LOR Questions

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
theycallmefoes
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LOR Questions

Postby theycallmefoes » Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:35 am

I have 5 LORs. 4 are from professors who know me really well who were all enthusiastic about writing the LOR.

The 5th is from my boss from a political campaign internship, which I did for 2 summers (as well as part-time, whenever I had the time, during the academic year). I was the only intern to stick with the campaign the entire time, and my boss seemed quite willing to write the LOR. However, having just graduated in December, is the internship LOR less valuable than the academic ones? The pre-law advisor at my undergrad (a current 2L student) said that "having a combination" or academic and work/internship LORs is "always better," but is that really the case?

But my main question is this: If a school requires 2 LORs but will accept up to 4, should I go ahead and submit 4 LORs? I honestly think that all the academic LORs will be strong. I've heard people say that they should each contribute something "distinct" to my application, but it's pretty unclear to me how exactly one is supposed to evaluate this, having waived the right to view the letters.
Last edited by theycallmefoes on Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:54 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Kimikho
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Re: Too many LORs?

Postby Kimikho » Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:18 am

submit three, hold one academic one for waitlists.

theycallmefoes
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Re: Too many LORs?

Postby theycallmefoes » Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:57 am

scoobers wrote:submit three, hold one academic one for waitlists.

Good idea. Thanks.

Any other thoughts?

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wealtheow
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Re: Too many LORs?

Postby wealtheow » Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:54 am

Not to thread-jack, but I'm wondering about this too. I have four very strong academic letters ready to go. In the event of a wait-list, I have two more professors who would be happy to write... so I'm wondering, why not go ahead and submit the four I have? Could it hurt?

theycallmefoes
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Re: Too many LORs?

Postby theycallmefoes » Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:13 pm

wealtheow wrote:Not to thread-jack, but I'm wondering about this too. I have four very strong academic letters ready to go. In the event of a wait-list, I have two more professors who would be happy to write... so I'm wondering, why not go ahead and submit the four I have? Could it hurt?

Not thread-jacking at all - exactly what I'm wondering.

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malleus discentium
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Re: Too many LORs?

Postby malleus discentium » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:21 am

More is not better in law school applications. To the extent that law schools care about LORs at all, they want exactly two academic ones. A professional one is okay if you've been out of school for a while, and having three is okay if they're all stellar. Otherwise, a mediocre third (or heaven forfend a fourth) letter dilutes the power of two strong ones. And adcoms want academic letters over professional ones every time; you're applying to a school, after all.

Also, remember that you did not waive your ability to see the letter. You waived the right under FERPA to demand that the law school where you matriculate show you the letters. You are perfectly permitted to see, and provide feedback on, the letters (to the extent that the writer is comfortable with that, of course). The benefit of having four academic letters is that, ideally, you'll have read them all and you'll be able to tell which ones are actually the strongest and then submit those.

theycallmefoes
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Re: Too many LORs?

Postby theycallmefoes » Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:22 pm

malleus discentium wrote:More is not better in law school applications. To the extent that law schools care about LORs at all, they want exactly two academic ones. A professional one is okay if you've been out of school for a while, and having three is okay if they're all stellar. Otherwise, a mediocre third (or heaven forfend a fourth) letter dilutes the power of two strong ones. And adcoms want academic letters over professional ones every time; you're applying to a school, after all.
Okay, so we have one vote firmly against sending all the LORs. Anybody else have an opinion?
malleus discentium wrote:Also, remember that you did not waive your ability to see the letter. You waived the right under FERPA to demand that the law school where you matriculate show you the letters. You are perfectly permitted to see, and provide feedback on, the letters (to the extent that the writer is comfortable with that, of course). The benefit of having four academic letters is that, ideally, you'll have read them all and you'll be able to tell which ones are actually the strongest and then submit those.
Wait. Really?

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cron1834
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Re: Too many LORs?

Postby cron1834 » Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:39 pm

scoobers wrote:submit three, hold one academic one for waitlists.


Do this.

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wealtheow
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Re: Too many LORs?

Postby wealtheow » Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:10 am

ffffff. now i feel bad asking the fourth prof.

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Nonconsecutive
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Re: Too many LORs?

Postby Nonconsecutive » Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:12 am

I had five letters, only ended up using 3 of them.

theycallmefoes wrote:
malleus discentium wrote:Also, remember that you did not waive your ability to see the letter. You waived the right under FERPA to demand that the law school where you matriculate show you the letters. You are perfectly permitted to see, and provide feedback on, the letters (to the extent that the writer is comfortable with that, of course). The benefit of having four academic letters is that, ideally, you'll have read them all and you'll be able to tell which ones are actually the strongest and then submit those.
Wait. Really?


Yep, though only one of my writers offered this transparency, it is correct.

theycallmefoes
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Re: Too many LORs?

