Rec letter from senator

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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Mr. Pancakes
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Rec letter from senator

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Wed Dec 14, 2011 3:58 pm

I did a summer internship for a Senator and I am having him write me a rec letter. Well, the guy still has sent my letter. I called him today and they said they will be sending it "soon". How much weight would a letter like this carry? I have two semi-decent letters already, one from my poli sci professor and another from an employer. Should I hold off my apps until I get this letter in? I have called three times and I am starting to get worried.

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eminem
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Re: Rec letter from senator

Postby eminem » Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:02 pm

Did you work directly for the Senator? Are you expecting a strong letter, or something generic? Unless he has personal knowledge of your intelligence, work ethic, ect, I'm not sure how much value the letter would add to your application.

justinp
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Re: Rec letter from senator

Postby justinp » Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:06 pm

Ironically, this is one of the things that nearly every admissions book on any subject (undergrad, law school, grad programs, etc.) VERY SPECIFICALLY recommends against.

Unless your program was EXTREMELY unique and you worked with the Senator directly on a near-daily basis, this letter is worse than useless-- it'll be a generic form letter that makes it obvious that the person doesn't know you at all. I'd advise against sending it-- it pegs you as the kind of person who doesn't even care enough to read the dozens of sources (many of which are admissions directors themselves) advising against the 'prestigious person who I don't actually know' letter of rec.

kaiser
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Re: Rec letter from senator

Postby kaiser » Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:10 pm

I would imagine that some of the worst letters come from some of the biggest names in the highest positions. You want your letter to be from someone who is very close with you such that they know all about you. Your recs aren't being judged by the name of the reviewer, but by the words the reviewer actually writes. This would only be a good idea if the senator you worked for can truly speak to your talents and abilities in a very personal and illuminating way. Submitting a letter just to have his name on the page is worthless.

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introversional
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Re: Rec letter from senator

Postby introversional » Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:11 pm

The dean of my LS has even said letters of rec from senators, congressmen, etc, are almost worthless, and he's actually become increasingly annoyed by them. As the poster above indicated, if you didn't do something substantial for this person, and he or she doesn't know you well enough to expound upon your traits, skills, abilities, etc, then it's not going to carry any weight. It might actually hurt you. No one likes a name dropper who purports to have done relevant, impactful work when in fact you stuffed letters or cold called people/constituents to donate money.

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: Rec letter from senator

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:12 pm

justinp wrote:Ironically, this is one of the things that nearly every admissions book on any subject (undergrad, law school, grad programs, etc.) VERY SPECIFICALLY recommends against.

Unless your program was EXTREMELY unique and you worked with the Senator directly on a near-daily basis, this letter is worse than useless-- it'll be a generic form letter that makes it obvious that the person doesn't know you at all. I'd advise against sending it-- it pegs you as the kind of person who doesn't even care enough to read the dozens of sources (many of which are admissions directors themselves) advising against the 'prestigious person who I don't actually know' letter of rec.


I know what the letter would look like. I use to write them. :lol:
Thanks for the advice.

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TommyK
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Re: Rec letter from senator

Postby TommyK » Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:17 pm

Yeah, at this point, 2 weeks earlier of an app without a 3rd LOR regardless of quality > 2 weeks later of an app with a great 3rd LOR. Kind of getting to that point in the cycle that while it's not too late to apply, it's certainly not early either. just get in there.

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danielhay11
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Re: Rec letter from senator

Postby danielhay11 » Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:36 pm

FWIW: I used to be a congressional staffer, and I still didn't ask my congressman to write a LOR for exactly the reasons explained above. I asked his chief of staff because (a) she could speak more directly to my traits, talents, and responsibilities, and (b) because adcomms wouldn't ignore it as self-important BS. Assuming I'm right (and everything I've read says I am), it's that much more imprudent for an intern to ask a Rep/Sen for a LOR.

I would advise you go back and ask instead that whatever LA/LC/SA you worked most closely with write the letter instead.

EDIT: On second thought, what TommyK said. Even if the letter was mailed tomorrow, it would delay your apps a week (maybe longer) just because of the LSAC processing time. And I think LSAC is closed from Christmas to New Years, so unless the letter gets to them by week's end, you apps won't go out until January. Plus, you can always add a LOR after you have submitted your app.

