What do schools look for in a letter of recommendation?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
itachiuchiha
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What do schools look for in a letter of recommendation?

Postby itachiuchiha » Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:56 pm

My professor and I are going to be discussing what should be put into the letter.
So all in all, I will be basically telling him what to write in that letter. I basically write it and he signs off on it.
What should I include?

The only advice I read about on TLS so far was that it should compare me to other students. But what else?

THANKS!!!!

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dingbat
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Re: What do schools look for in a letter of recommendation?

Postby dingbat » Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:16 pm

Basically, it should say you're not undesirable (eg crazy)
After that, anything indicating aptitude for the law is a good thing, as is an aptitude for academics. A long term goal is helpful as is an indication of employability (hard working, sociable, etc)
Lastly, it should probably end with you having a bright future ahead, or some such tripe.

LORs can't make an application, but they can break them. So long as you come off as being normal, that's really all that's needed

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LexLeon
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Re: What do schools look for in a letter of recommendation?

Postby LexLeon » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:07 am

Read Asha's opinion on the matter.

Letters can make or break an application.

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Nova
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Re: What do schools look for in a letter of recommendation?

Postby Nova » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:12 am

LexLeon wrote: Letters can make or break an application.

Unlikely

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TripTrip
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Re: What do schools look for in a letter of recommendation?

Postby TripTrip » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:13 am

LexLeon wrote:Letters can make or break an application.
If you have a 120/2.0, no LOR is getting you into Yale.


Ti Malice
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Re: What do schools look for in a letter of recommendation?

Postby Ti Malice » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:36 am

LexLeon wrote:Read Asha's opinion on the matter.

Letters can make or break an application.


Yes, but Asha speaks only for YLS.

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suralin
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Re: What do schools look for in a letter of recommendation?

Postby suralin » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:38 am

LexLeon wrote:Read Asha's opinion on the matter.

Letters can make or break an application.


Odds are vanishingly low.

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PickMe!
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Re: What do schools look for in a letter of recommendation?

Postby PickMe! » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:32 am

LexLeon wrote:Read Asha's opinion on the matter.

Letters Numbers can make or break an application.

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dingbat
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Re: What do schools look for in a letter of recommendation?

Postby dingbat » Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:07 am

LexLeon wrote:Read Asha's opinion on the matter.

Letters can make or break an application.

Yale has enough 3.9X 17X applicants relative to their class size that LORs make a difference (if you're not automatically on the discard pile), but they're an exception BECAUSE IT'S YALE

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Br3v
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Re: What do schools look for in a letter of recommendation?

Postby Br3v » Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:48 am

That you will make a good law student/addition to their law school.

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2014
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Re: What do schools look for in a letter of recommendation?

Postby 2014 » Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:24 pm

A specific thing I've seen mentioned is how it can be helpful to quantify your greatness. I.e instead of "this student created lively discussion and turned in high quality work", to say "this student was probably the best participant in my class of 30 and on each assignment produced the highest quality writing amongst his peers".

Even better if they are willing to compare you across multiple years (I.e. "amongst the top 5 students I've had in my 13 year tenure"). Another useful thing is if they have taught others who went to good schools to compare you to ("in my 13 years I have sent dozens of students to several top law schools including Harvard, Columbia, Michigan and Cornell and Joe Blow here shows as high of an academic aptitude as any of them")

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LexLeon
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Re: What do schools look for in a letter of recommendation?

Postby LexLeon » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:49 pm

Ti Malice wrote:
LexLeon wrote:Read Asha's opinion on the matter.

Letters can make or break an application.


Yes, but Asha speaks only for YLS.


Truth.

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dingbat
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Re: What do schools look for in a letter of recommendation?

Postby dingbat » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:53 pm

TripTrip wrote:
LexLeon wrote:Letters can make or break an application.
If you have a 120/2.0, no LOR is getting you into Yale.

an LOR from the Bush family accompanied by an LOR in the form of a $20,000,000 check will

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epiphinous7
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Re: What do schools look for in a letter of recommendation?

Postby epiphinous7 » Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:00 pm

LexLeon wrote:Read Asha's opinion on the matter.

