Monday, September 25, 2017
Most law schools provide optional space to explain your LSAT score and grades. While it can be tempting to explain away poor performance, consider these 5 things.
1. The facts speak for themselves.
As they say in law school, bad facts make bad law. If your LSAT score is low, the best way to show that you can do better is to retake it and score higher. I rarely encourage applicants to address the LSAT in the personal statement.
2. Don’t say it. Do it.
Law schools use grades and LSAT scores as proxies for an applicant’s ability to pass the bar exam – which in most states is a 2-to-3 day standardized test. You can’t explain why you didn’t pass the bar – you either do or don’t. Same with grades and LSAT. If you can do better, do it. You can also emphasize other academic achievements in you application to show your ability to tackle difficult work.
As a side note: If you have a documented disability and are entitled to extra time or other accommodations on the LSAT, take it. Under new rules, this information is not reported to schools, so all the admissions committees will see is your (higher) score.
3. Be concise.
Law schools differ on how they will consider multiple LSAT scores. Some look to the highest score; others will unofficially average your scores. If you bombed your first LSAT (and hopefully it only happened once), you should explain why — if there was a concrete reason, e.g. you were ill, you filled out the answer sheet incorrectly, or you had a personal tragedy. Explain the situation in the most concrete way possible, and be brief. Whatever you do, don’t make excuses or try to justify your performance in a lengthy diatribe.
4. Be accurate.
If you were on academic probation, you should say so and provide context. Don’t try to conceal problems. Law schools value honesty and integrity above all qualities. Also, needless to say, any addendum should be grammatically correct and clear.
5. Upward and onward.
You should emphasize upward trends. For the LSAT, the scores speak for themselves (see #1). For your grades, if your grades improved over time, you should point that out to the admissions committee as it may not be that obvious.
It’s tempting to use the addendum space to justify your scores or performance. But, admissions committees really read these sections just to get a grip on the facts. If you have extenuating circumstances, say so, but don’t belabor the point.Jessica Pishko graduated with a J.D. from Harvard Law School and received an M.F.A. from Columbia University. She spent two years guiding students through the medical school application process at Columbia’s Postbac Program and teaches writing at all levels. Want Jessica to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!
• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Law School Personal Statement, a free guide
• Help! My LSAT is Low – Should I Still Apply to Law School?
• 5 A’s for Your Low GPA, a podcast episode
The post 5 Things to Consider When Justifying Your LSAT Score or Grades appeared first on Accepted Admissions Blog.
from Accepted Admissions Blog
Ivy League schools require supplemental essay responses in addition to the basic Common Application or Coalition Application essay. These elite schools try to gain a deeper understanding of the applicant through these supplemental responses. Think of them as your opportunity to explain how the school is a good match for you and vise versa. Your goal is to convey what is important to you and how the school fits into your future goals.
As you prepare to respond to the supplemental questions, consider the overall character and focus of the school in relationship to your personal objectives. Begin with a visit to the school website, read about their educational mission, and think about how the school supports your interests. Columbia takes pride in the synergy created between its diverse residential student population and its location in the heart of bustling New York City. It also embraces a rich educational tradition in its interdepartmental Core Curriculum that encourages creative critical thinking by encompassing writing, science, philosophy, literature, art, music, and history. Make sure to keep all of this in mind as you think about why Columbia might be the best educational experience for you.
The Columbia supplemental questions below ask you to reflect on your academic, extracurricular and intellectual interests:
List a few words or phrases that describe your ideal college community. (150 words or less)
This question asks what is important to you in a college community in general but at Columbia in particular. This is a brief response. Consider the kinds of opportunities that might be available to you in the as a student at Columbia. What would your ideal college community look/feel like? Think about the university and its surroundings and the resources afforded by this unique location—recall the synergy between the university and the city. How do you like to engage with others and your physical space/location? Consider values, characteristics and behaviors that might support your academic and personal growth. Whatever you share, make sure to convey your enthusiasm and consider what it reflects about you. Think about the sort of person you are, the impact you hope to have, and what environment motivates you.
Please tell us what you value most about Columbia and why. (300 words or less)
This is a very important question. As you identify and communicate what you value most about the educational experience at Columbia, you are also telling the admissions committee something about what you value on a personal level. You need to demonstrate you did your research and convince the admissions committee that Columbia is the best school to help you meet your goals. You also have to show them how you can enrich the dynamic educational environment at Columbia. Convey your enthusiasm! Discuss what excites you most about the Columbia experience. They want to know what kind of student you might be at Columbia.
Columbia University requires additional essay responses for students applying to Columbia College and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science:
If you are applying to Columbia College, tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the field or fields of study that you noted in the Member Questions section. If you are currently undecided, please write about any field or fields in which you may have an interest at this time. (300 words or less)
If you are applying to The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, please tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the field or fields of study that you noted in the Member Questions section. (300 words or less)
Both of these prompts ask you to consider the interests and experiences that helped you determine your specific educational path. If you are truly undecided, focus on the areas you are currently interested in, what excites you about those topics, and your hopes for the future. These prompts ask you to think broadly about your life experience as well as provide specific examples of how these experiences affected your interests and propelled you toward a particular area of study. Your discussion should reveal your passion for the subject. Remember to include why the program at Columbia is the best place to help you achieve your goals. What are the essential aspects of the program that are most unique and attractive to you?
