LOR for splitters?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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LOR for splitters?

Postby scottybear » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:40 pm

Is there anything that is really important for splitters (low GPA/high LSAT) to touch on in their letters of recommendation? I could see it being helpful to steer a letter away from things like academic prowess and more towards diversity, etc. (as an implicit explanation for a lower GPA) but I guess I'm not sure...

Or should the letter go the other way? Talk about pure academic potential, make the admissions council think that the lower GPA was due to harder classes, or perhaps immaturity, or some other factor? Maybe they might overlook a lower GPA in the past if the trend has been upwards (like, 2.5gpa in community college, 3.0 gpa once transferred to a UC, 3.5 gpa in grad school).

Is there anything else a splitter should know when asking for letters? Any advice appreciated.


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Re: LOR for splitters?

Postby nickb285 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:00 pm

I didn't ask the recommender specifically to address anything (beyond the questions mentioned in the LSAC evaluation, which although it's a stupid system, provides a pretty decent guideline for LORs), but I did say that my GPA was my weakness and that in my case it was due to being a dumbass 20ish-year-old for most of college--no excuses, just progression. It also helped that I took four classes from the professor from whom I got a recommendation; first two were a B and B-, last two were A's, which is pretty indicative of my performance overall. I figure that way if he wants to address grade performance, he has context and examples (I also provided him with a writing sample from the two A classes) for my grade trends; if he doesn't I'm rolling on my high LSAT.

If you wanted to ask specifically for the recommender to address your grades, I would tell them whatever your reasons are, but don't make excuses (I'm not necessarily sure that "diversity as an explanation for lower GPA" is going to fly unless you have some pretty compelling evidence).

Overall, you're best off addressing this in an addendum. Grad school grades aren't factored into your LSAC GPA, so they won't see them, but if you write an addendum stating basically that you were immature in CC, started to grow up in the UC, and fully matured in grad school, using your grades as evidence, you'll be better off than hoping that your recommender says the right things about your crap GPA.

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