No good LOR options ... What to do?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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TUP
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No good LOR options ... What to do?

Postby TUP » Thu May 06, 2010 10:07 am

I have no good options for LOR writers and I'm not sure how to approach this. I'm nearly 4 years out of undergrad, and during undergrad had that absolute minimum contact with professors. I only went to office hours to obtain hard copies of my exam and never to ask questions, never attended optional study sessions, and my attendance at classes where it wasn't required was almost zero. I was a major slacker that focused too much on the non-academic side of undergrad. Obviously I realize now this was a bad move, but back then I had little intention of going back to school and my habits didn't have a negative impact on my grades.

My other problem is I'm in a finance position that would consider law a career change. Asking for a LOR from my current supervisor would be a major red flag.

Any advice on what I should do? I won't have my PS ready, but plan to write about why I want to go to law school in the packet of information I provide to LOR writers (including resume, transcript, etc.). Do I just give that to 2 or 3 of my past professors from 4+ years ago and hope they write a generic letter? Would it be worth contacting the supervisors from my internship (almost 5 years ago)? There must be someone else in my position ...

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holydonkey
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Re: No good LOR options ... What to do?

Postby holydonkey » Thu May 06, 2010 10:10 am

Take summer classes at a local university. Get A's in those classes. Ask these profs.

greg11a
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Re: No good LOR options ... What to do?

Postby greg11a » Thu May 06, 2010 10:13 am

I was in your exact situation. Cant notify work as it would be a red flag, and I didnt really have a relationship with any professors, and in my case it was 11 years ago. My strategy was to just try to get one, from my senior project adviser, who I also had 1 class with that I did really well in, but I was unable to and just ended up applying to schools that didnt require LOR's. That may not work for your situation however, as it did limit where I could apply.

If you definitely need a LOR for the schools you are interested in, I would ping an old prof of a class you had a good grade and just try to get enough generic LORs to meet whatever your preferred school's criteria are. All my acceptances came with no LOR.

BenJ
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Re: No good LOR options ... What to do?

Postby BenJ » Thu May 06, 2010 11:00 am

Form letters from professors who have no memory of you are not a good thing. However, they're also not usually application killers. If you have no better options, it's okay to get professors who don't remember you to write recommendations. That will hurt you less than having no LORs at all, and you can definitely still get into good schools with generic LORs as long as your numbers are strong.

Alternatively, volunteer with a local organization, a political campaign, etc. and get a recommendation from someone you work with closely there. You might do this for one LOR and have the other be a generic one from a professor.

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TUP
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Re: No good LOR options ... What to do?

Postby TUP » Thu May 06, 2010 11:08 am

I can work upwards of 50-60+ hours with unpredictability, so any summer school/volunteering/etc is a direct hit to already limited LSAT prep time.

If I don't waive my right to see LORs, I could potentially request 5-6 and then send the best 2, correct? Or would I only be able to see them after I've applied?

At least my app cycle will be able to test the "numbers are all that matter" theory.

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gwuorbust
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Re: No good LOR options ... What to do?

Postby gwuorbust » Thu May 06, 2010 11:12 am

TUP wrote:I can work upwards of 50-60+ hours with unpredictability, so any summer school/volunteering/etc is a direct hit to already limited LSAT prep time.

If I don't waive my right to see LORs, I could potentially request 5-6 and then send the best 2, correct? Or would I only be able to see them after I've applied?

At least my app cycle will be able to test the "numbers are all that matter" theory.


they would prob already be sent to LSAC, but when you are applying to a school you get to choose which LORs to use..so you would just choose to send the two best ones to the school from LSAC.

hsprophet
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Re: No good LOR options ... What to do?

Postby hsprophet » Thu May 06, 2010 11:37 am

One of my letters was from a coworker (in a position equal to mine) who is familiar with my work. Like you, I didn't want to ask a supervisor (although I probably could have without repercusions). My other letter was from a friend who is an attorney who has done work for me and knows my interest and abilities to understand law.

You really need at least one letter from someone who you've worked with/for. It's expected to have one for those who are working and out of school for awhile. The other is up in the air. Maybe a second coworker, or someone who can speak honestly about first-hand knowledge of your abilities. Pastor, volunteer organization, etc.

greg11a
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Re: No good LOR options ... What to do?

Postby greg11a » Thu May 06, 2010 11:48 am

hsprophet wrote:One of my letters was from a coworker (in a position equal to mine) who is familiar with my work. Like you, I didn't want to ask a supervisor (although I probably could have without repercusions). My other letter was from a friend who is an attorney who has done work for me and knows my interest and abilities to understand law.

