I plan to apply during the next cycle. So, here's my story.
I hate letters of recommendation. Since high school (applying to college), LORs have been the bane of my existence. I'm an independent learner, and I don't suck up (at least as much as a lot of people seem to). I'm not saying that you need to be a dependent learner and/or suck-up to get good LORs, just that it's easier to get good LORs if you're both of these things.
But, I figured I was doing just fine, with 3 solid LORs in my back pocket. But then I asked one of my profs for an LOR for a summer program. I've worked with this prof on a research project pretty extensively, and on my final research project for his class he gave me a 100 and wrote "this is among the best I've ever seen" or something like that.
So, I ask him for an LOR figuring things will go just fine. But instead, I get, "Sure, I'll give you a letter - if you write it."
I've read the threads on this forum, and I absolutely agree that I can't write the letter. Ethical constraints aside, I just can't say, "she's the top of her class, etc", even if I am (which I am, even though that's hopelessly egotistical of me to admit).
So, my questions are:
1) How important are LORs? Are there any schools that disregard them? With my 4.0 in engineering and a liberal arts honors program, plus my naturally extremely strong testing abilities (a cold diagnostic real LSAT gave me a score of something like 174, and I can only hope to improve as I study logic games), I have no doubt that my numbers will be great. Can I get by on numbers alone? My ECs are pretty okay, too. I'm interested in attending a top 20 on merit scholarship... I like the sound of GW, myself.
2) More of a philosophical question... Why do professors do it!?!? I mean, if I did indeed submit one of the best final projects this prof has "ever seen," is it really too much to expect that he could tear 30 min to an hour away from his life to draft me an LOR? ARG! (Okay, this is more of just venting, but why!?!?)
(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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