Another Letter of Rec question

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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defdef
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Another Letter of Rec question

Postby defdef » Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:41 am

I have been out of school for about 5 years and been self-employed for the past 3 years in a non-English speaking country.

I can go about contacting former professors and old work contacts for letters of recommendation, but considering I have a few months before I put together an application (hoping for Fall 2013) is it worth it to take an online extension course via a reputable school in hopes of acquiring a "fresher" LoR from the professor?

josh43299
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Re: Another Letter of Rec question

Postby josh43299 » Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:07 pm

defdef wrote:I have been out of school for about 5 years and been self-employed for the past 3 years in a non-English speaking country.

I can go about contacting former professors and old work contacts for letters of recommendation, but considering I have a few months before I put together an application (hoping for Fall 2013) is it worth it to take an online extension course via a reputable school in hopes of acquiring a "fresher" LoR from the professor?


I dont think an online extension course is going to get you the LoR you want. I would say get some old profs and employer recommendations (esp the latter in your situation). If you do well on the LSAT and have a good gpa, I think you will be fine. Just explain your situation, as it will definitely set you apart.

bp shinners
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Re: Another Letter of Rec question

Postby bp shinners » Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:51 pm

josh43299 wrote:
defdef wrote:I have been out of school for about 5 years and been self-employed for the past 3 years in a non-English speaking country.

I can go about contacting former professors and old work contacts for letters of recommendation, but considering I have a few months before I put together an application (hoping for Fall 2013) is it worth it to take an online extension course via a reputable school in hopes of acquiring a "fresher" LoR from the professor?


I dont think an online extension course is going to get you the LoR you want. I would say get some old profs and employer recommendations (esp the latter in your situation). If you do well on the LSAT and have a good gpa, I think you will be fine. Just explain your situation, as it will definitely set you apart.


+1. For people 5+ years out of school, an employer's LoR becomes just as good as a professor's (though you'd still want at least one academic LoR). Contact an old professor to find one to write you a letter.

Honestly, though, the work experience (self-employed in a foreign country) will be more of a soft factor than a very strong LoR. Make sure to discuss it in your application package.

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defdef
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Re: Another Letter of Rec question

Postby defdef » Fri Feb 10, 2012 8:14 am

Thanks for the replies, I appreciate it!

I'm a little worried that my old professors won't remember me, but I'll just bite the bullet and try to give them as much documentation as possible. Hopefully my situation is more common than I think.

kakaa001
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Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:47 pm

Re: Another Letter of Rec question

Postby kakaa001 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:53 am

defdef wrote:Thanks for the replies, I appreciate it!

I'm a little worried that my old professors won't remember me, but I'll just bite the bullet and try to give them as much documentation as possible. Hopefully my situation is more common than I think.


It never hurts. One of my former professors always asked that students requesting LORs send her their resume, a copy of their paper they wrote in her class, and just outline their basic goals in life. That way, she could write the most detailed letter possible, and it was extremely useful for her when students she taught requested letters years later. This might be helpful in your situation if you could offer up some of those documents to "refresh" your old professors minds.

josh43299
Posts: 207
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:29 pm

Re: Another Letter of Rec question

Postby josh43299 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:26 am

bp shinners wrote:
josh43299 wrote:
defdef wrote:I have been out of school for about 5 years and been self-employed for the past 3 years in a non-English speaking country.

I can go about contacting former professors and old work contacts for letters of recommendation, but considering I have a few months before I put together an application (hoping for Fall 2013) is it worth it to take an online extension course via a reputable school in hopes of acquiring a "fresher" LoR from the professor?


I dont think an online extension course is going to get you the LoR you want. I would say get some old profs and employer recommendations (esp the latter in your situation). If you do well on the LSAT and have a good gpa, I think you will be fine. Just explain your situation, as it will definitely set you apart.


+1. For people 5+ years out of school, an employer's LoR becomes just as good as a professor's (though you'd still want at least one academic LoR). Contact an old professor to find one to write you a letter.

Honestly, though, the work experience (self-employed in a foreign country) will be more of a soft factor than a very strong LoR. Make sure to discuss it in your application package.


On a side note, BP Shinners is from Blueprint LSAT prep, so it reminded me... If you are still far away from a location that has a nearby good (not Kaplan) LSAT prep course, Blueprint's Movie 2.0 online prep course was excellent I thought. The most important thing you are in control of at this point is getting the highest LSAT score possible. I highly recommend their course. I went from a 159 on the December 2010 LSAT to a 170 on the October 2011 LSAT. I think the course was $800 or so.

bp shinners
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Re: Another Letter of Rec question

Postby bp shinners » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:28 pm

kakaa001 wrote: One of my former professors always asked that students requesting LORs send her their resume, a copy of their paper they wrote in her class, and just outline their basic goals in life.


This is good advice in general, and something we recommend all students do for all LoRs.

The only other thing I would bring is a cover letter mentioning some of your 'memories' in class that touch on specific areas you want the professor to highlight. You don't want to say, "Write about how much I participated in class!", but if the professor doesn't remember much about you, you can say something like, "The highlight of your class, for me, was the in-class debates we had over various topics; they definitely made me a better public speaker!" or something along those lines. Gently guide them to say something that you want them to touch on.

landla
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Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:23 pm

Re: Another Letter of Rec question

Postby landla » Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:25 pm

If it is possible, meet with them in person to request the LOR - not just a five minute meeting, either. That will give them a better chance at remembering you, plus you can discuss things like your life plans.

As for the self-employed lack of LOR, you may be able to get a LOR from someone that you regularly did business with, if you are comfortable asking and think they can write a decent letter in English.

bp shinners
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Re: Another Letter of Rec question

Postby bp shinners » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:53 pm

landla wrote:As for the self-employed lack of LOR, you may be able to get a LOR from someone that you regularly did business with.


I would recommend against this - that person can only say that you acted in a professional manner, but they can't really evaluate you in a way that a law school would care about. Generally, you want someone who was in a position of power over you to write a LoR so that they can form a judgment from that perspective - that's why boss and professor are the ways to go.




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