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This review is from: The Ivey Guide to Law School Admissions: Straight Advice on Essays, Résumés, Interviews, and More (Paperback)
As a longshot applicant, I have already been accepted to or waitlisted by various top law schools (two of the top three law schools, as I write this, are still considering me, despite being told not to bother applying to those schools). But I couldn't help but be intrigued when I saw that a book by a former admissions officer at the University of Chicago would be coming out with big "secrets." Having already been through the process and having been someone who relied heavily on Richard Montauk's "How To Get Into the Top Law Schools," I would say that I didn't miss too much essential information from not having this book available as I applied. If someone told me there was only one book they could buy on law school admissions and asked for my opinion, I would probably still advise they go with Montauk's book. However, I would otherwise recommend that they pick up a copy of Montauk's book, Anna Ivey's book and, if they were African American, copies of Evangeline Mitchell's books.
For the most part, Ivey seems to reveal similar information as Montauk's book but without as much detail and support (which is kind of a minus for me, but I believe she is holding back all in-depth details and information for those who will pay for her services). She is very straightforward and brief about her points, but you certainly get the message. She does speak a bit more candidly on affirmative action and can't help but give more insider tips that are extremely helpful than anyone else could, including Montauk. Someone who makes a serious error in their personal statement, wants to know whether or not they should apply early action/decision and how that affects anything, how reapplying or a criminal record affects anything, or needs to play schools against each other for better financial aid would get the best tips and info from Ivey.
She also is very detailed in terms of listing every kind of addendum you could possibly need to write and how to go about it or, even, when to forget writing one. At the end of the book, she has examples of good personal statements and bad ones, good addendums and bad ones, good recommendations and bad ones, and before and after resumes. In the book itself, she has chapters on all these topics, including interviews and how to handle them. She is also very candid about the importance of rankings and numbers, but she will also tell you that numbers are not the end-all be-all and what kind of applicants for which that is particularly true (basically, if you have high numbers, it's your spot in the class to lose...it's not entirely hopeless if your numbers are low, but you have to pull out wildcards and/or good addendums/personal statements).
I definitely think this book SUPPLEMENTS Montauk's book but doesn't replace it in getting everything you need. And I also think her chapter on "The Wow Factor" is somewhat lacking, mainly in that she doesn't seem to give many suggestions or examples on/of activities (besides crazy things like being an Olympic gold winner) or anything else you can do before it's time to apply that she considers impressive or which she feels might make an applicant stand out (besides numbers). This wouldn't NECESSARILY be a problem if it weren't for the title of that chapter--to me, when you see "The Wow Factor," you're thinking she's going to talk a bit about who's impressive to admissions officers or how to be impressive to them, but she doesn't really do that--she just suggests a good marketing job is mainly what you need when you're sending out applications. Hence, the title is misleading (in my opinion)--she basically spends the chapter giving a general overview of admissions, as if you're at an LSAC Law School Forum asking her various basic or specific-to-you questions and she's rattling off answers.
To sum up, the book didn't quite meet the hype, for me, but it's still one of the best on admissions to law school. Very easy to read--a quick read. Not quite as detailed and informative as Montauk's book (again, that might be a plus for you--it was a minus for me), but it's certainly worth checking out to get that little bit of info you could only get from someone who has actually served as an admissions officer and to actually try to get a little more into their heads. Most of the questions Montauk's book had left unanswered/kind of vague for me, this book answered them--I truly recommend both books, but you could still do a great job of getting into schools with just Montauk's book (I'm not sure I would EXACTLY say Ivey's book alone would have gotten me to the point I'm at now like I can say about Montauk's).
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Initial post: Jun 8, 2013 7:26:10 PM PDT
There is no Wow Factor chapter anymore. The 2010 version seems to be quite different from the one in this review.
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