letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
senorhosh
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letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

Postby senorhosh » Sun Jun 19, 2011 5:37 am

I'm not sure how to get a great letter of rec.

1. I usually don't go to office hours
2. Even if I did go, how would the professor even recognize me for a LOR?


Do I just go to a professor who gave me an A and ask for a LOR?
I had to get an LOR for a scholarship last year. I went to a professor that gave me an A+. I went to his office hours a couple times during the quarter. But he didn't remember me so I had to pull the whole "make the professor feel bad for not remembering me". He wrote me a letter and I didn't get the scholarship (guessing the letter was lukewarm)

How do I get a strong lor?

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omninode
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Re: letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

Postby omninode » Sun Jun 19, 2011 5:45 am

I'm curious about this as well...

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cinephile
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Re: letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

Postby cinephile » Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:37 am

Take a small seminar. Participate in class. For those profs who don't remember you personally, how about bringing a copy of your work with you? At least then they could talk about your writing skills, etc.

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minnbills
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Re: letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

Postby minnbills » Sun Jun 19, 2011 2:45 pm

Do you have any professors who know you personally? It would be better to choose someone, IMO, who can genuinely speak about you but who didn't give you an A than someone who doesn't know you but gave you an A.

If you haven't developed rapport with a professor yet, and there is still time before you apply, I would recommend enrolling in a smaller class that really appeals to you, and making an effort to go to office hours, speak after class to the prof, and distinguish yourself in discussions.

If there isn't enough time, and you don't know anyone well, then you're between a rock and a hard place.

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Dany
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Re: letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

Postby Dany » Sun Jun 19, 2011 3:06 pm

If you really have no one who knows you, you have to be sure to give the professor you're asking what they need to write it. Make a packet with papers and your best work from their class, your resume, why you're going to law school (preferably in a letter included with the other stuff so they'll have it to reference), your transcript, stuff like that. Meet with them and talk through it, and if you give off a good impression with all your materials and in person, you'll likely be able to get a decent letter. You'll be surprised how far being organized, on-the-ball, and helpful to them will get you.

That said, if it's still a while before you apply, MEET PROFESSORS. Go to office hours, do extra projects, email them neat things that relate to class. A letter will be so much better if the person knows you and wants you to get in, making them more likely to write a glowing letter.

Also, look for places you can get non-professor letters. I got one from my academic advisor who knew me extremely well, but he wasn't a professor and never saw me in a classroom setting. This was probably the best letter of my three. I also got one from my boss. If you don't know professors well, while you need to get at least one prof LOR, you can get creative with the other recommenders.

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fatduck
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Re: letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

Postby fatduck » Sun Jun 19, 2011 3:22 pm

whatever you do, avoid any situation where you might have to talk to another human being face to face

071816
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Re: letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

Postby 071816 » Sun Jun 19, 2011 3:30 pm

Assuming you are still in undergrad:

1. Start going to office hours and actually talk with a few of your favorite professors
2. Volunteer intelligently in class/make sure the professor at least knows your face
3. Do well in the classes where you did #1 and #2
4. Ask for the letter in a tactful way (preferably in person/in office hours or via email to set up an in-person meeting)
5. Make the process easy for your recommender by giving them all relevant documentation/info up-front (so they don't have to ask you for it)


#1-5 will make the process easy and you will find that most (if not all) professors expect students to ask for LORs and are really nice about it. Just make sure you actually form somewhat of a relationship with the professor and don't just ask for the letter out of the clear blue sky when they have no fucking idea who you are (even if you aced their class).

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Wade LeBosh
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Re: letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

Postby Wade LeBosh » Sun Jun 19, 2011 3:45 pm

I'm a music major, would it be appropriate to ask my private instrument instructor for one of my recs of the other one was from a history class? We have A LOT of 1-on-1 time and it's a graded class. Or would a music theory teacher rec be more appropriate because that's an academic class?

BTW, when you go to a professors office hours... what on Earth do you talk about?

071816
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Re: letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

Postby 071816 » Sun Jun 19, 2011 3:47 pm

Wade LeBosh wrote:I'm a music major, would it be appropriate to ask my private instrument instructor for one of my recs of the other one was from a history class? We have A LOT of 1-on-1 time and it's a graded class. Or would a music theory teacher rec be more appropriate because that's an academic class?

BTW, when you go to a professors office hours... what on Earth do you talk about?


