Asking a non-major professor for an LOR

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JJDancer
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Asking a non-major professor for an LOR

Postby JJDancer » Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:09 pm

I know one professor that I am definitely asking for a rec because I had him in my last semester of UG (I'm a year out of UG and live 1000 miles away from my UG now), it was a smaller class and I'm sure he remembers my class participation, and I did well on all tests and a paper I wrote for the class. He is also a professor from my major.

I'm not sure who to ask for my second req. I minored in International Affairs and took business classes through it that I really enjoyed. I have 2 business professors I could ask. First of all, I know it would probably be better to have 2 reqs from profs or tas in my major but would it be ok to include one from a business class (since its not what the bulk of my UG was about)?

Option 1 - she was the prof for my first business class so although I did well, I had to learn some things on the fly compared to other students in the class - not sure if this would be a plus or minus. She also knows me more as a person because I met with her during my last semester of UG. She asked me to write HER a req (which i did) in the past few months.

Option 2 - Is the prof for a business class I had later on in UG. She can speak to my analytical skills and above average quality of class participation but I haven't been in contact with her for a year/ don't know her too well personally.

I'm thinking I would also want a req that highlights my writing ability. There is a class I took from my major which was really hard for me but I ended up excelling. I think if I wrote a mini cover letter to the TA about my experience with the class he would be able to refer to the papers I wrote for the class and comments we gave online to write a good letter. Should I ask him?
I don't think I should ask the professor who although incredibly eloquent and brilliant probably never read my paper and doesn't remember me from his (large) class.

Thought?

Thanks

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Ship87
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Re: Asking a non-major professor for an LOR

Postby Ship87 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:00 pm

I'm glad you posted this! I have a similar situation. I'm asking for my LORs to be from 2 profs outside my majors but who know my writing ability. I'm majoring in physics and econ, and my physics profs won't write me a spectacular letter like my other profs will and I don't know my econ professors too well. Does it matter if the letter is within the major or do they just want to see a good letter about your academic abilities?

JJDancer
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Re: Asking a non-major professor for an LOR

Postby JJDancer » Fri Aug 06, 2010 5:34 pm

anyone?

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weaselology
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Re: Asking a non-major professor for an LOR

Postby weaselology » Fri Aug 06, 2010 6:12 pm

OP - I would definitely think of the two options, option 1 would likely be the stronger recommendation of the two. She liked you enough to stay in touch and she asked you for a recommendation which clearly indicates she thinks highly of you.

As for the larger issue of asking professors from outside your major, both of my professors were from outside my major and it wasn't an issue at all. I think what the adcoms really want to see is that the professor knows you and that he thinks you have a solid work ethic/analytical skills etc.

Ship87 - what do you mean by not a "spectacular letter"? Do you expect them to badmouth you or something? If so, I would advise against getting a LOR from this prof, but it's hard to say without more details.

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billyez
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Re: Asking a non-major professor for an LOR

Postby billyez » Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:25 am

As for the larger issue of asking professors from outside your major, both of my professors were from outside my major and it wasn't an issue at all. I think what the adcoms really want to see is that the professor knows you and that he thinks you have a solid work ethic/analytical skills etc.


I concur with this. I didn't ask anyone in my Major to write me a letter. The litmus test is your relationship with the Professor, not whether or not he teaches your Major.

To that end, Option 1 appears ot be the right choice.

JJDancer
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Re: Asking a non-major professor for an LOR

Postby JJDancer » Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:30 pm

Wanted to add a little more perspective to these 2 options:

Option 1 - she was the prof for my first business class so although I did well, I had to learn some things on the fly compared to other students in the class - not sure if this would be a plus or minus. She also knows me more as a person because I met with her during my last semester of UG. She asked me to write her a req (which i did) in the past few months.
I don't think she would be able to compare me to other students in a glorifying way. and when I met her my last semester in UG I spoke to her about considering a career in her field, NOT law (although I came to law school wanting to become a lawyer).

Option 2 - Is the prof for a business class I had later on in UG. She can speak to my analytical skills and above average quality of class participation but I haven't been in contact with her for a year/ don't know her too well personally. by personally I mean no chit chat sort of thing. However this prof has an impeccable memory (she would mention a comment a student made in the first week of class in the last week of class and would attribute it to the right student) So I think she will write a more specific/authentic req... And I can just send her a blurb about why I want to be a lawyer or how I want to integrate business and law when I become a lawyer

I'm thinking I would also want a req that highlights my writing ability. There is a class I took from my major which was really hard for me but I ended up excelling. I think if I wrote a mini cover letter to the TA about my experience with the class he would be able to refer to the papers I wrote for the class and comments we gave online to write a good letter. Should I ask him?
I don't think I should ask the professor who although incredibly eloquent and brilliant probably never read my paper and doesn't remember me from his (large) class.

Thoughts?

Thanks[/quote]

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billyez
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Re: Asking a non-major professor for an LOR

Postby billyez » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:40 pm

Yeah, I still say Option 1. But by all accounts you can fix this issue very easily; ask them to write it out and give it to you so you can send it to LSAC - that way they don't have to take care of that. That way, you'll be able to read it yourself. Most Prof's are hip to this, but some will

It really doesn't matter very much why you want to go to law school when it comes to LOR's. This is meant to be a way for peopel to say that you have certain skills and abilities that are necessary to succed in a competitive academic environment. The PS is where you put in the "Why Law" stuff if you want to go that route. I think you had it right when you said that you wanted someone to highlight your writing ability; that's something that a LOR should do.

Why don't you just ask both of them anyway to play it safe in case one isn't able to do it? That's what I did.




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