No Academic LOR

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
BeirutExpat
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No Academic LOR

Postby BeirutExpat » Fri May 20, 2011 10:38 am

Hello

I plan on applying to law school in the spring of 2012, at which point I would have been out of undergrad for 5 years. Since then I have worked abroad in the Middle East, and only would probably only be able to get LORs from my bosses (at an NGO and another job).

I would like to know if anyone has been in a similar position to me and still gotten into a T-14 school. I am interested in UVA and Georgetown. I searched the topic on the forum, but the archives do not provide that many clear-cut opinions.

For other info, I graduated from GW with a 3.96 GPA and my LSAT practices have all been 170+.

I have been thinking of asking for an LOR from a professor at GW I had many years ago for a senior thesis class, but I am unsure if he will remember me. It would not hurt to e-mail him I guess with a copy of my paper, but I worry I would get a worse recommendation than my more recent references.

BeirutExpat
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Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 10:33 am

Re: No Academic LOR

Postby BeirutExpat » Fri May 20, 2011 10:49 am

Note: I mean reapply next year, not in Spring.

aliarrow
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Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:08 pm

Re: No Academic LOR

Postby aliarrow » Fri May 20, 2011 10:59 am

Definitely try emailing your old professors. Just explain your situation and the importance of Academic LORs, and that you'd be willing to sit with them (if possible) and go over your credentials. Mention your thesis, grade in class(es), that you enjoyed working with/learning from them, etc.

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fundamentallybroken
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Re: No Academic LOR

Postby fundamentallybroken » Fri May 20, 2011 11:08 am

I'm not T14, but was in a similar situation to you - out of UG for many years, and didn't have any contact with any of my old profs.

I got one from a governor appointed state official (the head of my organization), one from her deputy (my boss), and one from an AAG who I had closely worked a few cases with. Did not have an issue at all.

Capitol A
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Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:23 pm

Re: No Academic LOR

Postby Capitol A » Fri May 20, 2011 11:13 am

BeirutExpat wrote:Hello

I plan on applying to law school in the spring of 2012, at which point I would have been out of undergrad for 5 years. Since then I have worked abroad in the Middle East, and only would probably only be able to get LORs from my bosses (at an NGO and another job).

I would like to know if anyone has been in a similar position to me and still gotten into a T-14 school. I am interested in UVA and Georgetown. I searched the topic on the forum, but the archives do not provide that many clear-cut opinions.

For other info, I graduated from GW with a 3.96 GPA and my LSAT practices have all been 170+.

I have been thinking of asking for an LOR from a professor at GW I had many years ago for a senior thesis class, but I am unsure if he will remember me. It would not hurt to e-mail him I guess with a copy of my paper, but I worry I would get a worse recommendation than my more recent references.

From everything that I have heard/read it is more important to have strong, personal LORs than it is to have LORs from anyone in particular (including professors).
My personal experience-I have been out of UG for 7yrs, and had my LORs written by my current boss and a former boss. The letters were written like they knew me well and truly believed what they were writing, because they did. I think this is stronger than having to remind some professor of who I am so that they can pull out their recommendation template and put my name into it.
My cycle went exactly the way my numbers predicted it would, so maybe that's an indication that a stronger letter would have helped, or maybe it's an indication that the letters don't matter.
There is a prominent elected official who attends the same Church that I do, and another one who I have met a couple times through my job, and I considered asking one of them for a letter. An AdComm who I spoke to prior to applying reccomended against this. The rationale was that even though these individuals' names would be really eye catching they didn't know me nearly as well as people who I had been working with side by side for the past 7 years, and thus their letters would be less compelling. I think the same can likely be said about going back to a professor from 5yrs ago.
I would retract all of the above however, if either of the following are true: (1)You email your professor and (s)he responds by saying, "yeah, I remember you. I loved your thesis. its great to hear from you." (2)The school to which you are applying requires or strongly prefers an academic LOR

sarahh
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Re: No Academic LOR

Postby sarahh » Fri May 20, 2011 12:41 pm

I was in a similar situation as you, and I got a LOR from my old thesis advisor. I just sent him the thesis again. It probably was not the best LOR since I was not his student recently, but I don't think it hurt me. Schools like academic LORs, so I think it is worth the effort to try to get one, but since you have been out of school for so long, it probably won't be a big deal if you can't. Yale is the only school I know of that has said they want academic LORs regardless of how long ago you graduated.

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BackToTheOldHouse
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Re: No Academic LOR

Postby BackToTheOldHouse » Fri May 20, 2011 12:53 pm

Out of undergrad for 7 years and out of grad school (M.A) for 4 years and didn't submit an academic LOR. I had one from a former boss that writes killer LOR's (he prides himself in doing this) and another from a peer/boss (chain of command was hard to delineate). I made it into two T14s and was waitlisted at several more.

My take away--if your experience is unique/different, an academic LOR is not essential. At least one really amazing LOR, however, is.

BeirutExpat
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Joined: Fri May 20, 2011 10:33 am

Re: No Academic LOR

Postby BeirutExpat » Fri May 20, 2011 1:24 pm

Thanks for the feedback guys! :) I think I'm more stressed out about the LORs then the LSAT, and that has me pretty stressed!

I figure even 1 mediocre/standard template letter from a professor that remembers me as well as 2 letters from supervisors will be the best option. If I can't get it from a professor, than hell, that's life.

I didn't think even about going to law school until I was at least 2 years out of undergrad, so I envy the guys in undergrad that are already set on it and figuring out everything.

Then again, I learned that thinking you have everything figured out in undergrad (or even years afterward) can be a folly, and you could just as easily want to switch career tracks.

joemkirch
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Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:09 am

Re: No Academic LOR

Postby joemkirch » Fri May 20, 2011 1:28 pm

I have been out of school for a couple years and still contacted a professor who was super willing to write one. We exchanged a few emails about my goals, how she was going to write a nice letter, etc. Then she disappeared in the dark of the night. Since I live nowhere near the school, I emailed, called her office and department multiple times (over the course of at least two months). No word whatsoever. Upon giving up on her, I desperately opted for someone who knew me on a more personal level who was willing to write me a LOR. My cycle still went according to what my numbers would suggest.

bmili
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Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:21 pm

Re: No Academic LOR

Postby bmili » Fri May 20, 2011 1:51 pm

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Last edited by bmili on Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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rinkrat19
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Re: No Academic LOR

Postby rinkrat19 » Fri May 20, 2011 3:12 pm

I'm 8 years out of UG and I applied with no academic LORs because there's no way my professors would have any memory of me, even if I could remember any of their names to ask them. I didn't blanket the T14, but got into Northwestern with a much lower GPA than you did (3.56). With that GPA, an LSAT in your practice range, a good essay and solid LORs from your bosses, I'd be surprised if you didn't get into several (if not most) of #7-14.

bdubs
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Re: No Academic LOR

Postby bdubs » Fri May 20, 2011 3:20 pm

If you score in the YHS range, you might have trouble at Y and S without academic LORs. Are any of your policy/NGO coworkers also professors?

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cinephile
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Re: No Academic LOR

Postby cinephile » Fri May 20, 2011 3:32 pm

5 years out of undergrad isn't that long. I'm 4 years out and I contacted old professors who really liked my work and, luckily, they still remembered me. With those professors, I attached copies of papers I had written for them, a resume, and an explanation of why I was going from a film major into law. Contacting your thesis advisor sounds like a good idea. Best of luck!




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