Can only get one letter of recommendation

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
jonjon1324
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Can only get one letter of recommendation

Postby jonjon1324 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:04 pm

I've been planning this whole law school thing very poorly, and I've come to the realization that I pretty much can only get one letter of recommendation from a professor that actually knows me. I'm not sure where to go from here, but here are some of my options:

1. Wait for the semester to end in December and ask one of my current professors for a letter- this would mean I'd be applying very late (probably in January) so that doesn't seem like too great of an option

2. Ask a random professor that I got an A in but that has no clue who I am for a letter. My pre-law advisor advised against this, so I don't know if I should.

3. Take a year off to make sure I have my letters and can still apply early next cycle. I'm not really against this, although if I can find a way to apply this cycle I'll go for it.

4. Ask for a second letter from the ACLU where I did my internship this summer. I know law schools prefer academic letters, but would this be a terrible option?

What do you guys think I should do?
I want to apply to UF and have a 3.4 GPA, if that makes a difference (don't know my LSAT yet)

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MsAvocadoPit
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Re: Can only get one letter of recommendation

Postby MsAvocadoPit » Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:26 pm

I like option 2 only because I believe that the professor CAN get to know you.

Before getting my LORs I felt similar, not a strong connection between professors. Professors are asked for LORs all the time, so they are used to it. I picked profs from classes that weren't too large. I approached the prof in office hours to ask for consideration in writing a LOR. I came prepared with a resume, assignments, and a letter I wrote stating why I wanted to go to law school or what I was interested in (did not have a personal statement at the time).

It seems to be the norm for the professor to schedule a time to sit down and talk with you before he/she starts writing. He'll make notes and use all your materials to write the letter. I really suggest this time with the professor to open yourself up and talk about yourself as much as possible, so he/she feels like they know you better. Sometimes just speaking to a person once is enough to have an impact.

I even got a LOR from a prof a full 2 years after taking her class, though she did remember me because I went to office hours once or twice (surprisingly not many people go, so just going once helps tremendously). I had to communicate by phone and email to ask for the LOR though, so she set up a time to chat over the phone.

Don't be afraid to try to get one now, leave this window of opportunity open for yourself, and you can always apply next year if the deadlines are coming up too fast.

Good luck!

jonjon1324
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Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:22 pm

Re: Can only get one letter of recommendation

Postby jonjon1324 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:32 pm

MsAvocadoPit wrote:I like option 2 only because I believe that the professor CAN get to know you.

Before getting my LORs I felt similar, not a strong connection between professors. Professors are asked for LORs all the time, so they are used to it. I picked profs from classes that weren't too large. I approached the prof in office hours to ask for consideration in writing a LOR. I came prepared with a resume, assignments, and a letter I wrote stating why I wanted to go to law school or what I was interested in (did not have a personal statement at the time).

It seems to be the norm for the professor to schedule a time to sit down and talk with you before he/she starts writing. He'll make notes and use all your materials to write the letter. I really suggest this time with the professor to open yourself up and talk about yourself as much as possible, so he/she feels like they know you better. Sometimes just speaking to a person once is enough to have an impact.

I even got a LOR from a prof a full 2 years after taking her class, though she did remember me because I went to office hours once or twice (surprisingly not many people go, so just going once helps tremendously). I had to communicate by phone and email to ask for the LOR though, so she set up a time to chat over the phone.

Don't be afraid to try to get one now, leave this window of opportunity open for yourself, and you can always apply next year if the deadlines are coming up too fast.

Good luck!


It's difficult for me because I changed majors multiple times because I just wasn't interested in anything, so the classes that I got an were classes I really wasn't too interested in anyway so that's why I didn't bother. It wasn't until last semester that I came back to Political Science that I was interested in SOME of my classes. I'm thinking of asking this Social Psychology professor that I got an A on, but since he won't remember me at all, what exactly should I say? "I know we never spoke but..."? Like, I don't know how to approach this, and I changed majors from Psychology so it's not like I can pretend I cared about his class. Or maybe it'd be better to ask my Stats professor for one because even though we never spoke, I got an A in both of her classes (Stats 1 and Stats 2). I just don't know how to approach it considering I have never actually spoken to her

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MsAvocadoPit
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Re: Can only get one letter of recommendation

Postby MsAvocadoPit » Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:44 pm

jonjon1324 wrote:
It's difficult for me because I changed majors multiple times because I just wasn't interested in anything, so the classes that I got an were classes I really wasn't too interested in anyway so that's why I didn't bother. It wasn't until last semester that I came back to Political Science that I was interested in SOME of my classes. I'm thinking of asking this Social Psychology professor that I got an A on, but since he won't remember me at all, what exactly should I say? "I know we never spoke but..."? Like, I don't know how to approach this, and I changed majors from Psychology so it's not like I can pretend I cared about his class. Or maybe it'd be better to ask my Stats professor for one because even though we never spoke, I got an A in both of her classes (Stats 1 and Stats 2). I just don't know how to approach it considering I have never actually spoken to her


I would try emailing the Social Pysch prof to ask what his current office hours are and say you'd like to visit in regards to talking about consideration for a LOR. That way it prefaces him for what is to come in the office hour (not blindsiding him), and it's a quick email to take away the pressure of asking in person. He won't say no. Dig up your assignments. Bring Resume, Etc.