In addition to essay responses, Columbia requests a number of lists. As you select required readings, books, and other forms of media, think about the breadth and depth of your interests. Consider how your selections represent your identity, reflect your intellect and curiosity, relate to Columbia’s Core Curriculum requirements, and make you a good match for the overall educational experience at Columbia. Each of your responses should represent something meaningful to you.
The following questions ask you to provide lists. You can organize your responses in any order (with or without numbers) and including author names is optional. It is not necessary to italicize or underline books and other publications.
List the titles of the required readings from courses during the school year or summer that you enjoyed most in the past year. (150-words or less)
This is an opportunity to showcase a particular area of interest to you. It also reflects the content level at which you engaged a given subject. Consider classes, which you discovered something new and exciting, allowed you to explore a previous area of interest in more depth, or covered a topic that helped you see the world in a different way.
List the titles of the books you read for pleasure that you enjoyed most in the past year. (150-words or less)
The admissions committee wants to know the kinds of topics you find interesting. What better way than to share your recent favorite books? They are trying to gain a deeper sense of who you are and how you might fit in at Columbia. This list sheds some light on how you spend your spare time and what you might find engaging.
List the titles of the print, electronic publications and websites you read regularly. (150-words or less)
The sources of information and media you engage with routinely provide insights into how you perceive the world. This list to some degree demonstrates what topics are important to you. It also indicates the modes of information exchange you find most comfortable and denotes the media sources that influence your perspective.
List the titles of the films, concerts, shows, exhibits, lectures and other entertainments you enjoyed most in the past year. (150-words or less)
This list allows you to tell the admissions committee the sorts of activities you do for fun! What do you find amusing or intriguing? Your responses suggest the kinds of activities that may appeal to you at Columbia and provide insight about how you engage the world around you.
The admissions website clearly states Columbia’s commitment to a holistic approach to the admission process: “every single application is given a thorough review, and there is positively no minimum grade point average, class rank, or SAT/ACT score one must obtain in order to secure admission to Columbia.” That said, Columbia has a highly competitive applicant pool. The combined Columbia College and Columbia Engineering programs received 37,389 undergraduate applications for the class of 2021. Only 2,183 or 5.8% were offered admission and over 90% of students admitted were in the top 10% of their high school class with average SAT scores of 1535 (combined evidenced-based reading and writing and math) and an average ACT score of 34. As you can see, your essays make you more than a number.
It may seem counter intuitive however, in this environment it is essential to remain calm and focused. Be sure to allow yourself appropriate time to reflect on your educational goals and to convey your best self to the admissions committee through your essay responses. Keep in mind, while adhering to the designated word limits and deadlines, your goal is to distinguish yourself from your peers by sharing your personal examples, anecdotes, and perspectives. In short, by providing sincere insight into what makes you, you! And why you are a good match for Columbia!
If you’re applying to Columbia, you already know you’re up against tight competition. Don’t be overwhelmed. Get the guidance of an experienced admissions specialist who will help you stand out from the highly competitive applicant pool so you can apply with confidence, and get accepted! Click here to get started!By Marie Todd, Accepted's college admissions specialist. Marie has worked in college admissions for over twenty years. She has both counseled applicants and evaluated applications. Most recently she evaluated 5000+ applications for the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts; College of Engineering; School of Kinesiology. She is available to assist you (or your child) with your applications. Want Marie to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!
• From Example to Exemplary, a free guide to writing outstanding application essays
• Tips For Answering Common Application Essay Prompts
• How to Wow College Application Readers: Beyond Tests Scores and GPA
The post Tips for Answering the Columbia University Supplemental Essay Prompts appeared first on Accepted Admissions Blog.
from Accepted Admissions Blog
Sunday, September 24, 2017
In the past, I’ve blogged about keeping a journal during your rotations. Here are three things you can watch for during your rotations that will get you in great shape for later:
1. Watch your attendings.
What did your attending do today that struck you? This can be anything, from observing how they reacted to a patient’s nonverbal cues or defused an upset family member’s anger to noting how they communicated relevant information to other health professionals. Describe the details so you can recall them later. If what you saw today differed from what you’ve seen in other rotations, think about whether it’s due to the specialty or just this individual’s style. And make critical judgments – did anything you saw about this physician or today’s tasks make you think about the kind of doctor you want to be?
2. Watch your patients.
Observe how patients and their family members respond – do they ever surprise you? Which cases really piqued your interest? You may already be keeping a case log; if so, that will help supply the medical side when you want to write about specific patients. But your personal statement will be richer when seasoned with personal details that aren’t recorded in case logs.
