Yale Law Recommendations

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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Ren
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Yale Law Recommendations

Postby Ren » Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:36 pm

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Last edited by Ren on Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:16 am, edited 2 times in total.

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MoMettaMonk
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Re: Yale Law Recommendations

Postby MoMettaMonk » Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:41 pm

If you just heard the dean of admissions say that they think two professor recommendations are incredibly important, and said dean of admissions has previously written blog posts SPECIFICALLY about how important professor recommendations are at YLS, why would you not take the small amount of extra effort it takes to secure another professor LoR?

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xylocarp
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Re: Yale Law Recommendations

Postby xylocarp » Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:44 pm

"One of those rules is to submit two references from faculty members who have taught you in a class. Let me put that another way: Your chances of admission to Yale Law School go down drastically if you submit only one or no academic letters of recommendation. Or let me break it down even further: Your letters of recommendation will make or break your application." - Asha

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koalacity
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Re: Yale Law Recommendations

Postby koalacity » Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:44 pm

Y isn't rolling, so hold off on submitting your apps until you can secure that second academic LOR-applying later won't hurt you, but applying with only one academic LOR will (at least at Y).

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xylocarp
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Re: Yale Law Recommendations

Postby xylocarp » Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:45 pm

Also, applying earlier versus later doesn't matter for Yale, so as long as you can get the other LOR (which you obviously should) before the deadline, you'll be fine.

ETA: scooped

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Ren
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Re: Yale Law Recommendations

Postby Ren » Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:51 pm

Thank you all. Point made!

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Ren
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Re: Yale Law Recommendations

Postby Ren » Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:53 pm

This is unique to Yale right? My chances at other schools are not hurt by the single prof rec?

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midwest17
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Re: Yale Law Recommendations

Postby midwest17 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:56 pm

Is there a sense about how important it is to have professor recs, as opposed to graduate students who led small seminars? (Not TAs - the graduate student was the only instructor.)

Asha tends to say "professor", but she never specifically addresses this other possibility, and most of the reasons she says that they prefer professors would also apply to graduate student instructors.

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MoMettaMonk
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Re: Yale Law Recommendations

Postby MoMettaMonk » Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:57 pm

Ren wrote:This is unique to Yale right? My chances at other schools are not hurt by the single prof rec?


We don't have anything quite so black and white for other schools (at least not that I've seen).

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malleus discentium
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Re: Yale Law Recommendations

Postby malleus discentium » Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:49 pm

midwest17 wrote:Is there a sense about how important it is to have professor recs, as opposed to graduate students who led small seminars? (Not TAs - the graduate student was the only instructor.)

Asha tends to say "professor", but she never specifically addresses this other possibility, and most of the reasons she says that they prefer professors would also apply to graduate student instructors.

Asha addressed this exact question during the webinar today. All else being equal, a professor will probably write a better LOR because they will have a broader frame of reference to compare you. Other than that, though, she gave no indication that a professor is better than a TA or graduate student, so long as the TA/GS can speak persuasively about your intellectual ability.

huetohold
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Re: Yale Law Recommendations

Postby huetohold » Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:17 pm

As Asha stated in this blog post:

Keep in mind that it is the detail provided in the reference, and not the grade that you received in the class, that matters most. This is a little hard to control since you will (if you are wise) waive your right to read the recommendation. But know that even a detailed reference from a TA who can give specific examples of your superior analytical ability, your writing, and the insights you were able to make into the subject material is preferable to a general, perfunctory reference from a big-name prof who gave you an A but can't remember what you look like. And someone who has worked with you over a period of time -- for example, a senior thesis advisor -- who can talk about a particular topic you've explored, the depth of your research, and the cogency of your argument, is an ideal recommender.


Given that most people who are admitted will have had their files read by at least three YLS professors - who, even if subconsciously, will just naturally be influenced by things like academic position - I don't think it's inconsistent with Asha's statement to say that successful recommendations from non-professors probably have to provide at least a little more detail about your academic ability than recommendations from tenured faculty. That's probably a moot point in the larger scheme of things, though, because any successful recommendation, regardless of who writes it, will probably be very detailed.

Ti Malice
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Re: Yale Law Recommendations

Postby Ti Malice » Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:57 pm

Ren wrote:This is unique to Yale right? My chances at other schools are not hurt by the single prof rec?


