Any Penalties for having only professional LOR's?

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vagabondpenguin
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Any Penalties for having only professional LOR's?

Postby vagabondpenguin » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:45 am

I've been out of school for awhile now (3-4 years) and I was wondering what the make up of the LOR's should be. I know that a LOR from an educator or teacher is preferred, but does it really matter if they are all from my more recent professional experience?

My big fear is that in order to get an educator LOR I will have to tap someone from several years back that may or may not remember me, and end up with a pretty weak LOR.

Thanks in advance

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missvik218
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Re: Any Penalties for having only professional LOR's?

Postby missvik218 » Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:28 am

I think it depends on the school. Some are pretty specific about wanting academic LORs (or at least one) and others don't really seem to care that much. I'd look at the language used on their websites and applications or call the admissions office and ask directly.

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Unjust Enrichment
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Re: Any Penalties for having only professional LOR's?

Postby Unjust Enrichment » Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:30 am

vagabondpenguin wrote:I've been out of school for awhile now (3-4 years) and I was wondering what the make up of the LOR's should be. I know that a LOR from an educator or teacher is preferred, but does it really matter if they are all from my more recent professional experience?

My big fear is that in order to get an educator LOR I will have to tap someone from several years back that may or may not remember me, and end up with a pretty weak LOR.

Thanks in advance


I got in at IU-Bloomington really quickly, with money, no waitlist or anything...and I had borderline numbers and only professional LORs.

Anyway, that's just one anecdote. Others may be able to give you a broader scope.

hsprophet
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Re: Any Penalties for having only professional LOR's?

Postby hsprophet » Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:31 am

If you're out of school for a few years, it is expected that your LORs be from your professional experience. Unless you had a very positive and close adademic relationship with a professor who you still communicate with or who will remember you well, don't worry about academic LORs.

It won't hurt you to have only professional LORs since you've been out of school for several years.

Law schools know that at some point professors won't remember you, and the further you are from undergrad the less relevant it becomes.

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WhiskeyGuy
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Re: Any Penalties for having only professional LOR's?

Postby WhiskeyGuy » Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:54 am

Even though some schools have a strong preference for academic LORs, I would not submit one if you could only obtain a weak one. Schools that pay attention to LORs are gonna turned off by a weak LOR more than they are by all professional LORs.

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clintonius
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Re: Any Penalties for having only professional LOR's?

Postby clintonius » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:12 am

hsprophet wrote:If you're out of school for a few years, it is expected that your LORs be from your professional experience. Unless you had a very positive and close adademic relationship with a professor who you still communicate with or who will remember you well, don't worry about academic LORs.

It won't hurt you to have only professional LORs since you've been out of school for several years.

Law schools know that at some point professors won't remember you, and the further you are from undergrad the less relevant it becomes.

Flatly untrue except for the very last clause and part of the very first. It is true that you are better able to get away with only professional LORs the further out from undergrad you are. It is also true that some schools expect you to have a letter from a current supervisor (Columbia and probably NU). However, there are schools out there that want academic letters, and expect you to have them. You're also not expected to be forgotten by your professors, as that would speak to just how much you stood out in the first place (very little).

On the other hand, this:

WhiskeyGuy wrote:Even though some schools have a strong preference for academic LORs, I would not submit one if you could only obtain a weak one. Schools that pay attention to LORs are gonna turned off by a weak LOR more than they are by all professional LORs.

is spot-on. Get solid recommendations. Some schools (Yale and Stanford, for example) will likely be turned off by your lack of academic LORs, but that's better than handing in lukewarm ones.

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TUP
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Re: Any Penalties for having only professional LOR's?

Postby TUP » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:27 am

Where have you read that NU, Columbia, etc want a LOR from one's current supervisor? As someone hoping to work at least 12 months after obtaining LORs, that seems to go against common sense.