You really need at least one letter from someone who you've worked with/for. It's expected to have one for those who are working and out of school for awhile. The other is up in the air. Maybe a second coworker, or someone who can speak honestly about first-hand knowledge of your abilities. Pastor, volunteer organization, etc.


While Im sure its helpful if its a good letter, I dont think its needed by any means, unless the school specifically requires a certain number of LOR. All the schools I applied to accepted no LOR's and I did not provide any and I have been accepted to all but 1 at this point.

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biglll
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Re: No good LOR options ... What to do?

Postby biglll » Thu May 06, 2010 6:21 pm

Do nothing, apply to Fordham--they don't require LORs. :)

legalized
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Re: No good LOR options ... What to do?

Postby legalized » Thu May 06, 2010 6:34 pm

TUP wrote:I have no good options for LOR writers and I'm not sure how to approach this. I'm nearly 4 years out of undergrad, and during undergrad had that absolute minimum contact with professors. I only went to office hours to obtain hard copies of my exam and never to ask questions, never attended optional study sessions, and my attendance at classes where it wasn't required was almost zero. I was a major slacker that focused too much on the non-academic side of undergrad. Obviously I realize now this was a bad move, but back then I had little intention of going back to school and my habits didn't have a negative impact on my grades.

My other problem is I'm in a finance position that would consider law a career change. Asking for a LOR from my current supervisor would be a major red flag.

Any advice on what I should do? I won't have my PS ready, but plan to write about why I want to go to law school in the packet of information I provide to LOR writers (including resume, transcript, etc.). Do I just give that to 2 or 3 of my past professors from 4+ years ago and hope they write a generic letter? Would it be worth contacting the supervisors from my internship (almost 5 years ago)? There must be someone else in my position ...


I would say volunteer somewhere on the weekends for the summer or beyond, or get involved with your church, teach sunday school, help plan events, help around the office, anything.

Don't tell them why you are doing it.

After 3 months of weekly involvement, ask for LORs from supervisory level folks that you have made sure to impress with your work ethic, problem solving skills, etc. If you start the position by June you can ask for the LOR by September.

legalized
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Re: No good LOR options ... What to do?

Postby legalized » Thu May 06, 2010 6:40 pm

TUP wrote:I can work upwards of 50-60+ hours with unpredictability, so any summer school/volunteering/etc is a direct hit to already limited LSAT prep time.

If I don't waive my right to see LORs, I could potentially request 5-6 and then send the best 2, correct? Or would I only be able to see them after I've applied?

At least my app cycle will be able to test the "numbers are all that matter" theory.


Ohhh just seeing this. Forget my other post then.

You will need to waive your right to see it on the form, but i understand some people just have the author send them a copy by email or something anyway. If you read it and don't like it, just delete them off your LSAC account. Good luck, although it's dishonest to read it before the adcomm sees it, i think, but people are doing it.

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TUP
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Re: No good LOR options ... What to do?

Postby TUP » Thu May 06, 2010 7:56 pm

legalized wrote:Ohhh just seeing this. Forget my other post then.

You will need to waive your right to see it on the form, but i understand some people just have the author send them a copy by email or something anyway. If you read it and don't like it, just delete them off your LSAC account. Good luck, although it's dishonest to read it before the adcomm sees it, i think, but people are doing it.


Is that a law school policy? Or opinion? I don't remember this being an issue at all way back when I was applying to undergrad, but waiving your right seems to be recommended based on what I've read recently.

I'll probably ask a few professors and just go with whichever is the most receptive. I can't imagine such a subjective and inconsistent part of the application process carries much weight.

03121202698008
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Re: No good LOR options ... What to do?

Postby 03121202698008 » Thu May 06, 2010 8:32 pm

I contacted old professors and provided them with copies of papers I had written in their classes. Fortunately, I kept them. They then wrote me LORs based on the work I re-turned in.

savesthedayajb
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Re: No good LOR options ... What to do?

Postby savesthedayajb » Thu May 06, 2010 8:39 pm

Set up a meeting with these old professors or take them out to lunch in order to reintroduce yourself and to talk about your ambitions and goals in hopes that the conversation will demonstrate a mature, smart, well-rounded person they can discuss in the LOR.

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romothesavior
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Re: No good LOR options ... What to do?

Postby romothesavior » Thu May 06, 2010 8:39 pm

I've heard writing your own is TCR.

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shepdawg
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Re: No good LOR options ... What to do?

