Letter of Rec Timing

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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Four Winds
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Letter of Rec Timing

Postby Four Winds » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:36 pm

Hi all,

I just finished up undergrad last month and I'm taking a few gap years to work before going to law school.

Would it be better to go ahead and ask a couple of professors NOW to write me letters of rec? That way I'm still fresh in their mind/I don't have to worry about it next year when I'm applying. I casually mentioned it to a professor who seemed to think the "later the date of the letter, the better" but I don't really know where he's getting that from.

Thanks!
Last edited by Four Winds on Mon Dec 08, 2014 5:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Letter of Rec Timing

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:41 pm

I think there's a perception that a letter dated 2 years before you attend would look kind of stale and out of date. The prof certainly wouldn't be able to say anything about what you were up to during those 2 years. So I wouldn't try to get the actual letters now, but if you ask the profs now and they say yes, and they know your timeline, they can either draft something now, or make notes about you, or something along those lines to help them write a better letter when they need it.

(Or just ask the profs how they'd prefer to do it. I don't think a letter dated 2013 if you're applying 2014-15 is the end of the world, but a recent letter does probably look a little better.)

politics89
Posts: 377
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:50 am

Re: Letter of Rec Timing

Postby politics89 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:43 pm

I'm a year out from school and decided to apply next fall so I just sent the people I wanted to write for me a quick email just being like hey this is what I'm up to, I hope you can write me a letter next year. They seeemed very receptive. You might just want to try and keep a touch a bit.

Humbert Humbert
Posts: 400
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 3:46 pm

Re: Letter of Rec Timing

Postby Humbert Humbert » Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:08 pm

Four Winds wrote:Hi all,

I just finished up undergrad last month and I'm taking two gap years to work in NYC before going to law school (so I'm planning to apply in Fall 2014).

Would it be better to go ahead and ask a couple of professors NOW to write me letters of rec? That way I'm still fresh in their mind/I don't have to worry about it next year when I'm applying. I casually mentioned it to a professor who seemed to think the "later the date of the letter, the better" but I don't really know where he's getting that from.

Thanks!


I graduated in spring 2012 and am applying to law school this fall. I got a letter from someone in my current firm, and a letter from a college professor. I asked for both in early July, letting them know that I needed them by Sept. 1. The professor had no issue with this. He asked for an essay I wrote in his class, a copy of my resume, a copy of my transcript, and a brief background on what I'm up to now. He remembered me perfectly well and I'm sure his letter will be solid.

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TheSpanishMain
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Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:26 pm

Re: Letter of Rec Timing

Postby TheSpanishMain » Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:11 pm

How well do you know the professor? Do you have a mentor relationship with him/her? Did you work on some big project/senior thesis/publication where you worked closely with them over an extended period of time? Or is it just like, "Yeah, Four Winds took my English 305 class. He got an A and was a good student."

If it's the former, I would say hold off on getting the LORs and just touch base with them from time to time over the next few years. I don't mean deluge their inbox constantly, but just an email every six months would be fine.

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

Re: Letter of Rec Timing

Postby Ti Malice » Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:39 pm

Humbert Humbert wrote:
Four Winds wrote:Hi all,

I just finished up undergrad last month and I'm taking two gap years to work in NYC before going to law school (so I'm planning to apply in Fall 2014).

Would it be better to go ahead and ask a couple of professors NOW to write me letters of rec? That way I'm still fresh in their mind/I don't have to worry about it next year when I'm applying. I casually mentioned it to a professor who seemed to think the "later the date of the letter, the better" but I don't really know where he's getting that from.

Thanks!


I graduated in spring 2012 and am applying to law school this fall. I got a letter from someone in my current firm, and a letter from a college professor. I asked for both in early July, letting them know that I needed them by Sept. 1. The professor had no issue with this. He asked for an essay I wrote in his class, a copy of my resume, a copy of my transcript, and a brief background on what I'm up to now. He remembered me perfectly well and I'm sure his letter will be solid.


You should really try to get two academic letters.

