A letter of recommendation

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
hazelnutpark
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A letter of recommendation

Postby hazelnutpark » Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:23 pm

Hi, I'm currently in graduate school in biomedical sciences and planning to apply to law school this fall. I have a question regarding my letter of recommendation. One will come from my current mentor, but, for the second letter, I wasn't sure if it is better to ask an undergraduate pre-law professor whose class I took 5 years ago, or another faculty from my current department.
I got to know the undergraduate professor fairly well but I haven't kept in touch with him.
Any advice would be helpful. Thanks.

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JenDarby
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Re: A letter of recommendation

Postby JenDarby » Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:56 pm

hazelnutpark wrote:Hi, I'm currently in graduate school in biomedical sciences and planning to apply to law school this fall. I have a question regarding my letter of recommendation. One will come from my current mentor, but, for the second letter, I wasn't sure if it is better to ask an undergraduate pre-law professor whose class I took 5 years ago, or another faculty from my current department.
I got to know the undergraduate professor fairly well but I haven't kept in touch with him.
Any advice would be helpful. Thanks.

I would select the professor that can best speak to your specific academic capabilities, in relation to other students and in general, which I imagine will be someone from your graduate school. It is not as importnat to have a UG LOR if you are far removed and have another more appropriate academic reference.

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JamMasterJ
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Re: A letter of recommendation

Postby JamMasterJ » Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:01 pm

JenDarby wrote:
hazelnutpark wrote:Hi, I'm currently in graduate school in biomedical sciences and planning to apply to law school this fall. I have a question regarding my letter of recommendation. One will come from my current mentor, but, for the second letter, I wasn't sure if it is better to ask an undergraduate pre-law professor whose class I took 5 years ago, or another faculty from my current department.
I got to know the undergraduate professor fairly well but I haven't kept in touch with him.
Any advice would be helpful. Thanks.

I would select the professor that can best speak to your specific academic capabilities, in relation to other students and in general, which I imagine will be someone from your graduate school. It is not as importnat to have a UG LOR if you are far removed and have another more appropriate academic reference.

this. Choose whoever knows you better. It shows

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Samara
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Re: A letter of recommendation

Postby Samara » Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:50 pm

So, related question. Say you've been out of UG for a few years and a UG LOR is out of the question. Let's further say that you could get three work-related LORs and two graduate school-related LORs. What combination is best? The consensus seems to be that three is the best number overall, but should it be 1 work, 2 grad school or 2 work, 1 grad school? Would submitting four still be bad? I'd still have the fifth for a LOCI.

ETA: Not to get too complicated, but consider the three work-related LORs as for different jobs.

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acrossthelake
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Re: A letter of recommendation

Postby acrossthelake » Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:06 pm

Academic>Work.
Grad school counts here.

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JenDarby
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Re: A letter of recommendation

Postby JenDarby » Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:09 pm

I would only submit 3 (I submitted 2 to every school) and save 1 in case you get waitlisted and want to provide extra materials at that point.

As far as whether you should submit 2 grad school or 2 work LORs largely depends on the quality of each. I would lean towards two academic LORs personally, but I would place the biggest weight on which provided the most personal and comparative acknowledgment of your abilities and propensity to succeed in LS.

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Samara
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Re: A letter of recommendation

Postby Samara » Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:22 pm

Thanks for the advice! Good to know that I'm not SOL for academic letters.

Why is it that four is not recommended though? If I can submit four and still have one left over, why would that be a bad idea? 2 work and 2 academic seems like a good balance for someone with four years of WE and four years of total school.

acrossthelake
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Re: A letter of recommendation

Postby acrossthelake » Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:25 pm

Samara wrote:Thanks for the advice! Good to know that I'm not SOL for academic letters.

Why is it that four is not recommended though? If I can submit four and still have one left over, why would that be a bad idea? 2 work and 2 academic seems like a good balance for someone with four years of WE and four years of total school.


They don't want to read even more and at some point, it's sort of redundant. I know if I were an admissions officer I'd be annoyed.

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JenDarby
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Re: A letter of recommendation

Postby JenDarby » Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:27 pm

Samara wrote:Thanks for the advice! Good to know that I'm not SOL for academic letters.

Why is it that four is not recommended though? If I can submit four and still have one left over, why would that be a bad idea? 2 work and 2 academic seems like a good balance for someone with four years of WE and four years of total school.

I didn't mean to imply it's not recommended. To me it just seems like 4 might be a bit over kill. I would want to select the best ones rather than drown the admissions committees in letters of personal praise since they do have quite a few apps and LORs to review.

(I don't purport to be an authority on LORs as I didn't even have the consideration of submitting 4 valuable ones.)

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Samara
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Re: A letter of recommendation

Postby Samara » Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:35 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
Samara wrote:Thanks for the advice! Good to know that I'm not SOL for academic letters.

Why is it that four is not recommended though? If I can submit four and still have one left over, why would that be a bad idea? 2 work and 2 academic seems like a good balance for someone with four years of WE and four years of total school.


They don't want to read even more and at some point, it's sort of redundant. I know if I were an admissions officer I'd be annoyed.

Hmm...okay. ITT: a splitter is sad that one area of success in life can't be capitalized on more. It's too bad I can't let them know they're there if they want to read them without submitting them. Like give them the choice if they want the extra ones. I mean, why would they say you can submit four if four would be annoying? Ugh, this whole process is so unnecessarily opaque. At least I have TLS.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: A letter of recommendation

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:39 pm

I'll be submitting exactly zero academic LORs with my apps, so we'll see what effect that has. I'm not too worried.
Last edited by Tiago Splitter on Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

acrossthelake
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Re: A letter of recommendation

Postby acrossthelake » Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:09 pm

Samara wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:
Samara wrote:Thanks for the advice! Good to know that I'm not SOL for academic letters.

Why is it that four is not recommended though? If I can submit four and still have one left over, why would that be a bad idea? 2 work and 2 academic seems like a good balance for someone with four years of WE and four years of total school.


They don't want to read even more and at some point, it's sort of redundant. I know if I were an admissions officer I'd be annoyed.

Hmm...okay. ITT: a splitter is sad that one area of success in life can't be capitalized on more. It's too bad I can't let them know they're there if they want to read them without submitting them. Like give them the choice if they want the extra ones. I mean, why would they say you can submit four if four would be annoying? Ugh, this whole process is so unnecessarily opaque. At least I have TLS.


Because in general, people are going to be redundant, but maybe there's really something special to add. They leave the option--doesn't man you should take the option. Think of a list of positive adjective take-aways one might get from a LOR--do you really think the 4th is going to add something that the first three won't? If I were you, I'd send in two academic LORs and a work LOR, and save the second work LOR in case you get waitlisted or deferred. Exception: Northwestern really loves work experience, so I think you're better off sending work LOR there over academic.




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