you to note if you'repart of an underrepresentedgroup and to elaborate on it.Does that mean that if you're not aracial or ethnic minority, or if youdon't come from low socioeconomicstatus, that you should not write adiversity statement in the addendum,or should you go ahead and writea diversity statement about beingadopted or growing up all overthe world or something like that?

Jill: Yeah, I definitely think thatyou should should write it.As I said before, it's sucha broad interpretation.Don't feel discouraged.As I said, there's so many differentfactors that come into play whenyou're thinking about diversity.It's not just racial,ethnic, gender, finances.It's if you are a woman in STEM, it'sif you grew up in a foreign country.All of these things help makea very rich, robust class.

It's something that we look for.It's something that we love to see.So don't feel discouraged.Please.Please submit a diversity statement.

David: Jill, can I ask you some short,unrelated lightning round questions?

Jill: Great.

David: Are international studentsat a disadvantage?

Jill: Oh, great.Yeah, such a shortlightning round question.No, international students are notat a disadvantage, so to speak,because being an internationalstudent gives you a diverse viewpoint.And I commend international students.I mean, such independence isrequired for you to leave yourcountry and study somewhere else.

I will say, if you're coming froma foreign country where Englishis not your first language, we maycompare your personal statement andthe writing section from your LSAT.

And I also may pay attention a littlemore to, you know, if there's anythingin your letters of recommendation, ifany of the faculty members talk aboutif there's any fluency issues, also,you know, scan your transcript to seeif there were any classes that youtook in English, any classes that,you know, required you to performreading and writing skills in English.

So those are things that we're,we just want to make sure thatthe fluency level is there.

David: Okay, lightning roundquestion number two.How can students demonstratetheir interest to NYU andColumbia, and should they?

Jill: Absolutely.Definitely, you should.Now, keep in mind, there's, Ithink that there's sometimesmisguided attempts of doing so.

So, for example, at an LSAC forum,sometimes I have to take my nametag off before using the restroombecause people will try to chase medown to introduce themselves, to puta face to a name as I'm trying tofigure out where the restroom is.That's not appropriate.Or coming to an office to askquestions that they already know theanswer to just to have face time.

In fact, that's more annoying.I'd rather you just email me thancome and try to make up questionsthat you already know the answers tobecause you feel like you want me toknow your face or state your case.I just don't think thatthat's appropriate.

But there are things that you can do.Attend events, whether, hopefully, inperson soon, but digital events arealways really helpful, learn as much asyou can about the school, submit a "WhyX" statement, that is very helpful, andhave concrete reasons for why you'reinterested in that specific school.

And then reasons that make sense.Look into the scholarship of thefaculty members, look into thecenters and institutes, look intothe clinics, get a sense of thetypes of courses that are offered.Talk a little bit more about whatyou want to take advantage of.

And even if you don't know whatexactly it is you want to do,you can still learn about all thegeneral resources that the officeof career services provides.Or you can look at the type ofsocial events that the school has.A thoughtful "Why X"statement really does go far.A bad "Why X" statement candefinitely hold you back, even ifall of the other factors are good.

David: Lightening round questionnumber three is a hypo.Your dean comes to you.Your dean tells you, "Jill, weonly have one more spot and I wantyou to make the decision," and youget two identical twins who apply.They have the same GPA, theyhave this same background.They write equally good, infact, they write the same essaybecause they're identical twins.

The only thing that's different is thatthe first one has a single LSAT scoreof 171, which is, let's say, 1 belowyour target median, and the other hasseven LSAT takes, ranging from like a151 to a 172, which hits your target.Which of these identicaltwins gets the nod?

Jill: There's things that Iwould want to look at.Number one, if somebody has sevenLSAT scores, the first thing that Iwant to see is how far apart they are.How long ago was the one in the 150s?And did they jump around or didthey, like, steadily increase?That would be one of the questions Iwould ask myself, first and foremost.

But if I had a quick pull, I wouldprobably go for the one and onlyscore with a 171, as opposed tosomebody with seven LSAT scores.I always tell applicants that youwant to go into the LSAT with themindset that you're only takingit once, and my gut would be to goto the person with that one LSATscore, because with somebody thathas all these LSAT scores that jumparound, there's a lot of questionsI'd be asking myself, like, are theytrying to, like, game the system?Was that 172 a fluke?

There'd be some questionsthat I'd be asking myself.So my gut reaction would beto go to the first person.

David: Last lightning round question.Are GRE applicantsevaluated differently?

Jill: No.Yes and no, it's a different test.So I guess, at its core, it doeshave to be evaluated differently.We're looking at the percentiles, well,every school does it differently, buttypically we look at the percentilesand want them to be kind of similarto the percentiles of the 25th,50th, 75th percentiles for the LSAT.

