LOR: The more you have the better?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
lawschool111
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LOR: The more you have the better?

Postby lawschool111 » Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:43 pm

How important are LOR's in the admissions process? Most law schools require 2 letter of rec's, I have 3 so far.

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WhiteyCakes
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Re: LOR: The more you have the better?

Postby WhiteyCakes » Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:48 pm

Quality is more important than quantity. They play a secondary role, but can be very helpful for adcomms to get to know candidates better

bp shinners
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Re: LOR: The more you have the better?

Postby bp shinners » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:04 am

Also, don't send in more than they ask for. They've got enough to read, and the LoRs aren't too important - sending them too many can turn them off you.

theycallmefoes
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Re: LOR: The more you have the better?

Postby theycallmefoes » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:00 am

bp shinners wrote:Also, don't send in more than they ask for. They've got enough to read, and the LoRs aren't too important - sending them too many can turn them off you.


Now, when you say "more than they ask for," are you referring to the number required or the maximum number that will be considered? Rather, if the school specifically states that they require 2 LORs but will accept no more than 4, is it a safe bet to submit 4 LORs if they are all strong?

hq2x
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Re: LOR: The more you have the better?

Postby hq2x » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:04 am

theycallmefoes wrote:Rather, if the school specifically states that they require 2 LORs but will accept no more than 4, is it a safe bet to submit 4 LORs if they are all strong?


It's a safer bet to submit two.

NightmanCometh
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Re: LOR: The more you have the better?

Postby NightmanCometh » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:07 am

hq2x wrote:
theycallmefoes wrote:Rather, if the school specifically states that they require 2 LORs but will accept no more than 4, is it a safe bet to submit 4 LORs if they are all strong?


It's a safer bet to submit two.


What sort of evidence/reasoning do you have supporting this claim?

hq2x
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Re: LOR: The more you have the better?

Postby hq2x » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:19 am

http://www.law.harvard.edu/prospective/ ... /recs.html

"Our experience is that two thoughtfully selected recommenders are likely to be more effective than several chosen less carefully."

A quick google search shows similar sentiments from Berkeley and Chicago. I'm sure there are more.

So even if all of your letters of recommendation are strong, you should carefully select the best image that you want to show. Are there reasons to submit the maximum letters? Probably - the only one that comes to mind is if you have gone to several undergraduate universities, and even then I'm not sure. Someone could probably come up with an exceptional scenario that would persuade me. But that's not the point - the question was whether or not it was a safe bet, and it's definitely a safer bet to stick with two. The adcomms have a lot of applications to read, and if you're not telling them unique things with each letter you're wasting their time.

NightmanCometh
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Re: LOR: The more you have the better?

Postby NightmanCometh » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:26 am

Right, but this sentiment seems directed at LORs that are weak. I think the question was what if they are all strong and each added its own flavor? Then I would say include all of them. For instance, if you had extensive work experience, having 2 from your academic institution and 2 more from your bosses can shed more light on you academic vs professional strengths.

I totally agree that sometimes less is more, but it really depends imo. If you genuinely think all four bring something new to the table, include all of em- can't hurt.

hq2x
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Re: LOR: The more you have the better?

Postby hq2x » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:37 am

Again, someone could always create some exceptional scenario, but I agree in that if each letter is strong and brings something new and unique to the table, then you could (or in your/OP's opinion, should?) submit the maximum number of letters. But I think a minority of strong LOR's do this, and I think it takes extenuating circumstances to do so.

I also don't think that "less carefully" equates to weak - if you have four letters that are all strong, and you could do away with two of them but you decide to include four anyway, you would be choosing your letters less carefully than someone who picks the two that are likely to be the best of the bunch. Anyway, I think any time a law school says to be careful doing something and I'm trying to err on the safe side I would just not do the thing in the first place.

theycallmefoes
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Re: LOR: The more you have the better?

Postby theycallmefoes » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:12 am

(I'm going to piggyback off this thread - hope the OP doesn't mind :oops:)

So, I'm a poli-sci major with minors in philosophy and social justice.

I have 2 LORs (that I will definitely be using) from professors who know me very well (a history prof and a phil prof). Both were highly enthusiastic about writing my LORs, and I am confident that I can count on them. The thing is, I read on some forum/website about admissions that one LOR pretty much must be from a professor in the applicant's major area (or at least that this is highly recommended). How true is this?

If I were to go after an LOR from a poll-sci professor, I have two options:
One is a professor with whom I have taken 2 courses (including one presently), one of which is a somewhat unique course (think Model UN but narrower in scope) that may play well into the social justice theme. I think his LOR would be relatively strong, although perhaps not as glowing as the first two.
The other is a professor with whom I have also taken 2 courses (including a graduate-level seminar, presently) and who is also the director of my honors UG thesis - again, plays well into the social justice theme. Would an LOR from my thesis director carry more weight?

