LOR Question

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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JoseAllDay
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LOR Question

Postby JoseAllDay » Fri Jul 29, 2011 9:35 pm

I have been out of undergrad for 5 years. So getting a letter from a professor is probably not going to happen. I will in fact get two from my boss and the director of my department.

I have stayed in close contact with my boss of an internship I did with NASCAR my senior year of college. Would getting one from him help my chances or would it just seem odd getting one from him and not from a professor from the same time period?
Last edited by JoseAllDay on Sat Jul 30, 2011 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JoseAllDay
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Re: LOR Question

Postby JoseAllDay » Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:59 am

anyone?

thederangedwang
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Re: LOR Question

Postby thederangedwang » Sat Jul 30, 2011 12:45 pm

I really don't know man. This is strictly a personal opinion question that has a wide range of answers. I think your best bet would be to call the admissions office of whatever schools you want to get into and ask them what they think

bp shinners
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Re: LOR Question

Postby bp shinners » Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:11 am

I would strongly recommend that you get into contact with former professors to find at least one to write you an academic letter of recommendation.

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JoseAllDay
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Re: LOR Question

Postby JoseAllDay » Sun Jul 31, 2011 1:03 pm

bp shinners wrote:I would strongly recommend that you get into contact with former professors to find at least one to write you an academic letter of recommendation.


I think your right. I may contact the current chair of the department I graduated from and see if she can give me any assistance in this matter.


Thanks

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Samara
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Re: LOR Question

Postby Samara » Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:20 am

The longer you're out of undergrad, the more understanding adcomms are if you don't have academic letters and five years is a substantial amount of time. This of course varies from school to school. Some of the TLS school profiles speak to this variation, such as Northwestern's emphasis on work experience. If you can get a solid academic letter, that's great, but don't sweat it if you can't. I would think that a strong letter from an employer is better than a wishy-washy letter from a professor you haven't seen in five years.

MumofCad
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Re: LOR Question

Postby MumofCad » Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:53 am

I think you need at least one academic LOR. I've been out 6 years from undergrad so I feel your pain, but many schools explicitly state that they place a higher priority on academic over non-academic LORs. I wouldn't get one from the NASCAR boss because of the timing, as you stated, and the fact that you already have WE covered in other recommendations.

schooner
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Re: LOR Question

Postby schooner » Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:58 am

...
Last edited by schooner on Sun May 03, 2015 12:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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cinephile
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Re: LOR Question

Postby cinephile » Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:08 am

I was four years out of undergrad when I contacted my old professors. One had even moved to another university, but I tracked her down. They all claimed to still remember me, but of course I refreshed their memory by sending them relevant info (transcripts, papers I had written for them) so they would have something to mention in the LOR.

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skw
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Re: LOR Question

Postby skw » Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:57 am

I am 12 years out of undergrad and so I did not submit academic LORs and used 2 work related references. Both were from executives with direct knowledge of my WE. I was accepted at Carolina (which was my #1 choice for location reasons) and the lack of an academic LOR was not an issue. Honestly I didn't even consider trying to obtain one as what I have done in my career overshadows anything from undergrad so long ago.

MumofCad
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Re: LOR Question

Postby MumofCad » Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:59 am

schooner wrote:
Samara wrote:I would think that a strong letter from an employer is better than a wishy-washy letter from a professor you haven't seen in five years.


It'd be especially helpful if that letter from an employer can attest to your brainpower, not just your softs.

If you have both types of letters, and the adcoms place a higher priority on the academic one, wouldn't that lukewarm letter from a professor hurt your app more than it helps?


The idea would be not to settle for a lukewarm academic recommendation. Just because a professor doesn't initially remember the candidate, some legwork and follow-up should give them something meaningful to say.

I would also wonder where you are looking at applying OP? Your non-academic letters might suffice at schools as you go down the ranks. I think the academic cred is most important at the top, with Yale having the most clear statement about their preference for academic LORs over others.
Last edited by MumofCad on Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Samara
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Re: LOR Question

Postby Samara » Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:27 pm

MumofCad wrote:
schooner wrote:
Samara wrote:I would think that a strong letter from an employer is better than a wishy-washy letter from a professor you haven't seen in five years.


It'd be especially helpful if that letter from an employer can attest to your brainpower, not just your softs.

If you have both types of letters, and the adcoms place a higher priority on the academic one, wouldn't that lukewarm letter from a professor hurt your app more than it helps?


