LOR - from whom?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
questionsandanswers
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LOR - from whom?

Postby questionsandanswers » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:25 am

I am debating from whom I should get my LORs from.
I have already decided on one professor for the first LOR, but for the second LOR, I'm debating between another professor, and a field person from a pretty high position at an IO that I used to work for and who has a good opinion of me, but is rather stingy and strict. But his credentials are really good, and the fact that I used to work for that IO is a major soft for me.
Both potential recommenders have a good opinion of me... I think... :P
+ is it possible to get several dif LORs and submit different LORs to different schools? For example, Yale puts emphasis on academics so I would go with LORs from two profs for that school, but maybe I would get one prof and one field person for Harvard/Stanford. What is your opinion?

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TripTrip
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Re: LOR - from whom?

Postby TripTrip » Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:12 am

questionsandanswers wrote:I am debating from whom I should get my LORs from.
I have already decided on one professor for the first LOR, but for the second LOR, I'm debating between another professor, and a field person from a pretty high position at an IO that I used to work for and who has a good opinion of me, but is rather stingy and strict. But his credentials are really good, and the fact that I used to work for that IO is a major soft for me.
Both potential recommenders have a good opinion of me... I think... :P
+ is it possible to get several dif LORs and submit different LORs to different schools? For example, Yale puts emphasis on academics so I would go with LORs from two profs for that school, but maybe I would get one prof and one field person for Harvard/Stanford. What is your opinion?

"A field person at an IO"? That's ludicrously vague.

Go with the professor eleven times out of ten. If you don't have two academic recommenders, you'll be at a serious disadvantage at many schools besides Yale.

questionsandanswers
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Re: LOR - from whom?

Postby questionsandanswers » Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:47 am

TripTrip wrote:
questionsandanswers wrote:I am debating from whom I should get my LORs from.
I have already decided on one professor for the first LOR, but for the second LOR, I'm debating between another professor, and a field person from a pretty high position at an IO that I used to work for and who has a good opinion of me, but is rather stingy and strict. But his credentials are really good, and the fact that I used to work for that IO is a major soft for me.
Both potential recommenders have a good opinion of me... I think... :P
+ is it possible to get several dif LORs and submit different LORs to different schools? For example, Yale puts emphasis on academics so I would go with LORs from two profs for that school, but maybe I would get one prof and one field person for Harvard/Stanford. What is your opinion?

"A field person at an IO"? That's ludicrously vague.

Go with the professor eleven times out of ten. If you don't have two academic recommenders, you'll be at a serious disadvantage at many schools besides Yale.


More concretely, director at a UN office.
I didn't know that academic recommenders were so much preferred. I would have thought the opposite, especially since I am still a UG student.
Thanks!

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ariadne328
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Re: LOR - from whom?

Postby ariadne328 » Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:55 am

questionsandanswers wrote:+ is it possible to get several dif LORs and submit different LORs to different schools? For example, Yale puts emphasis on academics so I would go with LORs from two profs for that school, but maybe I would get one prof and one field person for Harvard/Stanford. What is your opinion?

Yes. Get all three. The LSAC will allow you to choose which you send to each school individually.

I agree with Trip that not having at least two academic references would be a hinderance, especially with you still being in school. You are going from one academic setting to another, they is what they want to hear about. Perhaps keep the UN recommendation as a possible third for school that accept it.

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phillywc
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Re: LOR - from whom?

Postby phillywc » Sat Jun 01, 2013 12:00 pm

What is the general opinion on two academic and a work letter for schools that accept 3?

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North
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Re: LOR - from whom?

Postby North » Sat Jun 01, 2013 12:34 pm

phillywc wrote:What is the general opinion on two academic and a work letter for schools that accept 3?

The general opinion is that that's fine, provided that each letter (1) adds something about you that wouldn't otherwise be noted in your application and (2) is written by someone who knows you well.

Ti Malice
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Re: LOR - from whom?

