super quick letter of rec question:

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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WonkyPanda
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super quick letter of rec question:

Postby WonkyPanda » Wed Sep 29, 2010 2:58 am

I asked and most of you guys agreed that a letter of rec that isn't from your major doesn't really matter. What mattered most was the content of the letter and if it was from a TA or professor. Now, I was wondering if it's detrimental in anyways to have the letter from the same exact class that was from one of the very first classes i ever took. One would be from the professor and the other would be from the TA. I am just curious what the admissions officer looks at when he sees who the letter is from.

Thanks!

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maroonzoon
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Re: super quick letter of rec question:

Postby maroonzoon » Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:03 am

It will look like you did well in only one class you ever took. Get letters from profs if you can, too. If from a TA, I would see if the prof will co-sign it.

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DearCan
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Re: super quick letter of rec question:

Postby DearCan » Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:04 am

WonkyPanda wrote:I asked and most of you guys agreed that a letter of rec that isn't from your major doesn't really matter. What mattered most was the content of the letter and if it was from a TA or professor. Now, I was wondering if it's detrimental in anyways to have the letter from the same exact class that was from one of the very first classes i ever took. One would be from the professor and the other would be from the TA. I am just curious what the admissions officer looks at when he sees who the letter is from.

Thanks!


I don't see how this could hurt you. For all they know, you kept close ties with this professor through undergrad. If you have reason to believe the professor or the TA hardly remembers you I would probably say find someone who does.

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kazu
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Re: super quick letter of rec question:

Postby kazu » Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:05 am

maroonzoon wrote:It will look like you did well in only one class you ever took. Get letters from profs if you can, too. If from a TA, I would see if the prof will co-sign it.


No, a TA is fine. The prof doesn't have to cosign it if you think the TA is in a better position to speak about your strengths.

However, I would worry that the two letters would be completely redundant. Wouldn't they reference the same things about you? Especially since they're both referencing the exact same body of work, instead of different papers/projects/etc.

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WonkyPanda
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Re: super quick letter of rec question:

Postby WonkyPanda » Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:07 am

maroonzoon wrote:It will look like you did well in only one class you ever took. Get letters from profs if you can, too. If from a TA, I would see if the prof will co-sign it.


I don't understand how it would look like i did well in only one class. Doesn't the grade speak more about my performance in the class? I always assumed the letter was a more personal interpretation who I am as a student and what my abilities were. Seems kind of dumb to think I didn't do well in a class because I didn't get close with any profs/TAs. UCLA is a pretty large school and getting close with a professor was never my strong suit. Psychology was an extremely overbooked major and felt very impersonal at times unless you did research.... and boy did I loathe research.

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WonkyPanda
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Re: super quick letter of rec question:

Postby WonkyPanda » Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:09 am

kazu wrote:
maroonzoon wrote:It will look like you did well in only one class you ever took. Get letters from profs if you can, too. If from a TA, I would see if the prof will co-sign it.


No, a TA is fine. The prof doesn't have to cosign it if you think the TA is in a better position to speak about your strengths.

However, I would worry that the two letters would be completely redundant. Wouldn't they reference the same things about you? Especially since they're both referencing the exact same body of work, instead of different papers/projects/etc.


Well, that's what I am worried about, but at the same time I met this TA and professor through a special summer program that was designed for minority students. It wasn't just a class environment where I interacted with them and saw them often outside of class. You do make a relevant point about the redundancy though. My main problem is then that these two are the closest I ever got with on a personal level.

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DearCan
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Re: super quick letter of rec question:

Postby DearCan » Wed Sep 29, 2010 4:45 am

WonkyPanda wrote:
kazu wrote:
maroonzoon wrote:It will look like you did well in only one class you ever took. Get letters from profs if you can, too. If from a TA, I would see if the prof will co-sign it.


No, a TA is fine. The prof doesn't have to cosign it if you think the TA is in a better position to speak about your strengths.

However, I would worry that the two letters would be completely redundant. Wouldn't they reference the same things about you? Especially since they're both referencing the exact same body of work, instead of different papers/projects/etc.


Well, that's what I am worried about, but at the same time I met this TA and professor through a special summer program that was designed for minority students. It wasn't just a class environment where I interacted with them and saw them often outside of class. You do make a relevant point about the redundancy though. My main problem is then that these two are the closest I ever got with on a personal level.


Personally I think you are absolutely fine using these two people as your recommenders.

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robotclubmember
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Re: super quick letter of rec question:

Postby robotclubmember » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:19 am

WonkyPanda wrote:
maroonzoon wrote:It will look like you did well in only one class you ever took. Get letters from profs if you can, too. If from a TA, I would see if the prof will co-sign it.


I don't understand how it would look like i did well in only one class. Doesn't the grade speak more about my performance in the class? I always assumed the letter was a more personal interpretation who I am as a student and what my abilities were. Seems kind of dumb to think I didn't do well in a class because I didn't get close with any profs/TAs. UCLA is a pretty large school and getting close with a professor was never my strong suit. Psychology was an extremely overbooked major and felt very impersonal at times unless you did research.... and boy did I loathe research.