But if a school wanted an LSAT insteadof a GRE, they would say LSAT only.There are plenty of applicantswho do get admitted with the GRE.There really isn't adifference or a preference.I just always tell students thatevery law school accepts the LSAT,not every law school accepts the GRE,so think carefully about what schoolsyou'd like to apply to and make surethat you're not limiting yourself.

Something to keep in mind, though,if there is somebody who has a GREin addition to an LSAT and you'resubmitting it because perhaps, likefor example, NYU requires you to submitall scores within the past five years,feel free to let us know, you know,I took the GRE, or let them know,I have to get used to saying that,to let the school know, you know, Itook the GRE with the intention ofgoing to graduate school years ago.I didn't take it with theintention of going to law school.And that's something alsothat they keep in mind.How long ago it was, and ifyou were taking it with theintention to go to law school.

David: Okay, our last mini topicis Columbia's interview.My first question is, whogets offered an interview?Is it a strong signalof Columbia's interest?

Jill: Yeah, I would say it is astrong signal of their interest.It's typically students who, orapplicants who we may have questionsfor, and we may want to hear themanswer those questions, or studentswho we want to see, we want to gaugetheir readiness or maturity and howthey present themselves and how theyconduct themselves in an interview.

These are typically applicants who,yeah, we're kind of on the fence about,and we'd like more information about.There are some people who, we reviewtheir applications again rightbefore the interview, and theresome people who I think are going tohave a great interview and bomb, andpeople who, I think, you're a littlebit hesitant about, thinking, I'msurprised they got to this stage, andthey do excellent in an interview.

David: How do people bomb the interviews?What are some things thatour listeners can avoid?

Jill: Not knowing anything about the school,not giving reasons for why they'reinterested in the school, beinginappropriate or not professionalwith some of their disclosures or howthey speak, not really seeming ready,not giving any, it seems like lawschool is an afterthought, or sayingthat they want to go to law schoolbecause their parents are lawyers andthey think it's what they should do.

Or because they said, "Idon't think I could get a job.I guess I'll just go to law school now."Having an unclear "Why law"is probably the most commonnegative thing that I see.

David: Thank you so much.We're going to open it up toquestions now, so if you have aquestion, please raise your hand.I'll call on you.

I'm going to ask you to limit yourselfto only one question, because wehave a lot of people and we'llget to as many people as we can.So Vincent, we're going to go to you.

New Speaker: Well, thank you foraccepting my question.My question is, I had alow GPA from freshman year.I was a pre-med student.Would I be able to write an addendumasking NYU or Columbia, for example,to please consider my double majorGPA, which I believe reflects my actualacademic abilities instead of my overallGPA from undergrad, which is includedin the science courses I took that didnot go very well for me freshman year?

Jill: Thank you, Vincent.Thank you for your question.That is something that lawschool admissions officers lookfor when we review transcripts.We're not just lookingat the GPA in a bubble.

We're looking at themajor you've selected.Was there a change in major?Was there a double major?Did you progress over time?What were the grades and thecourses related to your major?How did you fare compared to your peers?All of these factors aretaken into consideration.

It's very common for students, it's verycommon for us to see students changingmajors, typically from like a pre-medtrack with a lower GPA earlier on.So keep in mind that typicallyadmissions officers will notice that.But it will be helpful if you'd liketo submit an addendum and give anexplanation as to why you changedyour major and how you grew andthat type of information is helpful.

David: Okay.Thank you so much for your question.We're going to move on to Jonvy.

New Speaker: Hi.I just want to say thank youso much for taking the time tojust share all of this reallywonderful advice and insight.My question was, you mentionedearlier that when you're reviewingan application that some characterand fitness issues might be flagged.

And I don't know if this is toobroad of a question, but I was justwondering if you could elaborate onwhat issues are typically flaggedor would really be cause for concernversus what would be minor, and how, Iguess, forgiving law schools typicallycould be with those kinds of issues.Thank you.

Jill: Thank you so much foryour question, Jonvy.

So we ask these character andfitness questions because wedon't want students to have anyissues with the bar down the line.We don't want you to go through lawschool and then realize later on thatyou may have any issues with the bar.

Things that may cause us concern, ifthere are any, like, physically violentissues, if there are repeated issueswhen it comes to academic dishonestyor just repeated issues in general.So, you know, don't feel discouragedat all if you have a noise violation inyour dorm or even a drinking violation.

Now, if there's a lot ofthem, if there's repeatedoffenses, that's an issue.And also if there's no remorse inyour character and fitness aboutthese issues, that also kind ofraises a flag a little bit too.So those are things that we are lookingat and considering when we reviewcharacter and fitness declarations.

David: Okay.Thanks, Jonvy.Tanisia, you can ask your question.