Letters can make or break an application.

You really need to stop giving advice in these forums
Id say most people just ignore you but im sure that there are 0Ls that might take it - and that'll be dangerous for how they prepare for their cycle...

Sidenote: Are you getting TTT schools to pay off your loans to propagate this crap?

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porch
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Re: What do schools look for in a letter of recommendation?

Postby porch » Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:19 pm

epiphinous7 wrote:
LexLeon wrote:Read Asha's opinion on the matter.

Letters can make or break an application.

You really need to stop giving advice in these forums
Id say most people just ignore you but im sure that there are 0Ls that might take it - and that'll be dangerous for how they prepare for their cycle...

Sidenote: Are you getting TTT schools to pay off your loans to propagate this crap?


Lex has a point. For Yale* letters can make or break the application. Asha says it herself. When so many applicants are similar why should they not trust the word of someone who has taught them.

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epiphinous7
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Re: What do schools look for in a letter of recommendation?

Postby epiphinous7 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:04 pm

That's still not a "Make or break" scenario.
At best that's a nuance, or "good soft", of your application once numbers, GPA, PS & Resume have been thoroughly ravaged. Glowing LORs are ubiquitous....

bp shinners
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Re: What do schools look for in a letter of recommendation?

Postby bp shinners » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:43 pm

epiphinous7 wrote:That's still not a "Make or break" scenario.
At best that's a nuance, or "good soft", of your application once numbers, GPA, PS & Resume have been thoroughly ravaged. Glowing LORs are ubiquitous....


While I think the advice was not great, a bad LoR can break the application. That's the danger of the LoR - they're not that important, unless they're bad, in which case they can tank an otherwise-decent application. Someone who's over 75% will still probably get in, but if you're in the target zone, a bad LoR definitely increases your chances of a rejection. Especially since you can pick your letter writers, so you should be able to find 2 people who are enthusiastic about writing one for you.

To OP - The LoR is the one place where bragging is OK, because it's not you saying it. So you can definitely up the effusiveness in there and say some positive things that would otherwise come off as bragging. Also, you want to focus on some area that doesn't otherwise come through in your application - if you have all As in writing classes, your writing ability probably doesn't need more trumping up. However, class participation, intellectual curiosity, going beyond the required work, etc... are all things that can show up here and nowhere else.

Finally, try to figure out what your other letter writers might say, and say something different here. So if another class was a seminar where you participated a lot, only briefly mention class participation here, but focus the letter on another positive aspect of your academic personality.

If you're writing it, also make sure to change the voice up so it doesn't read the same as your other essays.

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howlery
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Re: What do schools look for in a letter of recommendation?

Postby howlery » Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:24 pm

porch wrote:
epiphinous7 wrote:
LexLeon wrote:Read Asha's opinion on the matter.

Letters can make or break an application.

You really need to stop giving advice in these forums
Id say most people just ignore you but im sure that there are 0Ls that might take it - and that'll be dangerous for how they prepare for their cycle...

Sidenote: Are you getting TTT schools to pay off your loans to propagate this crap?


Lex has a point. For Yale* letters can make or break the application. Asha says it herself. When so many applicants are similar why should they not trust the word of someone who has taught them.


Even at Yale, aren't the applications reviewed in such a way that faculty members might weight certain elements of an application differently? Not to say that an outstanding "this is the best student I've ever had" or "X student is at Yale, Y applicant is better than them" LOR would ever be discounted, but that form of praise surely isn't expected (I hope).

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dingbat
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Re: What do schools look for in a letter of recommendation?

Postby dingbat » Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:31 pm

howlery wrote:Even at Yale, aren't the applications reviewed in such a way that faculty members might weight certain elements of an application differently?

Yale is very up front. All apps that are not auto-admit or auto-ding are handed out to several faculty members, who then give the applicant points. They get to decide for themselves what criteria to use (if any) and have no guidelines they need to follow. If an application gets enough points, the applicant is admitted; if not, rejected.
Last edited by dingbat on Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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stillwater
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Re: What do schools look for in a letter of recommendation?

Postby stillwater » Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:31 pm

.




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