I've resigned myself to weak LORs. I'm almost 4 years out of undergrad and never even went to office hours other than to obtain hard copy exams (with no negative academic impact). My hope is that the 2 professors I ask use a standard LOR that doesn't lose me points. Hopefully all this talk of it being a numbers game is correct.

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ihurtmyselftoday
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Re: Any Penalties for having only professional LOR's?

Postby ihurtmyselftoday » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:28 am

I would say you still need an academic LOR to maximize the strength of your application. While at least one strong professional LOR is a must for anyone with decent work experience, law school is...well, school. Adcomms want to have some degree of insight into your academic abilities outside of what you're transcript shows.

I have been working full time for 5 years now and only submitted 1 professional LOR. The other 2 were from undergrad professors/mentors, with whom I've only maintained limited contact with since I graduated. I was able to get into the T14 despite a dismal GPA. In fact I think because of my weak GPA is was absolutely necessary to get a recommendation from someone familiar with my academic strengths.

I think one professional LOR from a recent supervisor and a strong resume should be sufficient to capture your work experience.

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clintonius
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Re: Any Penalties for having only professional LOR's?

Postby clintonius » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:44 am

TUP wrote:Where have you read that NU, Columbia, etc want a LOR from one's current supervisor? As someone hoping to work at least 12 months after obtaining LORs, that seems to go against common sense.

You can always add another LOR. Get the letters from faculty, upload them to your LSAC account, and get a letter from your supervisor if your school requires one.

This is from Columbia's LOR requirements, found on LSAC:

"Columbia requires two letters of recommendation. For applicants currently matriculated in or recently graduated from a degree program, we prefer that both letters of recommendation be submitted by faculty. For applicants currently working on a full-time basis, a letter from an employer or immediate supervisor who most recently supervised your full-time work is required and may replace one of the two faculty letters. In some instances, applicants may find it extremely difficult to obtain one of the required appraisals. If that is the case, applicants must use their good judgment to determine what letters should be submitted to complete their file, with the understanding of how valuable letters of recommendation are to our evaluation of their qualifications for admission."

My assumption that Nor'western operates similarly is based on the sense that they prefer to take people with work experience. I didn't apply there and wouldn't be able to tell you their exact requirements.

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TUP
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Re: Any Penalties for having only professional LOR's?

Postby TUP » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:09 am

Thanks for posting that. Not that I'll likely have an LSAT in that range anyway, but I'm sure other schools have a similar preference. If I have to get a supervisor LOR that's goingto make for awkward year.

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clintonius
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Re: Any Penalties for having only professional LOR's?

Postby clintonius » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:32 am

And, by contrast, this is from the Yale admissions blog:

"Dear Asha:

I have been out of school for several years and am concerned about my recommendations. While I will be able to secure a recommendation from my employer, I also have some recommendations from my undergraduate work filed with a credential service. Because these recommendations speak more to my academic ability and performance, would it be wise to include one from my undergraduate years, even though they are several years old?

Sincerely,
C.L.


Dear C.L.,

YES. In fact, I would strongly advise you to include at least TWO academic recommendations, if at all possible. And if you have the option of submitting a third work reference or a third academic reference (note that we only require two, so I emphasize the word OPTION), I would go with the latter."


I just include this to emphasize the fact that you should check the requirements and preferences of each school to which you're applying, because they may differ sharply from one place to the next.

hsprophet
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Re: Any Penalties for having only professional LOR's?

Postby hsprophet » Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:29 am

I've been out of undergrad for 8 years, and grad school nearly 6. I got two letters, one from a coworker (not a supervisor, someone who has a position equal to mine) and a friend who is an attorney and has also represented me for business matters. I don't feel like the absence of an academic LOR hurt me at all. My acceptances and scholarship offers were pretty much in line with what I expected.

It really depends on the school. Some of the will say that professional LORs are fine if you've been out of school for awhile.