Postby Ti Malice » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:34 pm

North wrote:
phillywc wrote:What is the general opinion on two academic and a work letter for schools that accept 3?

The general opinion is that that's fine, provided that each letter (1) adds something about you that wouldn't otherwise be noted in your application and (2) is written by someone who knows you well.


Exactly. A lot of work-related LORs read like boilerplate fluff, though. If it's not providing very specific, insightful, and positive illustrations of your character and abilities, then it's not adding anything to your application. Schools are not going to be wowed by a letter from a judge, a Senator, or a UN official if it's just your standard, boring, generic positive letter.

But your first two letters should always be academic LORs.

questionsandanswers
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Re: LOR - from whom?

Postby questionsandanswers » Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:33 am

Thanks for all the replies :) I'll make sure to get two academic LORs, I'll have to think about getting the third one - not sure if the hassle of getting it is worth the trouble... Plus I got the impression from Y or H dean interviews (can't remember which) that 3 recs were almost frowned upon.... true?

Another question though - if I get two academic recommenders, should I ask them to write separate letters for each school that I'm applying to? If LSAC allows you to do that I would think that's the best scenario, but at the same time I'm not sure if LSAC allows one recommender to submit multiple LORs.

Thanks a lot, getting lots of good advice (especially when you're studying abroad and don't have a pre-law adviser or any other resources available)

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North
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Re: LOR - from whom?

Postby North » Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:45 am

questionsandanswers wrote:Another question though - if I get two academic recommenders, should I ask them to write separate letters for each school that I'm applying to? If LSAC allows you to do that I would think that's the best scenario, but at the same time I'm not sure if LSAC allows one recommender to submit multiple LORs.

Don't... don't do that to your recommenders. They only need to write one generic letter and upload it to CAS. You'll attach that generic letter to each school's application. AdComms neither expect not appreciate a letter that says "Dear DUKE LAW" at the top and "would be a great addition to next year's class at DUKE LAW" at the bottom. Only case where this might not apply is if one of your recommenders is an alum of an LS you're applying to.

questionsandanswers wrote:(especially when you're studying abroad and don't have a pre-law adviser or any other resources available)

Pre-law advisers are almost universally uninformed and full of bad advice. Just use TLS.

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TripTrip
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Re: LOR - from whom?

Postby TripTrip » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:07 am

North wrote:
questionsandanswers wrote:Another question though - if I get two academic recommenders, should I ask them to write separate letters for each school that I'm applying to? If LSAC allows you to do that I would think that's the best scenario, but at the same time I'm not sure if LSAC allows one recommender to submit multiple LORs.

Don't... don't do that to your recommenders. They only need to write one generic letter and upload it to CAS. You'll attach that generic letter to each school's application. AdComms neither expect not appreciate a letter that says "Dear DUKE LAW" at the top and "would be a great addition to next year's class at DUKE LAW" at the bottom. Only case where this might not apply is if one of your recommenders is an alum of an LS you're applying to.

questionsandanswers wrote:(especially when you're studying abroad and don't have a pre-law adviser or any other resources available)

Pre-law advisers are almost universally uninformed and full of bad advice. Just use TLS.

North is credited on both accounts.

Don't use targeted LORs unless there a specific reason a prof should target a school.

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AT9
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Re: LOR - from whom?

Postby AT9 » Sun Jun 09, 2013 1:24 am

I've been wondering about LOR too. Taking the LSAT Monday and applying this fall, so I'll need them soon. I've been out of college for two years and I didn't make any meaningful connections with professors, especially any that would be remembered by a prof two years later.

That being said, I've been working as a case manager for a product liability firm from graduation until now (and, barring something crazy, will be until law school). Will 2/3 LOR from my attorney bosses be good, or will having no profs weaken my applications? I thought solid letters from practicing and well-respected attorneys would be about as good as it gets, but some of the comments here have me second-guessing myself. The people writing the letters would be completely familiar with my work since I often work with them directly.

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ManOfTheMinute
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Re: LOR - from whom?

