"Ghost-writing" a LOR

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
User avatar
wtrc
Posts: 2057
Joined: Mon May 30, 2011 9:37 pm

"Ghost-writing" a LOR

Postby wtrc » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:20 pm

I wanted one of my LORs to come from the Professor of a course I TAed about two years ago. It was an unpaid position for a summer course. The professor doesn't have great English, but is very well-known in his field and has little time.

I asked him for a LOR, and he asked if I can write it and send it to him to review, potentially edit, and sign.

Is this standard practice, or should I tell him this is morally questionable/makes me uncomfortable? If he says this is the only way and this is a problem, I will use a different Professor. My other two LORs wrote and never showed me, so I wasn't sure.

User avatar
ManOfTheMinute
Posts: 1562
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:54 am

Re: "Ghost-writing" a LOR

Postby ManOfTheMinute » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:22 pm

weathercoins wrote:I wanted one of my LORs to come from the Professor of a course I TAed about two years ago. It was an unpaid position for a summer course. The professor doesn't have great English, but is very well-known in his field and has little time.

I asked him for a LOR, and he asked if I can write it and send it to him to review, potentially edit, and sign.

Is this standard practice, or should I tell him this is morally questionable/makes me uncomfortable? If he says this is the only way and this is a problem, I will use a different Professor. My other two LORs wrote and never showed me, so I wasn't sure.


Wow, this is a totally unique and never before discussed issue... Said no one ever.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22885
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: "Ghost-writing" a LOR

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:23 pm

This happens a lot. It's totally fine, morally. Personally, I suck at writing about myself, so that's the problem I have with it, but there's no moral issue.

talesofyore
Posts: 294
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:21 pm

Re: "Ghost-writing" a LOR

Postby talesofyore » Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:42 pm

weathercoins wrote:I wanted one of my LORs to come from the Professor of a course I TAed about two years ago. It was an unpaid position for a summer course. The professor doesn't have great English, but is very well-known in his field and has little time.

I asked him for a LOR, and he asked if I can write it and send it to him to review, potentially edit, and sign.

Is this standard practice, or should I tell him this is morally questionable/makes me uncomfortable? If he says this is the only way and this is a problem, I will use a different Professor. My other two LORs wrote and never showed me, so I wasn't sure.


Can't you find a way to fish around to ask whether you can see them? I got five letters of recommendation and this one professor who always bragged about his legendary LOR writing skills actually had the worst one out of the five (not that I didn't appreciate him writing it). My point is that based on my perception of him, if I hadn't seen the letters I would have ended up sending a weak, generic letter with all my applications. I ended up only using it in cases where schools asked for four. I never used the fifth one as the professor didn't want to show it to me, and this made me uncomfortable.

Ti Malice
Posts: 1955
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:55 am

Re: "Ghost-writing" a LOR

Postby Ti Malice » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:43 pm

weathercoins wrote:I wanted one of my LORs to come from the Professor of a course I TAed about two years ago. It was an unpaid position for a summer course. The professor doesn't have great English, but is very well-known in his field and has little time.


It doesn't matter if the professor is well-known. Did you only TA for him? The best LORs will come from people who have directly evaluated your academic work. More is not necessarily better, either. If you have reason to believe that your third/fourth LOR will be weaker than your two strongest, then you shouldn't include the extra LORs.

User avatar
Skye
Posts: 165
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2012 2:51 pm

Re: "Ghost-writing" a LOR

Postby Skye » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:58 pm

weathercoins wrote:I asked him for a LOR, and he asked if I can write it and send it to him to review, potentially edit, and sign.

That is as GREEN as the green lights get! Find a friend who writes well and then let 'er rip.

Dr. Gaius Baltar
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:38 pm

Re: "Ghost-writing" a LOR

Postby Dr. Gaius Baltar » Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:10 pm

Skye wrote:
weathercoins wrote:I asked him for a LOR, and he asked if I can write it and send it to him to review, potentially edit, and sign.

That is as GREEN as the green lights get! Find a friend who writes well and then let 'er rip.


Seriously! OP doesn't understand what a lucky turn of events this is. I kept wishing one of my LSAC recommenders would say that to me, but it didn't happen. That's only happened to me once in my life and I honestly did not hold back on the superlatives.

OP, here is your guarantee of one solid LOR from a noted professor. Don't waste it. AND if he hates speaking English he'll probably be only too delighted to just sign his name at the bottom of whatever you write. Wow. :lol:

User avatar
wtrc
Posts: 2057
Joined: Mon May 30, 2011 9:37 pm

Re: "Ghost-writing" a LOR

Postby wtrc » Sun Mar 17, 2013 6:33 pm

Thanks for the responses everyone.

I only did TA for him. But it involved a decent amount of work, a bit of research, and leading a weekend seminar, so I think it's enough for a strong rec.

User avatar
arkgawilson
Posts: 155
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:33 pm

Re: "Ghost-writing" a LOR

Postby arkgawilson » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:17 am

weathercoins wrote:Thanks for the responses everyone.

I only did TA for him. But it involved a decent amount of work, a bit of research, and leading a weekend seminar, so I think it's enough for a strong rec.