Not too sure about the first part, but when you go to office hours discuss the class. Come to office hours with a series of intelligent questions in order to clarify something in the class you aren't sure about. These questions will likely turn into a pleasant dialogue (unless your prof is a dbag, in which case you may not want a LOR from this person anyway).

Edited for clarity.

Hedwig
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Re: letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

Postby Hedwig » Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:39 pm

Wade LeBosh wrote:I'm a music major, would it be appropriate to ask my private instrument instructor for one of my recs of the other one was from a history class? We have A LOT of 1-on-1 time and it's a graded class. Or would a music theory teacher rec be more appropriate because that's an academic class?

BTW, when you go to a professors office hours... what on Earth do you talk about?


As an English major/Greek and Roman studies minor, I've always gone to discuss topics for papers and outlines for papers. For example, if you are supposed to choose a topic and run it by the professor, go to their office hours to discuss the topic instead of doing it by email.

Not sure what you'd discuss as a music major, but it sounds like this instrument teacher can speak to your dedication/determination, all other things you need for learning an instrument. If you're already getting one regarding your academic performance, I think the instrument teacher one, since it is a graded class and it sounds like he/she knows you very well, would be fine. Just make sure she/he talks about aspects that relate to you being good in law school, not how beautifully you play your instrument.

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westinghouse60
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Re: letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

Postby westinghouse60 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:02 pm

If I get an LOR, do I have to use it? Stupid/weird question but I know I need 2, should I ask a professor whose class I'm taking now for a LOR now while I'll be more familiar to him? I've been in his class/spoken up in it every day for the past month, so I know he'll likely only remember me less from here on out (final is tomorrow, and by the way, this is the same professor who I made a thread about earlier not remembering my name, but now I've come to the realization he does know me, if anyone remembered that). My plan would be get his LOR, then one from another professor I'm certain of, then see how things pan out with other professors I've had.

Or is this a total asshole thing to do? Would he even know if I used it?

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Dany
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Re: letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

Postby Dany » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:05 pm

westinghouse60 wrote:If I get an LOR, do I have to use it? Stupid/weird question but I know I need 2, should I ask a professor whose class I'm taking now for a LOR now while I'll be more familiar to him? I've been in his class/spoken up in it every day for the past month, so I know he'll likely only remember me less from here on out (final is tomorrow, and by the way, this is the same professor who I made a thread about earlier not remembering my name, but now I've come to the realization he does know me, if anyone remembered that). My plan would be get his LOR, then one from another professor I'm certain of, then see how things pan out with other professors I've had.

Or is this a total asshole thing to do? Would he even know if I used it?

You do not have to use it. Professors simply send it to LSAC, and you assign whatever letters you want to the different schools. There is absolutely no way he would know if you send it to a school or not.

And I would definitely ask him. The letter can be a backup (in case other professors aren't able to) or something you can send to a school you're waitlisted at.

071816
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Re: letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

Postby 071816 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:06 pm

westinghouse60 wrote:If I get an LOR, do I have to use it? Stupid/weird question but I know I need 2, should I ask a professor whose class I'm taking now for a LOR now while I'll be more familiar to him? I've been in his class/spoken up in it every day for the past month, so I know he'll likely only remember me less from here on out (final is tomorrow, and by the way, this is the same professor who I made a thread about earlier not remembering my name, but now I've come to the realization he does know me, if anyone remembered that). My plan would be get his LOR, then one from another professor I'm certain of, then see how things pan out with other professors I've had.

Or is this a total asshole thing to do? Would he even know if I used it?


You wouldn't have to use it and your professor wouldn't ever know unless you specifically told him. Just because a LOR has been submitted to LSAC doesn't mean you have to use it.

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dr123
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Re: letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

Postby dr123 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:08 pm

If you're truly lazy just ask some random professors. A lot of them have cut/past LORs they use.

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westinghouse60
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Re: letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

Postby westinghouse60 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:12 pm

Dany wrote:You do not have to use it. Professors simply send it to LSAC, and you assign whatever letters you want to the different schools. There is absolutely no way he would know if you send it to a school or not.

And I would definitely ask him. The letter can be a backup (in case other professors aren't able to) or something you can send to a school you're waitlisted at.

chimp wrote:
You wouldn't have to use it and your professor wouldn't ever know unless you specifically told him. Just because a LOR has been submitted to LSAC doesn't mean you have to use it.