I wouldn't say it's unique to Yale. No other school has made it so clear that two academic LORs are so strongly favored, but Stanford and Berkeley are two other schools that place a great deal of weight on non-numerical components of the application. LORs certainly matter there. Even at Harvard numbers aren't entirely predictive. Think about all of the applicants you're competing against for a spot at YHS. Virtually all of the strongest ones will have been able to secure two strong academic letters.

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midwest17
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Re: Yale Law Recommendations

Postby midwest17 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:53 pm

malleus discentium wrote:
midwest17 wrote:Is there a sense about how important it is to have professor recs, as opposed to graduate students who led small seminars? (Not TAs - the graduate student was the only instructor.)

Asha tends to say "professor", but she never specifically addresses this other possibility, and most of the reasons she says that they prefer professors would also apply to graduate student instructors.

Asha addressed this exact question during the webinar today. All else being equal, a professor will probably write a better LOR because they will have a broader frame of reference to compare you. Other than that, though, she gave no indication that a professor is better than a TA or graduate student, so long as the TA/GS can speak persuasively about your intellectual ability.


Cool, thanks. I think the graduate student in question is going to outstrip other potential faculty recommenders in quality, so since it sounds like it isn't a huge downside I'll stick with him.

bp shinners
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Re: Yale Law Recommendations

Postby bp shinners » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:32 pm

midwest17 wrote:
malleus discentium wrote:
midwest17 wrote:Is there a sense about how important it is to have professor recs, as opposed to graduate students who led small seminars? (Not TAs - the graduate student was the only instructor.)

Asha tends to say "professor", but she never specifically addresses this other possibility, and most of the reasons she says that they prefer professors would also apply to graduate student instructors.

Asha addressed this exact question during the webinar today. All else being equal, a professor will probably write a better LOR because they will have a broader frame of reference to compare you. Other than that, though, she gave no indication that a professor is better than a TA or graduate student, so long as the TA/GS can speak persuasively about your intellectual ability.


Cool, thanks. I think the graduate student in question is going to outstrip other potential faculty recommenders in quality, so since it sounds like it isn't a huge downside I'll stick with him.


You can also always ask the professor to co-sign the letter after the grad student writes it.

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midwest17
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Re: Yale Law Recommendations

Postby midwest17 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:28 pm

bp shinners wrote:
midwest17 wrote:
malleus discentium wrote:
midwest17 wrote:Is there a sense about how important it is to have professor recs, as opposed to graduate students who led small seminars? (Not TAs - the graduate student was the only instructor.)

Asha tends to say "professor", but she never specifically addresses this other possibility, and most of the reasons she says that they prefer professors would also apply to graduate student instructors.

Asha addressed this exact question during the webinar today. All else being equal, a professor will probably write a better LOR because they will have a broader frame of reference to compare you. Other than that, though, she gave no indication that a professor is better than a TA or graduate student, so long as the TA/GS can speak persuasively about your intellectual ability.


Cool, thanks. I think the graduate student in question is going to outstrip other potential faculty recommenders in quality, so since it sounds like it isn't a huge downside I'll stick with him.


You can also always ask the professor to co-sign the letter after the grad student writes it.


This particular course (a very small seminar) was taught by a graduate student; there is no professor.

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t-14orbust
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Re: Yale Law Recommendations

Postby t-14orbust » Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:30 pm

Anyone know if it's significantly detrimental to an app to have one rec from a non-tenured professor? It was a very discussion oriented type class that involved a lot of participation.

Ti Malice
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Re: Yale Law Recommendations

Postby Ti Malice » Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:57 pm

t-14orbust wrote:Anyone know if it's significantly detrimental to an app to have one rec from a non-tenured professor? It was a very discussion oriented type class that involved a lot of participation.


The professor's title itself is unimportant. Naturally, statements proclaiming you to be the most gifted student the professor has ever had can carry more weight if that professor has been teaching for a long time (only speaking for Yale here -- and this comes straight from an application evaluator's mouth). If the non-tenured professor has been working as an instructor for a long time, then his title is a non-issue.

Caveat: If Amartya Sen or Daniel Kahneman is writing that you're their most gifted student ever, that will probably carry you a good deal further than your run-of-the-mill professor, tenured or not.




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