Well, considering an average college degree consists of 40 courses or so, and you are seeking to get two letters of recommendation from the same course when you have 39 other ones to choose from, I'm not understanding how you're not understanding his point.

The LOR is to expand upon your items in your application and give insight into your character that would otherwise be unavailable from looking at grades or experience. In other words, they want a unique perspective. You're basically giving them two photos both shot from the same location. Which tells much less about a landscape than say, a photo shot from aerial, and a photo shot the ground. Just an analogy, but the point is, they want LOR's to give different perspectives about your character that you couldn't say for yourself and that your transcripts can't say for you. Why would you get perspective from people who are viewing the same performance, in the same class? It just looks silly, and will marginally hurt you in the application process, when considering that virtually every other applicant will have captured multiple perspectives in their LOR's by not choosing recommenders from the same intro-level course. I think it's not a matter of great significance, but it would be better to have a great LOR from class A and a decent one form class B than two great ones from the same f'ing class when you had 39 other ones to choose.

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WonkyPanda
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Re: super quick letter of rec question:

Postby WonkyPanda » Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:00 pm

robotclubmember wrote:
WonkyPanda wrote:
maroonzoon wrote:It will look like you did well in only one class you ever took. Get letters from profs if you can, too. If from a TA, I would see if the prof will co-sign it.


I don't understand how it would look like i did well in only one class. Doesn't the grade speak more about my performance in the class? I always assumed the letter was a more personal interpretation who I am as a student and what my abilities were. Seems kind of dumb to think I didn't do well in a class because I didn't get close with any profs/TAs. UCLA is a pretty large school and getting close with a professor was never my strong suit. Psychology was an extremely overbooked major and felt very impersonal at times unless you did research.... and boy did I loathe research.


Well, considering an average college degree consists of 40 courses or so, and you are seeking to get two letters of recommendation from the same course when you have 39 other ones to choose from, I'm not understanding how you're not understanding his point.

The LOR is to expand upon your items in your application and give insight into your character that would otherwise be unavailable from looking at grades or experience. In other words, they want a unique perspective. You're basically giving them two photos both shot from the same location. Which tells much less about a landscape than say, a photo shot from aerial, and a photo shot the ground. Just an analogy, but the point is, they want LOR's to give different perspectives about your character that you couldn't say for yourself and that your transcripts can't say for you. Why would you get perspective from people who are viewing the same performance, in the same class? It just looks silly, and will marginally hurt you in the application process, when considering that virtually every other applicant will have captured multiple perspectives in their LOR's by not choosing recommenders from the same intro-level course. I think it's not a matter of great significance, but it would be better to have a great LOR from class A and a decent one form class B than two great ones from the same f'ing class when you had 39 other ones to choose.


My assumption was always that 'generic' letters of rec are a dime a dozen and always end up sounding the same. I appreciate the analogy and it makes a lot of sense, but I still have trouble seeing how a 'generic' snapshot is any indication of who I am. It seems that one great LoR and one decent LoR may have to be my avenue, but it seems odd that two great LoRs from the same class would somehow weigh against me when I've always been told that the generic sounding LRs are never a good thing.

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DearCan
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Re: super quick letter of rec question:

Postby DearCan » Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:40 pm

WonkyPanda wrote:
robotclubmember wrote:
WonkyPanda wrote:
maroonzoon wrote:It will look like you did well in only one class you ever took. Get letters from profs if you can, too. If from a TA, I would see if the prof will co-sign it.


I don't understand how it would look like i did well in only one class. Doesn't the grade speak more about my performance in the class? I always assumed the letter was a more personal interpretation who I am as a student and what my abilities were. Seems kind of dumb to think I didn't do well in a class because I didn't get close with any profs/TAs. UCLA is a pretty large school and getting close with a professor was never my strong suit. Psychology was an extremely overbooked major and felt very impersonal at times unless you did research.... and boy did I loathe research.


Well, considering an average college degree consists of 40 courses or so, and you are seeking to get two letters of recommendation from the same course when you have 39 other ones to choose from, I'm not understanding how you're not understanding his point.

The LOR is to expand upon your items in your application and give insight into your character that would otherwise be unavailable from looking at grades or experience. In other words, they want a unique perspective. You're basically giving them two photos both shot from the same location. Which tells much less about a landscape than say, a photo shot from aerial, and a photo shot the ground. Just an analogy, but the point is, they want LOR's to give different perspectives about your character that you couldn't say for yourself and that your transcripts can't say for you. Why would you get perspective from people who are viewing the same performance, in the same class? It just looks silly, and will marginally hurt you in the application process, when considering that virtually every other applicant will have captured multiple perspectives in their LOR's by not choosing recommenders from the same intro-level course. I think it's not a matter of great significance, but it would be better to have a great LOR from class A and a decent one form class B than two great ones from the same f'ing class when you had 39 other ones to choose.


My assumption was always that 'generic' letters of rec are a dime a dozen and always end up sounding the same. I appreciate the analogy and it makes a lot of sense, but I still have trouble seeing how a 'generic' snapshot is any indication of who I am. It seems that one great LoR and one decent LoR may have to be my avenue, but it seems odd that two great LoRs from the same class would somehow weigh against me when I've always been told that the generic sounding LRs are never a good thing.