Postby shepdawg » Thu May 06, 2010 8:44 pm

I was in the same position, but I just asked all of my bosses for a letter anyway. The key is to be nice. I'm doubting that since you've only been out of UG for 4 years that your are irreplaceable. Offer to train your replacement.

legalized
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Re: No good LOR options ... What to do?

Postby legalized » Thu May 06, 2010 8:52 pm

TUP wrote:
legalized wrote:Ohhh just seeing this. Forget my other post then.

You will need to waive your right to see it on the form, but i understand some people just have the author send them a copy by email or something anyway. If you read it and don't like it, just delete them off your LSAC account. Good luck, although it's dishonest to read it before the adcomm sees it, i think, but people are doing it.


Is that a law school policy? Or opinion? I don't remember this being an issue at all way back when I was applying to undergrad, but waiving your right seems to be recommended based on what I've read recently.

I'll probably ask a few professors and just go with whichever is the most receptive. I can't imagine such a subjective and inconsistent part of the application process carries much weight.


Law school tradition, more like.

From web research:
--LinkRemoved--

From the LSAC:
http://www.lsac.org/Applying/letters-of ... dation.asp

legalized
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Re: No good LOR options ... What to do?

Postby legalized » Thu May 06, 2010 8:55 pm

blhoward2 wrote:I contacted old professors and provided them with copies of papers I had written in their classes. Fortunately, I kept them. They then wrote me LORs based on the work I re-turned in.


Yeah a lot of my most extensive/best reports are floating around in my email so I can easily find mine. I sent them in like you did.

But he said he's been out 4 years and didn't care about school, I liked school. I doubted he kept his so I didn't bother suggesting that.

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TUP
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Re: No good LOR options ... What to do?

Postby TUP » Thu May 06, 2010 11:43 pm

shepdawg wrote:I was in the same position, but I just asked all of my bosses for a letter anyway. The key is to be nice. I'm doubting that since you've only been out of UG for 4 years that your are irreplaceable. Offer to train your replacement.


I'm considering this. I'm confident I can get two great LORs from supervisors if I'm on a waitlist in March and know I'll be going to a school a few months later. It's tough to read how asking for one in August/September would impact my position when I plan to work another ~9 months, though.

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TUP
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Re: No good LOR options ... What to do?

Postby TUP » Thu May 06, 2010 11:47 pm

legalized wrote:
blhoward2 wrote:I contacted old professors and provided them with copies of papers I had written in their classes. Fortunately, I kept them. They then wrote me LORs based on the work I re-turned in.


Yeah a lot of my most extensive/best reports are floating around in my email so I can easily find mine. I sent them in like you did.

But he said he's been out 4 years and didn't care about school, I liked school. I doubted he kept his so I didn't bother suggesting that.


It's not that I didn't care at all. I ended up at a 3.7x GPA, so there are classes I did well in if I can dig up my papers/presentations. I just didn't put forth any effort to get to know professors and I learned better studying on my own than sitting through lectures/discussion (obviously that has to change for law school). I don't think this is uncommon of undergrads, so I thought I'd see how others handled it.

Thanks everyone for the advice.

legalized
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Re: No good LOR options ... What to do?

Postby legalized » Fri May 07, 2010 12:25 am

TUP wrote:
legalized wrote:
blhoward2 wrote:I contacted old professors and provided them with copies of papers I had written in their classes. Fortunately, I kept them. They then wrote me LORs based on the work I re-turned in.


Yeah a lot of my most extensive/best reports are floating around in my email so I can easily find mine. I sent them in like you did.

But he said he's been out 4 years and didn't care about school, I liked school. I doubted he kept his so I didn't bother suggesting that.


It's not that I didn't care at all. I ended up at a 3.7x GPA, so there are classes I did well in if I can dig up my papers/presentations. I just didn't put forth any effort to get to know professors and I learned better studying on my own than sitting through lectures/discussion (obviously that has to change for law school). I don't think this is uncommon of undergrads, so I thought I'd see how others handled it.

Thanks everyone for the advice.



It does have to change for law school, but if that is how you learn, how will you be able to change it? Not arguing, just really wondering.

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TUP
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Re: No good LOR options ... What to do?

Postby TUP » Fri May 07, 2010 1:00 am

legalized wrote:It does have to change for law school, but if that is how you learn, how will you be able to change it? Not arguing, just really wondering.


I guess both work. I just found that in so many undergrad classes the reading/problem sets and lectures were redundant. I'd do the reading/problem sets anyway, so sitting through the same material in lecture felt like a waste of time. I wasn't a liberal arts major, though, and in lib arts electives it was a different story. Law school will obviously be more challenging (looking forward to that after 4 years in corporate America).




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