New Speaker: Hello?Okay, I just wanted to makesure you guys can hear me.First of all, I just want tothank you guys for your time.And then I had a quick questionabout situations where if someonetransferred from a community collegeand their score was lower, andat their actual degree-grantinginstitution, they had a higher GPA.

And in the event that this applicantis per se a splitter where they havea low GPA and a high LSAT score, howdoes NYU or Columbia go about that?

Jill: Well, again, we're looking at theapplication as a whole, so we'relooking if you progressed over time.And so we take that intoconsideration if your grades didimprove once you transferred toyour degree-granting institution.If there's any reasons why youdidn't perform to the level thatyou felt that you were capable ofwhile you were in community college,you know, please let us know.

Please feel free to submit an addendum.Let us know if there was anythinggoing on externally that you thinkit's helpful for us to know about.

Splitters, that's kind of the secondpart of the question, splitters.When it comes to splitters, especiallyif it's a low GPA, it is helpful forus to note the rigor of the programthat you were in, and by program,I mean the major you selected aswell as your undergraduate school,the time that has passed from whenyou graduated, any work experiencethat you have, and any graduateschool experience that you have.

So we're going to start to look atall those other factors to see ifthere's anything else that can reallyshowcase your academic ability.I will say when I do fight for somebody,I'm often fighting for people thatmay have a low GPA, but it, you know,might have been years ago or theremight've been external factors, becauseyou can always retake an LSAT, butyou can't redo your undergrad GPA.

David: Okay, thanks so much foryour question, and good luck.Wusang, you can ask your question.

New Speaker: Hello.Thank you so much for thisopportunity to ask a question.So my question is that I transferredcollege twice, so I went from collegeA to B to C, and then back to B.And this was because I was diagnosedwith this mental illness and Ihad to move to different locationswithin America and South Korea.

Now, would this have to bedisclosed in the addendum thatwe are discussing at the moment?I don't know the exact part of theapplication, but it seems that wehave to fill some paperwork out.So is something do you think Ishould disclose, like the mentalillness and having to transfercollege two, three times, or shouldI just not talk about it at alland just send in my transcript?Because my GPA isn't low or anything,but it's still like a traumaticexperience for me and I don't wantto just let it slide, you know.

Jill: Of course.Thank you so much for that question.Addenda, and, well, addendumare optional statements.You don't have to submit any,but it is helpful because youdon't want to have the admissionsofficers left asking questions.It's not a good thing.We don't want to write in our notesquestions that we wish we knew.Like, why did he do this?Why did he move there?Why did they perform this way?Why were they not instudent organizations?Why weren't they doinganything over the summers?We don't want to have any questions.

So please feel free to submitaddendum to help give us context.I do think it's appropriate to usean addenda in this case, for youto disclose why you had to move.Again, it's not something that's,well, sometimes if there's questions,admissions officers or deans maythink of worst-case scenario.Did they have to move because there wasan academic issue, a behavioral issue?

So it is helpful for us to know that,you know, it was related to health.So please feel free to submit one.

David: Okay, thanks for your question.Elizabeth, we're goingto call on you now.

New Speaker: Thank you for takingthe time to be here.I wanted to ask about resume gaps, andI went from undergrad straight intoworking full-time for nearly 10 years.And then I was a part of a masslayoff in 2019, and I had no ideawhat landscape I would be enteringwith the pandemic and everything.

So I have been working towards applyingfor the past nearly two years now,and I didn't want to find a jobjust merely to put it on my resume.So do you think that'ssomething I should explainin my application somewhere?Because I feel like that mightmake admissions officers cringe.Thank you.

Jill: Thank you, Elizabeth.I will say, you know, I have seenadmissions offices be much more lenientthis past year with gaps in a resume.We understand that it is an incrediblycompetitive job market right now, andthere's more leniency and understanding.I would say feel free to discloseit or write an addendum andexplain why there is that gap.

I think that employment gapsare a great reason why youshould submit an addendum.But, you know, also let us know whatyou were doing during this time, evenif it was, you know, the books that youwere reading or hobbies that was takingup your time, or if you were traveling.We just want to see, youknow, what were you doing?

Even if you were just like looking forjobs, is there anything else that youcan let us know to learn a little bitmore about how you did spend your time?It doesn't necessarily have tobe professional or academic.It is helpful for us to know.

David: Okay.Thanks for your question.Camilla, we're going to call on you now.

New Speaker: Thank you so much for accepting myquestion and for taking the time.I just wanted to know, if someoneis reapplying for the next admissioncycle because they didn't get inthe first time, and essentiallythe entire application is the sameminus a higher LSAT score, wouldyou recommend rewriting personalstatements and all the otheressays, even though your reasons forattending law school are the same?

Jill: That's a personal choice, but I woulddefinitely have fresh eyes on it.7Sage has great consultants thatcan take a look at it, and I wouldrecommend getting fresh eyes on it.Also, it is helpful to know why you arereapplying, and that is another kind ofway to demonstrate interest, that youdidn't get into X school, and this is aschool that you really wanted to go to,and so that's why you are reapplying.