Humbert Humbert
Posts: 400
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 3:46 pm

Re: Letter of Rec Timing

Postby Humbert Humbert » Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:22 pm

Ti Malice wrote:
Humbert Humbert wrote:
Four Winds wrote:Hi all,

I just finished up undergrad last month and I'm taking two gap years to work in NYC before going to law school (so I'm planning to apply in Fall 2014).

Would it be better to go ahead and ask a couple of professors NOW to write me letters of rec? That way I'm still fresh in their mind/I don't have to worry about it next year when I'm applying. I casually mentioned it to a professor who seemed to think the "later the date of the letter, the better" but I don't really know where he's getting that from.

Thanks!


I graduated in spring 2012 and am applying to law school this fall. I got a letter from someone in my current firm, and a letter from a college professor. I asked for both in early July, letting them know that I needed them by Sept. 1. The professor had no issue with this. He asked for an essay I wrote in his class, a copy of my resume, a copy of my transcript, and a brief background on what I'm up to now. He remembered me perfectly well and I'm sure his letter will be solid.


You should really try to get two academic letters.


Why? The one from the professor will attest to my academic strengths, while the one from the partner at my firm will speak to my professionalism, maturity, substantive work experience, etc. The latter is something K-JD applicants won't have, so I feel it is worth emphasizing. The letter itself is well-written, and it's from a partner who has held (or currently holds) teaching positions a handful of the schools I am applying to, so I think I'll be well-served by it.

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Young Marino
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Re: Letter of Rec Timing

Postby Young Marino » Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:44 pm

I'm still waiting on my 2 letters of recommendation for this cycle. Both profs agreed to write one but they've been M.I.A. all summer.. I think the beginning of the academic year is when you should be expecting it.. At least that's when I'm hoping to get mine

magickware
Posts: 359
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:27 pm

Re: Letter of Rec Timing

Postby magickware » Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:26 pm

ALeal90 wrote:I'm still waiting on my 2 letters of recommendation for this cycle. Both profs agreed to write one but they've been M.I.A. all summer.. I think the beginning of the academic year is when you should be expecting it.. At least that's when I'm hoping to get mine


I regret waiting so long (asked in mid July), for my letters. Professors haven't responded yet, and I realized that they're probably not going to bother checking their mail during summer break.

I want to send another letter, but I'm scared of them feeling like I'm being a pest.

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

Re: Letter of Rec Timing

Postby Ti Malice » Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:27 pm

Humbert Humbert wrote:
Ti Malice wrote:
Humbert Humbert wrote:
Four Winds wrote:Hi all,

I just finished up undergrad last month and I'm taking two gap years to work in NYC before going to law school (so I'm planning to apply in Fall 2014).

Would it be better to go ahead and ask a couple of professors NOW to write me letters of rec? That way I'm still fresh in their mind/I don't have to worry about it next year when I'm applying. I casually mentioned it to a professor who seemed to think the "later the date of the letter, the better" but I don't really know where he's getting that from.

Thanks!


I graduated in spring 2012 and am applying to law school this fall. I got a letter from someone in my current firm, and a letter from a college professor. I asked for both in early July, letting them know that I needed them by Sept. 1. The professor had no issue with this. He asked for an essay I wrote in his class, a copy of my resume, a copy of my transcript, and a brief background on what I'm up to now. He remembered me perfectly well and I'm sure his letter will be solid.


You should really try to get two academic letters.


Why? The one from the professor will attest to my academic strengths, while the one from the partner at my firm will speak to my professionalism, maturity, substantive work experience, etc. The latter is something K-JD applicants won't have, so I feel it is worth emphasizing. The letter itself is well-written, and it's from a partner who has held (or currently holds) teaching positions a handful of the schools I am applying to, so I think I'll be well-served by it.


Because, to the extent that they care about LORs at all, adcomms strongly prefer letters from people who have evaluated your academic work in an academic setting. I never said not to include your employer's LOR. That's fine as an extra letter, but two academic letters should always be included, especially when you haven't been out of undergrad for many years.




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