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: Rec letter from senator

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:48 pm

danielhay11 wrote:FWIW: I used to be a congressional staffer, and I still didn't ask my congressman to write a LOR for exactly the reasons explained above. I asked his chief of staff because (a) she could speak more directly to my traits, talents, and responsibilities, and (b) because adcomms wouldn't ignore it as self-important BS. Assuming I'm right (and everything I've read says I am), it's that much more imprudent for an intern to ask a Rep/Sen for a LOR.

I would advise you go back and ask instead that whatever LA/LC/SA you worked most closely with write the letter instead.

EDIT: On second thought, what TommyK said. Even if the letter was mailed tomorrow, it would delay your apps a week (maybe longer) just because of the LSAC processing time. And I think LSAC is closed from Christmas to New Years, so unless the letter gets to them by week's end, you apps won't go out until January. Plus, you can always add a LOR after you have submitted your app.


I was thinking about going without it anyway. I'll probably end up doing that, unless it is really awesome.

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PennQuaker
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Re: Rec letter from senator

Postby PennQuaker » Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:10 pm

Carries very little weight. Admissions look down upon it if anything-typically see it like playing the "I have a rich daddy" or "do u know who I am card"

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john1990
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Re: Rec letter from senator

Postby john1990 » Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:10 pm

I have a professor who used to be a senator write me a LOR because i was active in his class and i thought he was a cool guy. I am expecting this to be equal to a .0001 increase on my LSAT score in the application process. :mrgreen:
Cool LOR though

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: Rec letter from senator

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:18 pm

PennQuaker wrote:Carries very little weight. Admissions look down upon it if anything-typically see it like playing the "I have a rich daddy" or "do u know who I am card"


yikes. I'm guessing that my internship with the senator isn't going to look too great on my resume either ? I know that the meat and potatoes are the gpa/lsat.....
It's better than bartending at the bar across from campus for the summer, which is what I would have been doing if I didn't get this. Also, better than a kick in the pants.....I hope.

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BiglawOrBust
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Re: Rec letter from senator

Postby BiglawOrBust » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:23 pm

Mr. Pancakes wrote:
PennQuaker wrote:Carries very little weight. Admissions look down upon it if anything-typically see it like playing the "I have a rich daddy" or "do u know who I am card"


yikes. I'm guessing that my internship with the senator isn't going to look too great on my resume either ? I know that the meat and potatoes are the gpa/lsat.....
It's better than bartending at the bar across from campus for the summer, which is what I would have been doing if I didn't get this. Also, better than a kick in the pants.....I hope.


Your internship certainly won't look bad (and neither would bartending), but don't expect it to give you a boost. For better or for worse, you can't extracirricular your way into LS.

STLMizzou
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Re: Rec letter from senator

Postby STLMizzou » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:26 pm

Dude, there is no harm in adding a letter of rec from a senator as a optional 3rd letter of rec. Worse case they look at it, see it is from a senator, and throw it back into the rest of your app.

Do you REALLY think any admissions person is going to look at your letters and say “well yes, this guy has 2 people who write really good in-depth letters recommending him, but on top of that he got a senator to take the time to at least tell his secretary to write a letter for him to? No dice, anybody with any connections I don’t want in MY law school.”

They only say don’t do that because they don’t want EVERY app to have nothing but fluff letters of rec.

You are fine, don’t sweat it.

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MidwestJosh
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Re: Rec letter from senator

Postby MidwestJosh » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:53 pm

Mr. Pancakes wrote:
justinp wrote:Ironically, this is one of the things that nearly every admissions book on any subject (undergrad, law school, grad programs, etc.) VERY SPECIFICALLY recommends against.

Unless your program was EXTREMELY unique and you worked with the Senator directly on a near-daily basis, this letter is worse than useless-- it'll be a generic form letter that makes it obvious that the person doesn't know you at all. I'd advise against sending it-- it pegs you as the kind of person who doesn't even care enough to read the dozens of sources (many of which are admissions directors themselves) advising against the 'prestigious person who I don't actually know' letter of rec.


I know what the letter would look like. I use to write them. :lol:
Thanks for the advice.


Nonetheless, justin is correct. I assure you it CAN hurt you. Best of luck.