Also something to keep in mind, althoughyou never want to go to a law schoolwith the intention of transferring,there are many students who do transfer.And if you start to attend lawschool admissions events for theschools that you're interestedin, it may behoove you to alsoget information about what they'relooking for in a transfer applicant.

Just something to keep in mind.You don't necessarily have to transfer,but it's always good just to havethat information in your back pocket.

David: Okay, thanks so much for your question.And we're going to go to Ian.

New Speaker: Hi there.Thanks so much for your time, and Ialso really appreciate you introducingyourself with your pronouns.That's really important.My question is really focused onhow students who want to or needto write a diversity statement, andyou talked about kind of some thingsto highlight, but do you have anyrecommendations on things to avoiddoing in the diversity statement?

Jill: Great question.Using verbatim the same things that youtalked about in your personal statement.Time is limited, the space is limited.No need to copy and paste it again.

Other things that I would maybe avoidis just sometimes I see diversitystatements that just give statisticsabout how their particular identity isunderrepresented without giving me anyother information about contributingto the community as a whole.

Same thing, it's something similarthat I see in "Why X" statements islike, I want to go to X school becausethis faculty member works there.Okay, but how do you want tolearn from this faculty member?How do you want to work with them?What do you want to get out of itand how do you want to contribute?Taking it the next level issomething that we're looking for.

David: Thanks for your question, and thanks toeveryone else who is raising their hand.Unfortunately, we are almost outof time and we're not going to beable to take any more questions.Jill, I was hoping that you could leaveus with one final piece of advice.

Jill: Okay, well, David, I'm goingto say I don't have just one.

David: Okay, great.

Jill: I took a couple of notes ofadvice that I want to give.One, apply early.Of course are people who do getadmitted when they apply, typicallysome deadlines, maybe February 15, soif they apply February 14th at 10:00PM, but you really put yourself in abetter position if you apply early.So that would be my first bit of advice.

Second is use test prep resources.7Sage has incredible free resources.Khan Academy hasincredible free resources.

The other bit of advice that Iwould give would be learn aboutlaw school, not just the particularlaw schools that you want to goto, but law school in general.Go to info sessions for law schools,go to LSAC forums, the L-S-A-C forums.Go to all of their panels.Just try to soak up as much as you can.

The other bit of advice that Iwould give is keep in mind thatscholarships are not free money.You have to work to get scholarships.So I know sometimes it's a pain towrite all these extra essays and dointerviews, but it's because they're,you're getting thousands of dollars.So please just keep that in mind,and do the work, apply for allscholarships that interest you.

My other bit of advice is be patient.As I said, law school admissionsis comparative in nature.We may want to see whatthe whole pool looks like.That means that you may notreceive a decision until May.That means that you may notreceive a decision until August.The cycle does not end May 1st.Law school admissions officesare reviewing what their classlooks like up until orientation.

And we are checking whogoes to orientation.And if you're not at orientation,we are calling you to see ifyou're actually going to be coming,because if not, that's a spot thatwe can give to somebody, and thatmight be you or somebody else.So the cycle doesn't end May 1st.

And last but not least, my bitof advice is be realistic, butyou never know until you try.Don't reject yourself before you caneven put your application in the ring.

Feel free to ask for fee waivers.Some schools are very givingwith their fee waivers.Some schools may give out fee waiversthrough CRS, so please sign up for CRS.It's the CandidateReferral System or Service.It's a way for law schools to get yourinformation before you even apply, andthat's a way for you to get fee waivers.

And submit your applicationsto those reach schools.I think that it's helpful to keepin mind that, as I said, that 25thpercentile is quite a large chunk.And so you never know until you apply.

I hope that I couldbe useful in some way.I really urge you to utilizesome of the incredibleresources that 7Sage provides.I decided to work with David and 7Sagebecause they have such integrity andsuch a commitment to helping studentsbe as informed as possible throughthis law school admissions process.And so I hope that Icould be helpful too.

David: Jill, that was very helpful.Thank you.On this question and on allof your questions, you gaveus more than we asked for.So I really appreciate yourtime and your knowledge.

And I really, really wantto thank everybody who came.I know this is a super stressfulprocess and I hope it helps a littlebit to know that there are thoughtfulpeople like Jill on the other end.

So I wish all of you goodluck, and good night, everyone.Thanks for coming.

Jill: Thanks, everybody.Have a great night.Thanks, David.

J.Y.: Hey, it's J.Y.again.Thanks for listening.As always, if you're studying for theLSAT, applying to law school, studyingfor your law school exams, or studyingfor the bar, come visit us at 7Sage.com.We can help.

Take care of yourselfand see you next time.

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