On the extreme end, what if you've been out of school for 30 years? At some point academic LORs aren't an option, no matter what the school says they require.

blue5385
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Re: Any Penalties for having only professional LOR's?

Postby blue5385 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:49 pm

clintonius wrote:
TUP wrote:Where have you read that NU, Columbia, etc want a LOR from one's current supervisor? As someone hoping to work at least 12 months after obtaining LORs, that seems to go against common sense.

You can always add another LOR. Get the letters from faculty, upload them to your LSAC account, and get a letter from your supervisor if your school requires one.

This is from Columbia's LOR requirements, found on LSAC:

"Columbia requires two letters of recommendation. For applicants currently matriculated in or recently graduated from a degree program, we prefer that both letters of recommendation be submitted by faculty. For applicants currently working on a full-time basis, a letter from an employer or immediate supervisor who most recently supervised your full-time work is required and may replace one of the two faculty letters. In some instances, applicants may find it extremely difficult to obtain one of the required appraisals. If that is the case, applicants must use their good judgment to determine what letters should be submitted to complete their file, with the understanding of how valuable letters of recommendation are to our evaluation of their qualifications for admission."

My assumption that Nor'western operates similarly is based on the sense that they prefer to take people with work experience. I didn't apply there and wouldn't be able to tell you their exact requirements.


Weird. CLS let me in with two academic recs and I was working F/T when I applied. I'm guessing it's probably because I fall under the "recently graduated" category, but still.

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clintonius
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Re: Any Penalties for having only professional LOR's?

Postby clintonius » Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:05 pm

Yeah, I don't imagine they expect you to be able to get a meaningful letter of rec from an employer if you're new to the job. I believe it's for people who have been there a year or more.

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swampthang
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Re: Any Penalties for having only professional LOR's?

Postby swampthang » Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:30 pm

blue5385 wrote:
clintonius wrote:
TUP wrote:Where have you read that NU, Columbia, etc want a LOR from one's current supervisor? As someone hoping to work at least 12 months after obtaining LORs, that seems to go against common sense.

You can always add another LOR. Get the letters from faculty, upload them to your LSAC account, and get a letter from your supervisor if your school requires one.

This is from Columbia's LOR requirements, found on LSAC:

"Columbia requires two letters of recommendation. For applicants currently matriculated in or recently graduated from a degree program, we prefer that both letters of recommendation be submitted by faculty. For applicants currently working on a full-time basis, a letter from an employer or immediate supervisor who most recently supervised your full-time work is required and may replace one of the two faculty letters. In some instances, applicants may find it extremely difficult to obtain one of the required appraisals. If that is the case, applicants must use their good judgment to determine what letters should be submitted to complete their file, with the understanding of how valuable letters of recommendation are to our evaluation of their qualifications for admission."

My assumption that Nor'western operates similarly is based on the sense that they prefer to take people with work experience. I didn't apply there and wouldn't be able to tell you their exact requirements.


Weird. CLS let me in with two academic recs and I was working F/T when I applied. I'm guessing it's probably because I fall under the "recently graduated" category, but still.


You can probably interpret the "In some instances, applicants may find it extremely difficult to obtain one of the required appraisals." clause pretty broadly.

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ach24
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Re: Any Penalties for having only professional LOR's?

Postby ach24 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 3:09 pm

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Last edited by ach24 on Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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NorCalBruin
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Re: Any Penalties for having only professional LOR's?

Postby NorCalBruin » Mon Dec 27, 2010 3:25 pm

For what it's worth,

When I applied to Cornell, they required that two of your LOR be from an academic source. It says so on their application instructions. However, I only had one and turned in my app anyway (ea). A few weeks later they emailed me and said that my file was incomplete because only one LoR was academic. I requested that they review my file anyway, which they agreed to, noting that my application had not met their normal requirements.

Was accepted last week 167 / 3.8 ---my thoughts, considering I wasn't an auto admit, are that it doesn't matter that much to them, well, at least at Cornell




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