Postby theycallmefoes » Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:17 am

cron1834 wrote:
scoobers wrote:submit three, hold one academic one for waitlists.
Do this.
I'll probably do this for a few schools, but I'm largely only applying to schools where I'm at or above both medians, so I kind of want to lay all my cards on the table from the start, when schools will be doling out scholarships.

theycallmefoes
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Re: Too many LORs?

Postby theycallmefoes » Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:19 am

Nonconsecutive wrote:I had five letters, only ended up using 3 of them.
theycallmefoes wrote:
malleus discentium wrote:Also, remember that you did not waive your ability to see the letter. You waived the right under FERPA to demand that the law school where you matriculate show you the letters. You are perfectly permitted to see, and provide feedback on, the letters (to the extent that the writer is comfortable with that, of course). The benefit of having four academic letters is that, ideally, you'll have read them all and you'll be able to tell which ones are actually the strongest and then submit those.
Wait. Really?
Yep, though only one of my writers offered this transparency, it is correct.
asdkjfieijafslkjkeaef. If I had realized this, I would have approached this process quite differently. Oh well.

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malleus discentium
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Re: Too many LORs?

Postby malleus discentium » Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:22 am

theycallmefoes wrote:
malleus discentium wrote:Also, remember that you did not waive your ability to see the letter. You waived the right under FERPA to demand that the law school where you matriculate show you the letters. You are perfectly permitted to see, and provide feedback on, the letters (to the extent that the writer is comfortable with that, of course). The benefit of having four academic letters is that, ideally, you'll have read them all and you'll be able to tell which ones are actually the strongest and then submit those.
Wait. Really?

Yes. Read the text of the waiver closely. You're waiving the FERPA rights. You're not saying you didn't see the letter.

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wealtheow
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Re: Too many LORs?

Postby wealtheow » Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:25 am

man, i am so conflicted. submitting first thing in the morning so i have to make up my mind.

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malleus discentium
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Re: Too many LORs?

Postby malleus discentium » Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:29 am

wealtheow wrote:man, i am so conflicted. submitting first thing in the morning so i have to make up my mind.

Rushing applications because you're unsure is a bad life plan :D

theycallmefoes
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Re: Too many LORs?

Postby theycallmefoes » Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:27 am

I have another question related to LORs: if I submit some applications with only 2 LORs and choose to submit another one later, and the recommender submitted his/her letter online through LSAC, will LSAC automatically forward the letter to the schools? Or would I have to send it to them directly?

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nothingtosee
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Re: Too many LORs?

Postby nothingtosee » Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:33 am

It would also be better to have your letters (2) show different parts of your academic strengths. E.g. you wouldn't want two letters both from poly sci professors if they're going to say the same things. So if you think/know that you can pick a pair that would say different things about the ways in which you rock, you would be in a better position.

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wealtheow
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Re: Too many LORs?

Postby wealtheow » Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:39 pm

malleus discentium wrote:
wealtheow wrote:man, i am so conflicted. submitting first thing in the morning so i have to make up my mind.

Rushing applications because you're unsure is a bad life plan :D


no harm done, i never meet my own deadlines anyway.
just gonna go with three i think, and save the fourth for... wl i guess.

theycallmefoes
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Re: Too many LORs?

Postby theycallmefoes » Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:43 pm

If I've submitted the maximum number of LORs at a school - say, 3 - is it acceptable to ask at a later point if I can submit an additional LOR? For example, to supplement a LOCI, or to help get off the WL? Or are those numbers hard limits?

Kimikho
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Re: Too many LORs?

Postby Kimikho » Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:55 pm

theycallmefoes wrote:If I've submitted the maximum number of LORs at a school - say, 3 - is it acceptable to ask at a later point if I can submit an additional LOR? For example, to supplement a LOCI, or to help get off the WL? Or are those numbers hard limits?


You can almost always send in an extra one for a LOCI or to get off a waitlist.

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Cicero76
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Re: Too many LORs?

Postby Cicero76 » Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:54 pm

Strictly objectively, one of your LORs is your best one. Another is your second best. After that, no matter how good the third is, it's just reducing the impact of your first two. Beyond three, diminishing returns are even worse.

Imagine your first letter says you're an excellent astronaut with three perfect spacewalks. Your second says that you cured cancer and saved millions of lives. Your third days you won every prize in your UG. Your fourth says you were the best writer in your department at work.

The lather ones are just distracting from the first. An adcom might say, "if he/she is so awesome, why must she belabor the point so much? Is it all hyperbole? Do I trust the stellar one or only the very good one?"

Don't overload them, especially if the letters are redundant. Make your point with concision so that their eyes don't have to glaze over halfway through reading your app.

theycallmefoes
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Re: Too many LORs?

Postby theycallmefoes » Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:53 pm

Piggy-backing on my thread with another LOR question: Do law schools generally send thank-you e-mails for LORs? Rather, if such an e-mail was sent by a school, is it likely just standard practice? A professor e-mailed me to let me know that the school sent her an e-mail thanking her for her LOR. Just wondering if such e-mails are sent automatically.




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