Also, I printed out a list of all the courses that I had taken so far (I didn't go as far as printing a transcript, because I didn't want them to see the bad freshman grades!) I just wrote a quick word doc of spring /fall YEAR X etc what classes I took, or was going to take for my last semester (so for you, you could list all the poli sci classes you have taken/ or might be taking next)

They are used to this though, so don't be afraid to just ask. He might not remember you, but that's okay. He probably doesn't remember a lot of kids! They will ask you a lot of questions when you say you want to go to law school, so just be prepared to talk about why law/yourself etc. I feel like this is where they will get a lot of their writing material and it helps that you got an A in the class, he can talk about your performance through assignments/grades too.

jonjon1324
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:22 pm

Re: Can only get one letter of recommendation

Postby jonjon1324 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:48 pm

MsAvocadoPit wrote:
jonjon1324 wrote:
It's difficult for me because I changed majors multiple times because I just wasn't interested in anything, so the classes that I got an were classes I really wasn't too interested in anyway so that's why I didn't bother. It wasn't until last semester that I came back to Political Science that I was interested in SOME of my classes. I'm thinking of asking this Social Psychology professor that I got an A on, but since he won't remember me at all, what exactly should I say? "I know we never spoke but..."? Like, I don't know how to approach this, and I changed majors from Psychology so it's not like I can pretend I cared about his class. Or maybe it'd be better to ask my Stats professor for one because even though we never spoke, I got an A in both of her classes (Stats 1 and Stats 2). I just don't know how to approach it considering I have never actually spoken to her


I would try emailing the Social Pysch prof to ask what his current office hours are and say you'd like to visit in regards to talking about consideration for a LOR. That way it prefaces him for what is to come in the office hour (not blindsiding him), and it's a quick email to take away the pressure of asking in person. He won't say no. Dig up your assignments. Bring Resume, Etc.

Also, I printed out a list of all the courses that I had taken so far (I didn't go as far as printing a transcript, because I didn't want them to see the bad freshman grades!) I just wrote a quick word doc of spring /fall YEAR X etc what classes I took, or was going to take for my last semester (so for you, you could list all the poli sci classes you have taken/ or might be taking next)

They are used to this though, so don't be afraid to just ask. He might not remember you, but that's okay. He probably doesn't remember a lot of kids! They will ask you a lot of questions when you say you want to go to law school, so just be prepared to talk about why law/yourself etc. I feel like this is where they will get a lot of their writing material and it helps that you got an A in the class, he can talk about your performance through assignments/grades too.


Ahh, I see. Why do you think the Social Psych prof is a better option than the Stats ones though? Wouldn't two As in two classes by the same professor count for more?

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rinkrat19
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Re: Can only get one letter of recommendation

Postby rinkrat19 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:50 pm

Writing rec letters is part of a professor's job description. They (should) know how to write one that sounds ok, given a basic packet of your info to start with. A letter from a prof who doesn't know you won't be stellar, but it'll fill the requirement on the checklist.

Pre-law advisers are mostly idiots and their advice mostly ranges from useless to outright disastrous for your admissions chances. Confirm EVERYTHING (s)he says here on TLS before acting on any of it.

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MsAvocadoPit
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Re: Can only get one letter of recommendation

Postby MsAvocadoPit » Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:54 pm

You're right, ask from BOTH! Just use the same approach for both. You're essentially preparing all the same materials for a LOR writer to see. It just seems like a Pysch prof would see more of your writing ability. Stats prof would be good too!

So yeah, ask both!

Edit: When you sit with them in office hours talking about it the LOR/law school, you might be able to gauge how well this letter will turn out by the types of questions they ask you.

Plus by asking BOTH, one LOR might come in more quickly than the other, giving you the option to apply sooner.
Last edited by MsAvocadoPit on Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jonjon1324
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:22 pm

Re: Can only get one letter of recommendation

Postby jonjon1324 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:55 pm

MsAvocadoPit wrote:You're right, ask from BOTH! Just use the same approach for both. You're essentially preparing all the same materials for a LOR writer to see. It just seems like a Pysch prof would see more of your writing ability. Stats prof would be good too!

So yeah, ask both!


I see. Thank you. When I email them, should I mention how I did in their class?

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MsAvocadoPit
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Re: Can only get one letter of recommendation

Postby MsAvocadoPit » Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:59 pm

jonjon1324 wrote:
I see. Thank you. When I email them, should I mention how I did in their class?


I would wait for the office hours to discuss it, there isn't a grade requirement for writing an LOR. You should mention the you took their class in fall x and spring x and now you're applying to law school. say you'd like to ask for consideration in writing an LOR, ask when is a good time to visit them in office hours. It would be weird for someone to ask for an LOR without actually taking their class, so that IS important to mention!




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