This is a dream come true for many folks. All of my letter writers told me to do this, including one who is a JD/PhD/ABPP. While I was thankful for the opportunity to craft my letters around some of my unique background as someone who is applying to a dual-degree psychology and law program, I can say that in our residency process in psychology (could be comparing apples to oranges here) advocacy-based letters have a largely decreased impact on one's admission decisions, as everyone who gets a letter seems to be in the "top 5" percent of their cohort so to speak because of the issue of having less spots than there are people to fill them. So something I would keep in mind as you craft your letter is to not only report what makes you unique and a strong candidate, but what you can still learn from legal studies and in your own professional development. Not to say it should highlight a weakness necessarily, but having an area where you can learn goes a long ways in my opinion, and provides the readers with more genuine and authentic information than a strictly advocacy-based letter.

homie1515
Posts: 116
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:08 pm

Re: "Ghost-writing" a LOR

Postby homie1515 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:36 pm

I'm in the same position. What the hell do i write about myself? I don't know where to begin or what to emphasize. Any help?

User avatar
Dr. Dre
Posts: 2347
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:10 pm

Re: "Ghost-writing" a LOR

Postby Dr. Dre » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:43 pm

Say something like:

"John is a intelligent student. I have sent X amount of students to top 30 schools, and John is better than all of them combined."

homie1515
Posts: 116
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:08 pm

Re: "Ghost-writing" a LOR

Postby homie1515 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:48 pm

are you being sarcastic? that all i should write? lol

User avatar
Dr. Dre
Posts: 2347
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:10 pm

Re: "Ghost-writing" a LOR

Postby Dr. Dre » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:50 pm

no but that's a great place 2 start

homie1515
Posts: 116
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:08 pm

Re: "Ghost-writing" a LOR

Postby homie1515 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:51 pm

ok, great... thanks

User avatar
Shmoopy
Posts: 225
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:52 pm

Re: "Ghost-writing" a LOR

Postby Shmoopy » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:54 pm

Think about desirable qualities, then say that you have them.

homie1515
Posts: 116
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:08 pm

Re: "Ghost-writing" a LOR

Postby homie1515 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:03 pm

Shmoopy wrote:Think about desirable qualities, then say that you have them.


what are those desirable qualities? Thats what im having trouble coming up with. I don't know what to write about myself...

User avatar
Shmoopy
Posts: 225
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:52 pm

Re: "Ghost-writing" a LOR

Postby Shmoopy » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:06 pm

-
Last edited by Shmoopy on Sat Aug 03, 2013 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

homie1515
Posts: 116
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:08 pm

Re: "Ghost-writing" a LOR

Postby homie1515 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:07 pm

Shmoopy wrote:
homie1515 wrote:
what are those desirable qualities? Thats what im having trouble coming up with. I don't know what to write about myself...


Try some of these:

-academic fortitude and ability to excel in a rigorous academic environment
-ability to respond with resilience and efficiency to change, difficulties, problems
-diversity of background and experience
-intellectual curiosity
-ability to think analytically and solve complex problems
-strong interpersonal skills
-exceptional communication skills especially in writing and oral presentation
-self-motivation, drive, ambition, desire to excel, persistence
-time management: ability to juggle multiple competing priorities with ease
-diligence and conscientiousness
-maturity, concern for others, integrity, honesty
-determination; goal orientation
-potential for success



Thank you so much, exactly what i needed.

User avatar
Dr. Dre
Posts: 2347
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:10 pm

Re: "Ghost-writing" a LOR

Postby Dr. Dre » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:11 pm

just make sure you dont spend more time writing that letter than studying for lsat

homie1515
Posts: 116
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:08 pm

Re: "Ghost-writing" a LOR

Postby homie1515 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:14 pm

i've already taken the lsat, 170, but i may retake in june. I havent decided yet.

User avatar
arkgawilson
Posts: 155
Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:33 pm

Re: "Ghost-writing" a LOR

Postby arkgawilson » Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:52 am

homie1515 wrote:i've already taken the lsat, 170, but i may retake in june. I havent decided yet.


There really should be a forum for a LOR exchange for folks who have seen their letters or have to write their own! I'd share mine to help someone.

talesofyore
Posts: 294
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:21 pm

Re: "Ghost-writing" a LOR

Postby talesofyore » Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:35 pm

homie1515 wrote:
Shmoopy wrote:
homie1515 wrote:
what are those desirable qualities? Thats what im having trouble coming up with. I don't know what to write about myself...


Try some of these:

-academic fortitude and ability to excel in a rigorous academic environment
-ability to respond with resilience and efficiency to change, difficulties, problems
-diversity of background and experience
-intellectual curiosity
-ability to think analytically and solve complex problems
-strong interpersonal skills
-exceptional communication skills especially in writing and oral presentation
-self-motivation, drive, ambition, desire to excel, persistence
-time management: ability to juggle multiple competing priorities with ease
-diligence and conscientiousness
-maturity, concern for others, integrity, honesty
-determination; goal orientation
-potential for success



Thank you so much, exactly what i needed.


Make sure to try to get the word "leadership" in there somewhere.

homie1515
Posts: 116
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:08 pm

Re: "Ghost-writing" a LOR

Postby homie1515 » Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:06 pm

^^ Got it... Thanks.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Exabot [Bot], katthegreat11, mjb447, Orion311, WamBamThankYouMaam and 6 guests