Awesome, thanks for the replies.

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TheKingintheNorth
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Re: letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

Postby TheKingintheNorth » Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:06 am

dr123 wrote:If you're truly lazy just ask some random professors. A lot of them have cut/past LORs they use.


Both of mine did, and both new me quite well on a first name basis.

In fact, the one's who really care are probably wise enough to know exactly what AdComms want (best student, strong writing skills, sought out difficult subjects and coursework, above and beyond blah blah) and have one already typed out for their fav students.


That said, how do you go to office hours and still have someone not remember you? I doubt that you're especially unrememberable, so it's probably a situation he or she runs into all the time. Don't feel bad asking for in any case.

bartleby
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Re: letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

Postby bartleby » Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:41 pm

i think it's easier for liberal arts majors to secure LORs cause classes are often discussion based, whatever. might be harder for those hard science kids. as someone suggested, if you are truly desperate, email a bunch of professors you've taken to go in for office hours to talk about grad school and then basically beg them for a cookie cutter LOR (explain your situation, how you need an academic rec for law school and have no one else to turn to)...

i think a strong letter of recommendation can help your application but not by much. at the same time, i think a ton of students get cookie cutter LORs even when they are fairly "tight" with their profs.

edit: i said this last line because a professor i took two classes with, was close with - she asked me to write her a LOR for some stupid award - told me after i updated her on my law school choice that she didn't know i was applying for ls and wrote my LOR for grad school / phd program in english. i'm still kinda pissed about that.

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Dany
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Re: letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

Postby Dany » Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:49 pm

bartleby wrote:then basically beg them for a cookie cutter LOR (explain your situation, how you need an academic rec for law school and have no one else to turn to)...

Do not do this.

bartleby
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Re: letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

Postby bartleby » Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:53 pm

Dany wrote:
bartleby wrote:then basically beg them for a cookie cutter LOR (explain your situation, how you need an academic rec for law school and have no one else to turn to)...

Do not do this.


not even as a last, desperate play?

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pleasetryagain
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Re: letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

Postby pleasetryagain » Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:01 pm

fatduck wrote:whatever you do, avoid any situation where you might have to talk to another human being face to face


:lol: :lol:

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minnbills
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Re: letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

Postby minnbills » Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:20 pm

bartleby wrote:
Dany wrote:
bartleby wrote:then basically beg them for a cookie cutter LOR (explain your situation, how you need an academic rec for law school and have no one else to turn to)...

Do not do this.


not even as a last, desperate play?


I think you'd be more likely to get a yes if you just asked them normally.

When I went in to ask my two profs I was really anxious about it, turned out to be no big deal. Most professors write at least a few letters a year.

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Dany
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Re: letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

Postby Dany » Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:40 pm

bartleby wrote:
Dany wrote:
bartleby wrote:then basically beg them for a cookie cutter LOR (explain your situation, how you need an academic rec for law school and have no one else to turn to)...

Do not do this.

not even as a last, desperate play?

If you are having to get a letter from someone who doesn't know you that well, you need to be impressive in your limited interactions with them. Begging, making excuses, and telling them that you have no one else who could write a letter makes you look like a student who, for lack of better words, doesn't have his shit together. For the record, I had to do this. I needed another LOR and ended up getting it from a prof I only had one class with (outside my major). I met with her, talked about law school, and gave her absolutely everything she'd need to write a great letter. This included work from her class including the grades I got on the assignments, my resume, a letter to her to keep on hand thanking her for writing it and remind her of the date I needed it by, my transcript, and the LSAC form all in a neat folder. It sucks having to get one from someone you're not close to, but if you do it right, you can make a great impression and get a good letter. For what it's worth, she called the packet of info I gave her the absolute most helpful thing a student had done while asking for a recommendation and that it reflected really well on me.

TL;DR - If you have your shit together, profs want to help you. Don't underestimate how many slacker students they have to deal with.

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vpintz
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Re: letter of rec. HOW TO GET?

Postby vpintz » Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:58 pm

bartleby wrote:i think it's easier for liberal arts majors to secure LORs cause classes are often discussion based, whatever. might be harder for those hard science kids.


thiiiiiis. I took a lot of science classes (at my college, psych is taught in the same manner as science classes), so I ended up being screwed over for LORs until I ended up taking a crapton of poli sci/literature classes.




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