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ap613
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Re: Rec letter from senator

Postby ap613 » Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:56 pm

Disagree that this LOR would be offensive, it won't be genuine but probably better than the completely generic name plug in letter for random people that ask for a LOR.

I think the correct reponse, as mentioned, is to ask for a LOR from your direct supervisor, whoever the intern coordinator is. Could be the scheduler, SA, or LC probably.

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: Rec letter from senator

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:09 pm

ap613 wrote:Disagree that this LOR would be offensive, it won't be genuine but probably better than the completely generic name plug in letter for random people that ask for a LOR.

I think the correct reponse, as mentioned, is to ask for a LOR from your direct supervisor, whoever the intern coordinator is. Could be the scheduler, SA, or LC probably.


That might be something to look at if I can get it done fast.

thederangedwang
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Re: Rec letter from senator

Postby thederangedwang » Wed Dec 14, 2011 10:23 pm

When I finished my congressional internship my Congresswoman wrote me a letter to use "for my future endeavors"

i got a few copies so i decided to open one up and read what it said..this is what it said in full

To Whom it May Concern"

John Doe interned for my office during the summer of 200X. He successfully completed the internship. I recommend him for any and all positions, internships, schools, and careers.



Sincerely,

US Representative Dicky Dick.

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Wonk
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Re: Rec letter from senator

Postby Wonk » Wed Dec 14, 2011 10:54 pm

I can only speak for my office, but, as a congressional staffer, I know that the letter would be personalized with details on the projects and specific tasks you worked on by one of our SAs or LCs. I don't know if admissions folks would see through that but I don't think the rec letter would hurt in any way.

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Mr. Pancakes
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Re: Rec letter from senator

Postby Mr. Pancakes » Wed Dec 14, 2011 10:55 pm

thederangedwang wrote:When I finished my congressional internship my Congresswoman wrote me a letter to use "for my future endeavors"

i got a few copies so i decided to open one up and read what it said..this is what it said in full

To Whom it May Concern"

John Doe interned for my office during the summer of 200X. He successfully completed the internship. I recommend him for any and all positions, internships, schools, and careers.



Sincerely,

US Representative Dicky Dick.


Wow. that's weak.

justinp
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Re: Rec letter from senator

Postby justinp » Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:44 pm

Mr. Pancakes wrote:
ap613 wrote:Disagree that this LOR would be offensive, it won't be genuine but probably better than the completely generic name plug in letter for random people that ask for a LOR.

I think the correct reponse, as mentioned, is to ask for a LOR from your direct supervisor, whoever the intern coordinator is. Could be the scheduler, SA, or LC probably.


That might be something to look at if I can get it done fast.


This. Personal interaction beats prestige every time. One of my LORs is from a teaching fellow who I knew really well on an academic and personal basis, and I asked several admissions folks during info sessions whether that was a problem since he wasn't a prof, etc.-- they all said they would much rather have that than a professor I knew less well.

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BiglawOrBust
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Re: Rec letter from senator

Postby BiglawOrBust » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:08 am

thederangedwang wrote:When I finished my congressional internship my Congresswoman wrote me a letter to use "for my future endeavors"

i got a few copies so i decided to open one up and read what it said..this is what it said in full

To Whom it May Concern"

John Doe interned for my office during the summer of 200X. He successfully completed the internship. I recommend him for any and all positions, internships, schools, and careers.



Sincerely,

US Representative Dicky Dick.



You must've done one hell of a job if you were recommended for all positions, internships, schools, and careers!

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Opie
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Re: Rec letter from senator

Postby Opie » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:16 am

Letter from a TA at a third rate UG that you actually worked with > Letter from the leader of the free world who didn't write it himself every time.

bessmarvin89
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Re: Rec letter from senator

Postby bessmarvin89 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:23 am

BiglawOrBust wrote:
thederangedwang wrote:When I finished my congressional internship my Congresswoman wrote me a letter to use "for my future endeavors"

i got a few copies so i decided to open one up and read what it said..this is what it said in full

To Whom it May Concern"

John Doe interned for my office during the summer of 200X. He successfully completed the internship. I recommend him for any and all positions, internships, schools, and careers.



Sincerely,

US Representative Dicky Dick.



You must've done one hell of a job if you were recommended for all positions, internships, schools, and careers!


haha how true. THIS post made my day




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