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Veteran admissions professional Jay Shively to head admissions and financial aid

Jay Shively

Jay Shively, assistant dean for Admissions and Financial Aid

A veteran admissions professional is bringing his experience to the Wake Forest University School of Law as new assistant dean for Admissions and Financial Aid.

“I am thrilled to make Wake Forest law school my professional home,” Jay Shively said. “What an amazing opportunity to contribute at one of the country’s premiere institutions and with a dream team of faculty and administrators. I look forward to bringing my talents to this rich academic environment.”

Shively, who earned his JD from the University of Houston Law Center, begins work in June. He succeeds Admissions and Financial Aid Director Melanie Nutt, who has been ushering new students into the school for more than 30 years.

“Melanie Nutt is a legend in the world of law school admissions and at Wake Forest law school,” he said. “I am humbled by the opportunity to benefit from her many contributions and to use the skills I’ve developed to help move the law school into the future.”

Shively has more than a dozen years in law admissions, most recently at the Penn State University Dickinson School of Law, where he was assistant dean for Admissions and Financial Aid. He also worked as assistant dean for Admissions at the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill and assistant director for Admissions at the University of Houston Law Center.

“I am ecstatic that Jay will be joining our law school admissions team,” says Ann Gibbs, associate dean of Administrative and Student Services. “He brings a wealth of experience, and just as importantly, embraces the same warm and personalized approach to admissions that has become a hallmark at Wake Forest law.”

Shively, who earned his bachelor’s at Florida State University, also served the legal education community as Director of Law School Services at the Law School Admission Council in Newtown, Pa.

In that role, Shively directed the activities of a division responsible for service creation, education, training and support for all law schools in their use of Law School Admission Council services. His division created and implemented a cutting edge internet database currently in use by every American law school to manage all law school applications, communicate with students and process the vast amount of data associated with the law school application process.

At Penn State, Shively made final decisions on applicants from a pool of more than 5,300. “We’ve been successful in meeting a range of institutional goals, including increasing application volumes, improving diversity and attracting a class with historic credentials.”

Shively also had the challenge of raising the profile of a law school to match that of a recently affiliated primary institution with a dedicated and engaged alumni.

“I am pleased that with focused admissions and financial aid initiatives we’ve been successful in elevating the profile of the law school such that it is a source of pride for the university.”

 At UNC, Shively helped to increase prospective student contact by implementing a broader recruitment strategy yielding application volume increase of 77 percent between 2001 and 2004 and advancing the school’s national recognition among applicants. 

 “I have learned in my career, to effectively recruit a broad diversity of students, identify talent, manage a large volume of applications in an organized and timely manner, and to effectively communicate and work with the wide variety of university constituents,” Shively says.

 “It’s important to be smart with the numbers but at the same time keep your focus on the students as people. Obviously, in a competitive admissions process you won’t be able to give everyone exactly what they want, but you can treat each person you encounter with respect and compassion.”