The idea would be not to settle for a lukewarm academic recommendation. Just because a professor doesn't initially remember the candidate, some legwork and follow-up should give them something meaningful to say.

I would also wonder where you are looking at applying OP? You non-academic letters might suffice at schools as you go down the ranks. I think the academic cred is most important at the top, with Yale having the most clear statement about their preference for academic LORs over others.

Yes, as I said, a strong academic letter is better but it's not the end of the world if it can't happen or if it would be vague. Based on the OP's post history, OP is looking at Northwestern as his best shot at the T14. For NU, the work-related letter would likely be stronger. For other target schools lower on the rankings, it's my understanding that academic letters are less important. I'm with schooner here, you have to balance the risk of a detriment from a weak academic letter with the certainty of a strong employer letter. In this particular situation, I'm leaning towards employer letter as the credited response.

I'm sure the OP would love for someone with more experience than I (such as skw earlier) to weigh in. 12 years is obviously a lot more than five, but I think once you hit five years out and/or age 30, it's all about the same, at least from a LOR perspective.

MumofCad
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Re: LOR Question

Postby MumofCad » Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:56 pm

Samara wrote:Yes, as I said, a strong academic letter is better but it's not the end of the world if it can't happen or if it would be vague. Based on the OP's post history, OP is looking at Northwestern as his best shot at the T14. For NU, the work-related letter would likely be stronger. For other target schools lower on the rankings, it's my understanding that academic letters are less important. I'm with schooner here, you have to balance the risk of a detriment from a weak academic letter with the certainty of a strong employer letter. In this particular situation, I'm leaning towards employer letter as the credited response.

I'm sure the OP would love for someone with more experience than I (such as skw earlier) to weigh in. 12 years is obviously a lot more than five, but I think once you hit five years out and/or age 30, it's all about the same, at least from a LOR perspective.


For sure, but I am looking at the fact that he already has 2 professional LORs. Will a 3rd from an internship 5 years ago be worth the effort? I doubt it. May they wonder why he made more of an impression on this person, but not on his academic stewards at the time? Possible. Better to try and re-connect with a professor and see if he can get a good letter from one of them. I think it can be surprising how much prof's remember their students. Certainly worth the work if he can add one to his already strong LORs from recent work.

As has been stated though, he probably won't need either for his target schools. He may increase his odds at reaches though with an academic rec added. I'm no expert, but it seems logical to me.

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JoseAllDay
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Re: LOR Question

Postby JoseAllDay » Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:27 pm

Samara wrote:
MumofCad wrote:
schooner wrote:
Samara wrote:I would think that a strong letter from an employer is better than a wishy-washy letter from a professor you haven't seen in five years.


It'd be especially helpful if that letter from an employer can attest to your brainpower, not just your softs.

If you have both types of letters, and the adcoms place a higher priority on the academic one, wouldn't that lukewarm letter from a professor hurt your app more than it helps?


The idea would be not to settle for a lukewarm academic recommendation. Just because a professor doesn't initially remember the candidate, some legwork and follow-up should give them something meaningful to say.

I would also wonder where you are looking at applying OP? You non-academic letters might suffice at schools as you go down the ranks. I think the academic cred is most important at the top, with Yale having the most clear statement about their preference for academic LORs over others.

Yes, as I said, a strong academic letter is better but it's not the end of the world if it can't happen or if it would be vague. Based on the OP's post history, OP is looking at Northwestern as his best shot at the T14. For NU, the work-related letter would likely be stronger. For other target schools lower on the rankings, it's my understanding that academic letters are less important. I'm with schooner here, you have to balance the risk of a detriment from a weak academic letter with the certainty of a strong employer letter. In this particular situation, I'm leaning towards employer letter as the credited response.

I'm sure the OP would love for someone with more experience than I (such as skw earlier) to weigh in. 12 years is obviously a lot more than five, but I think once you hit five years out and/or age 30, it's all about the same, at least from a LOR perspective.


These are all great responses.

I plan on applying to :

Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology
DePaul University College of Law
Drake University Law School
University of Illinois, College of Law
Indiana University Maurer School of Law--Bloomington
Loyola University Chicago School of Law
University of Maine School of Law
University of Nebraska College of Law
Northwestern University School of Law
University of Tennessee College of Law
University of Kansas
St Thomas
Indiana University Maurer School of Law--Indy
University of New Hampshire

I hope this will give you all more insight into my situation.

Thanks




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