Specific Letters of Recommendation?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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thelawschoolproject
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Specific Letters of Recommendation?

Postby thelawschoolproject » Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:10 pm

When asking your recommenders to write you a LOR, should you ask them to write it specifically about one school, or have them write a general one that you can use at multiple schools? How many specific LORs are too many to ask one person to write? What impression are admissions committees left with when they receive a general LOR?

Any advice you have on this would be most helpful, thanks!

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Specific Letters of Recommendation?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:14 pm

Most LORs are general. Specific ones can be helpful at the top schools (Stanford comes to mind), but they are not necessary. Normally a specific LOR helps when the writer actually has an affiliation with the school.

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Naked Dude
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Re: Specific Letters of Recommendation?

Postby Naked Dude » Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:25 pm

I would recommend a specific letter (one or a few at the most) for your reach schools. Especially if there's a specific program you're interested in. From personal experience they go over very well at SLS and CLS

bp shinners
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Re: Specific Letters of Recommendation?

Postby bp shinners » Tue Aug 30, 2011 12:16 pm

thelawschoolproject wrote:When asking your recommenders to write you a LOR, should you ask them to write it specifically about one school, or have them write a general one that you can use at multiple schools?


I would go in read to ask for a general letter, but if they offer to write a specific letter, jump all over that. They're not required, and a small boost at best, but you might as well take a professor who wants to do extra work for you up on the offer. Especially if they're affiliated with the school.

How many specific LORs are too many to ask one person to write?


I would let them decide that. They'll know how much tailoring they're going to do. The more you ask for, the less chance you have of getting truly unique and tailored LoRs for each school. Focus on getting on to your reach school, or a school to which the professor is affiliated. If they offer to do more, take advantage of it, but don't press your luck.

What impression are admissions committees left with when they receive a general LOR?


I think it's more that they're impressed you were able to get a professor to write a specific/unique LoR than anything about the LoR itself - the professor must have a lot of respect for you if they're willing to go that extra step for you. So it's viewed as a very strong LoR. However, it's still just a LoR. Every bit helps, but this isn't going to get you accepted if you'd otherwise be rejected.

Any advice you have on this would be most helpful, thanks!


Best advice I can give is to go in prepared and don't forget that they're doing you a favor. If you're planning to ask for a school-specific letter, go in with information on the school, programs that you're interested in, your personal statement, etc... all printed out for later reference. Also, be polite and don't push it. If they offer to go the extra step, take them up on that. But don't start asking for more.




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