Postby ManOfTheMinute » Sun Jun 09, 2013 1:27 am

AT9 wrote:I've been wondering about LOR too. Taking the LSAT Monday and applying this fall, so I'll need them soon. I've been out of college for two years and I didn't make any meaningful connections with professors, especially any that would be remembered by a prof two years later.

That being said, I've been working as a case manager for a product liability firm from graduation until now (and, barring something crazy, will be until law school). Will 2/3 LOR from my attorney bosses be good, or will having no profs weaken my applications? I thought solid letters from practicing and well-respected attorneys would be about as good as it gets, but some of the comments here have me second-guessing myself. The people writing the letters would be completely familiar with my work since I often work with them directly.


Incorrect. Top law schools want info from people who have judged your academic ability - since its the one measuring stick that everyone can be compared to. Find a way to make some "meaningful connections," knowing that they don't have to be meaningful, only good enough to have them write a letter for you.

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AT9
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Re: LOR - from whom?

Postby AT9 » Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:25 am

ManOfTheMinute wrote:
AT9 wrote:I've been wondering about LOR too. Taking the LSAT Monday and applying this fall, so I'll need them soon. I've been out of college for two years and I didn't make any meaningful connections with professors, especially any that would be remembered by a prof two years later.

That being said, I've been working as a case manager for a product liability firm from graduation until now (and, barring something crazy, will be until law school). Will 2/3 LOR from my attorney bosses be good, or will having no profs weaken my applications? I thought solid letters from practicing and well-respected attorneys would be about as good as it gets, but some of the comments here have me second-guessing myself. The people writing the letters would be completely familiar with my work since I often work with them directly.


Incorrect. Top law schools want info from people who have judged your academic ability - since its the one measuring stick that everyone can be compared to. Find a way to make some "meaningful connections," knowing that they don't have to be meaningful, only good enough to have them write a letter for you.


Well, that sucks. Doesn't the GPA serve that function well enough??

What, then, would be the recommended number? At least 1 from a prof and the rest from my employer?

Ti Malice
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Re: LOR - from whom?

Postby Ti Malice » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:26 pm

AT9 wrote:I've been out of college for two years and I didn't make any meaningful connections with professors, especially any that would be remembered by a prof two years later.


It's helpful but certainly not necessary to have been chummy with your recommenders. Have you kept some of your old graded papers? Did you do any particularly impressive writing for a class or two? Taking a professor examples of the excellent work you did in his/her class is probably the best way to get a strong LOR out of someone that wouldn't remember you. But even that isn't really necessary, unless you're shooting for the very top schools.

Will 2/3 LOR from my attorney bosses be good, or will having no profs weaken my applications? I thought solid letters from practicing and well-respected attorneys would be about as good as it gets, but some of the comments here have me second-guessing myself.


For most law schools LORs count for essentially nothing (unless they're negative), but this is still inadvisable. LORs carry no additional weight just because they come from an attorney, judge, senator, or anyone else. Law school is an academic environment, and to the extent they care at all, adcomms want to see assessments from people who have evaluated you academically much more than anything else. An attorney can say that you're a competent employee, but none of the work you're doing in a non-lawyer position in a law office is as intellectually challenging as good college coursework, and your supervisor's opinions of your work product don't mean much of anything as to your ability to succeed in law school. And submitting only one academic LOR when you're only two years out of school naturally makes one wonder why you weren't capable of getting more than one.

The people writing the letters would be completely familiar with my work since I often work with them directly.


Doesn't matter. See above.

Doesn't the GPA serve that function well enough??


Not really. High GPAs are a dime a dozen. At any number of schools, you can load up on easy classes and make As without ever really having said anything particularly original and insightful. I'm stunned by the number of people I've met over the years who hardly did any meaningful writing in college at all.

What, then, would be the recommended number? At least 1 from a prof and the rest from my employer?


You need two academic LORs. You can include one from your employer, but definitely do not include two.




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