Lastly, my UG pre-law advisor advised against submitting only academic LORs (paraphrasing: never go entirely one way or the other - adcomms want to see both academics and WE/service/etc.; though, if you can submit more than 2, then weigh academic LORs more heavily). Has any one else heard this before? I have an LOR lined up from my boss from a 2-summer internship, but I would rather submit an extra academic LOR and drop the one about the internship if that will be of more help.

NightmanCometh
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Re: LOR: The more you have the better?

Postby NightmanCometh » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:26 am

hq2x wrote:Again, someone could always create some exceptional scenario, but I agree in that if each letter is strong and brings something new and unique to the table, then you could (or in your/OP's opinion, should?) submit the maximum number of letters. But I think a minority of strong LOR's do this, and I think it takes extenuating circumstances to do so.

I also don't think that "less carefully" equates to weak - if you have four letters that are all strong, and you could do away with two of them but you decide to include four anyway, you would be choosing your letters less carefully than someone who picks the two that are likely to be the best of the bunch. Anyway, I think any time a law school says to be careful doing something and I'm trying to err on the safe side I would just not do the thing in the first place.


I don't completely disagree, but another consideration is that what law schools say and how they behave sometimes contradict. Many law schools say "you should only take the LSAT once", but even at schools like Columbia where they claim they average multiple scores, statistics say otherwise. The cynic in me guesses that law schools don't want to read a bunch of shitty LORs so they say something like this, but logically speaking I can't think of a way that having 4 strong ones, even if they are equally strong, can HURT.

Also, sometimes it's hard to tell which ones are stronger than the other, since you can't really see what the person wrote (assuming you follow the standard ethical procedures of getting recs).

NightmanCometh
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Re: LOR: The more you have the better?

Postby NightmanCometh » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:32 am

theycallmefoes wrote:(I'm going to piggyback off this thread - hope the OP doesn't mind :oops:)

So, I'm a poli-sci major with minors in philosophy and social justice.

I have 2 LORs (that I will definitely be using) from professors who know me very well (a history prof and a phil prof). Both were highly enthusiastic about writing my LORs, and I am confident that I can count on them. The thing is, I read on some forum/website about admissions that one LOR pretty much must be from a professor in the applicant's major area (or at least that this is highly recommended). How true is this?

If I were to go after an LOR from a poll-sci professor, I have two options:
One is a professor with whom I have taken 2 courses (including one presently), one of which is a somewhat unique course (think Model UN but narrower in scope) that may play well into the social justice theme. I think his LOR would be relatively strong, although perhaps not as glowing as the first two.
The other is a professor with whom I have also taken 2 courses (including a graduate-level seminar, presently) and who is also the director of my honors UG thesis - again, plays well into the social justice theme. Would an LOR from my thesis director carry more weight?

Lastly, my UG pre-law advisor advised against submitting only academic LORs (paraphrasing: never go entirely one way or the other - adcomms want to see both academics and WE/service/etc.; though, if you can submit more than 2, then weigh academic LORs more heavily). Has any one else heard this before? I have an LOR lined up from my boss from a 2-summer internship, but I would rather submit an extra academic LOR and drop the one about the internship if that will be of more help.


The rule of thumb is: go with the person who can write you the BEST, most glowing rec with the most substantive details. Details are the most important- they need to distinguish your accomplishments with other students, and provide specific examples. The worst kind of rec you can get is the cookie-cuttter "he/she is a hard worker and a great student". It needs to be comparative in nature to be truly effective imo. Title is of secondary importance. Only you can judge that, it would be a good idea to gauge their level of interests.

Are you still in school? If so, I think you can skip the non-academic LORs. Summer internships are much too brief and usually not substantive enough for the rec to have good material imo (unless it's truly exceptional). This would be a good case of "less is more", I would only give them the academic recs.

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kay2016
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Re: LOR: The more you have the better?

Postby kay2016 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:26 pm

If a school only requires 1 should I only send 1?

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defdef
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Re: LOR: The more you have the better?

Postby defdef » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:13 am

kayleighcheyenne wrote:If a school only requires 1 should I only send 1?


same question.

also, i hate LoRs. worst part of the application process.

BostonLawStudent
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Re: LOR: The more you have the better?

Postby BostonLawStudent » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:39 am

lawschool111 wrote:How important are LOR's in the admissions process? Most law schools require 2 letter of rec's, I have 3 so far.

Matters very little-you can have 20 LOR, but if you're a moron with a bad LSAT score and shitty GPA it won't matter and the reverse is also true

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kay2016
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Re: LOR: The more you have the better?

Postby kay2016 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:59 pm

Did anyone have any advice on the only sending 1 lor? I feel like sending two at least sends a balance, but if the school only requires 1 I don't want to hurt my chances by sending more.

bp shinners
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Re: LOR: The more you have the better?

Postby bp shinners » Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:29 pm

kayleighcheyenne wrote:Did anyone have any advice on the only sending 1 lor? I feel like sending two at least sends a balance, but if the school only requires 1 I don't want to hurt my chances by sending more.


If the school requires one but accepts more, I'd probably still send 2.




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