I think robot is right in the sense that it would be preferable to have two completely different perspectives. Do you not have another option at all? I know I would be hesitant to ask a prof. who probably would only pretend to remember me for an LoR, and I wouldn't take the risk.

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Re: super quick letter of rec question:

Postby WonkyPanda » Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:08 pm

What about a letter from a community college professor that I took about 2 1/2 years ago? She was really cool and I built a good relationship with her. Does the duration of how long I've taken the class carry any weight on it? This would prove to be a better letter than any of my other ucla professors. Thoughts?

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DearCan
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Re: super quick letter of rec question:

Postby DearCan » Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:10 pm

WonkyPanda wrote:What about a letter from a community college professor that I took about 2 1/2 years ago? She was really cool and I built a good relationship with her. Does the duration of how long I've taken the class carry any weight on it? This would prove to be a better letter than any of my other ucla professors. Thoughts?


Use it. There are people 5 years out of UG that can still get good UG LoRs and schools will still find them relevant.

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WonkyPanda
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Re: super quick letter of rec question:

Postby WonkyPanda » Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:27 am

Thanks Dearcan! I'll definitely tap my CC professor then even though it has been about 3 years. My CC was rather small and I became very personal and friendly with most of my professors so getting a good and unique letter shouldn't be an issue. My biggest regret at UCLA was being intimidate by the size of the classes and the 'busyness' that the professors often gave. I know that my law school self will not be anything like this and I will make the grand effort to get to know my professors outside of the class.

Now, my dilemma is do I ask the more recent professor who was really cool and close to me, or do I ask the later professor ( 3 1/2 years) who absolutely loved me and said 'I wish more students were like you.' The nice thing about the later professor is that it was a criminal justice course and she use to be an LAPD detective. For reference, the earlier course was a chem course, but the course that the professor taught seems to be irrelevant.

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DearCan
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Re: super quick letter of rec question:

Postby DearCan » Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:47 am

WonkyPanda wrote:Thanks Dearcan! I'll definitely tap my CC professor then even though it has been about 3 years. My CC was rather small and I became very personal and friendly with most of my professors so getting a good and unique letter shouldn't be an issue. My biggest regret at UCLA was being intimidate by the size of the classes and the 'busyness' that the professors often gave. I know that my law school self will not be anything like this and I will make the grand effort to get to know my professors outside of the class.

Now, my dilemma is do I ask the more recent professor who was really cool and close to me, or do I ask the later professor ( 3 1/2 years) who absolutely loved me and said 'I wish more students were like you.' The nice thing about the later professor is that it was a criminal justice course and she use to be an LAPD detective. For reference, the earlier course was a chem course, but the course that the professor taught seems to be irrelevant.



The course your recommender taught is irrelevant, mostly because law school students don't have to focus on specific courses. An LoR from a professor of engineering can be more persuasive than a Constitutional Law Professor. It's all about how that professor writes about you.

As for the professor dilemma, why not ask both? If a professor ever said "I wish more students were like you" to me I'd either file a sexual harassment suit or keep this person CLOSE. You definitely need to solicit a LoR from this professor.

You've said the other professor also enjoyed you so ask this professor!

Based on how you're presenting things, it seems like you're going to have two very nice LoRs!

Don't hesitate asking further Q's if necessary. :mrgreen:

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WonkyPanda
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Re: super quick letter of rec question:

Postby WonkyPanda » Thu Sep 30, 2010 12:58 am

Thanks Dearcan! You're the best! Only problem is that I already have a strong LoR locked from one of my english professors at UCLA. Asking these others 2 professors would put me over two. If you have more than 2 LoR on the LSAC site, can you choose which ones you want to send? I assume you can because that would be extra lame if you couldn't. Problem is, I can't read what they wrote about me so I wouldn't be too sure which one to use. I guess I could solicit an LoR from both and then just kinda choose which one i want to use as my main with my UCLA one.

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DearCan
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Re: super quick letter of rec question:

Postby DearCan » Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:10 am

WonkyPanda wrote:Thanks Dearcan! You're the best! Only problem is that I already have a strong LoR locked from one of my english professors at UCLA. Asking these others 2 professors would put me over two. If you have more than 2 LoR on the LSAC site, can you choose which ones you want to send? I assume you can because that would be extra lame if you couldn't. Problem is, I can't read what they wrote about me so I wouldn't be too sure which one to use. I guess I could solicit an LoR from both and then just kinda choose which one i want to use as my main with my UCLA one.


Why thank you! :P

You assign these LoRs yourself. If you click on the "LoR / Evaluation" button on your LSAC page it will take you to where you need to be to assign LoRs.

I have three academic LoRs. I'm sending two along with my apps, and saving the third in case of waitlist. Most schools both require and recommend two LoRs and sending more might result in adcomms randomly choosing two and tossing the third aside. Save it, it could be valuable.

As for deciding which LoRs to choose no one can give you concrete advice on this. You have to go with your gut in deciding which LoRs are best.




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