3. Watch yourself.
Since what you write is private, use this space courageously. What did you do well? What did you do not so well? What were the things that interested you and what bored you silly? Not only can this help you to critically evaluate your educational progress, but it can also give you some insights into your future. What is pushing you towards certain specialties and away from others? How are your actions today helping you to envision the kind of doctor that you hope to be?
Three things to watch for now, ensuring that you’ll have less clock-watching to do as deadlines approach.
Do you need help with your residency or fellowship application? Work one-on-one with an admissions expert who will assist you with every aspect of the residency/fellowship admissions process – from conceptualization to actualization. Check out our complete Residency/Fellowship Application Packages now!By Cydney Foote, former administrator at the University of Washington School of Medicine and author of three ebooks about medical education. Cyd has successfully advised medical school and residency applicants since 2001. Want Cyd to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!
• MD, OBGYN, MPH Talks Med School and Residency Admissions, a podcast episode
• How Keeping a Journal as an M3 Can Save Your Residency Applications
• What’s the Best Way to Prep for Your Residency Interview & How Can Accepted Help?
from Accepted Admissions Blog
It’s your job to demonstrate to the adcom that you stand out from the applicant pool and are exactly the person they want in their next MBA class. In this series, you’ll learn how to dig deep to unearth your unique character traits, experiences, skills, and talents and bring them to the forefront of your application, so that when the adcom pick up your file, they’re hooked from the very first moment.
Your MBA resume essentially serves as your career’s “greatest hits.” On one to two pages, you’re given the opportunity to highlight your most impressive academic and professional experiences. For overrepresented applicants, older applicants, or applicants with other extenuating circumstances (like a criminal record), this is your first shot at grabbing the attention of top b-school adcom and eliminating their hesitations.
Answer these five questions to create a stunning resume that will highlight your competitive advantage and boost your chances of getting accepted:
1. Who are you?
Interview yourself and examine the jobs you’ve had, the skills you’ve acquired, and your “greatest hits” as a professional.
What are some of your most impressive skills or talents? What accomplishments are you most proud of? What have you achieved that gained you the most recognition? How have you impacted your organization or influenced coworkers? What are some of your key successes?
Look through old emails that may jog your memory, read performance reviews or LI recommendations, and jot down some notes chronicling your career achievements.
2. Where are you applying?
The best way to convince the adcom that you’re best for their school is to understand the school’s mission, strengths, and ideals.
When putting together your resume, you’ll need to learn as much as possible about the program you’re applying to. Then, customize your resume to reflect the aspects of your background that are most relevant to your target school.
Note: You want the language of your resume to match the school’s mission/strength/ideals, but be sure that you’re not just parroting back what’s on their site. Your goal is to internalize their vision and present your complementary ideals, not to cut and paste or directly mimic their language.
3. What are some of your specific accomplishments?
Saying that you “led your team to success” just won’t cut it. Impact is measured in numbers, so you want to make sure that your resume’s numbers are high.
Details matter. Look how much more impressive something like this sounds: “Designed $3 million IT strategy that increased revenue by 11% and attracted 7 new clients” compared to “Developed IT plan that was selected for implementation.” If you work for a private company and can’t disclose revenue figures, refer to percentage increases or improvements or cite the improved industry ranking of the organization’s product or performance as a result of your contribution. Think of numbers and other hard details as proof that you can deliver.
4. Are you being honest?
If you dropped out of your CPA course just before finals, don’t say that you completed the course. If you were one of eight equally ranked members of a team, don’t say you were team leader. If you worked for four months at a company, don’t say you were there for a year.
You get the point.
Making up degrees, accomplishments, and other personal and professional facts is just a bad idea. Don’t do it – it’s unethical and potentially self-destructive. Schools won’t hesitate to show students the door when they learn that their resume, or any other parts of their application for that matter, are more fiction than fact.
5. Does your resume look good?
Yes, it’s important that your resume sounds good. But how does it look?
A slapdash job will portray you as a sloppy, careless person. A featureless, plain display will make you look uninteresting or boring. The solution here isn’t to create a hot pink background bordered by birds and flowers; but adding a few design elements will do wonders to spruce up your resume and show that you put some thought into your presentation.
A few suggestions:
• Instead of the traditional circle bullet or dash, use the less common diamond- and arrow-shaped bullet.
• Use expanded text (kerning) to highlight a key term.
• Enclose certain sections of your resume in shaded boxes.
No matter what, keep in mind that less is more – you don’t want a cluttered resume that will be difficult to read. And if your target school specifies format rules (particularly regarding margins, page number, and font), be sure to follow theirs to a T. This may mean toning down your creative flair for design to fit their standard.
Read the complete 9 Secrets to Standing Out in Your MBA Application series for more tips on how to create a compelling application that highlights your unique strengths, character traits, and talents.
For personalized advice tailored just for you, check out our MBA admissions consulting and editing services and work one-on-one with a pro who will help you discover your competitive advantage and use it to get ACCEPTED.
from Accepted Admissions Blog