How common are "personal" letters from law schools?

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Oskosh
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How common are "personal" letters from law schools?

Postby Oskosh » Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:58 pm

I got a personal letter from Yale (so did a select number of minorities...) encouraging me to apply. The fact really elated me, but I got a relatively low LSAT score (161). They also said that I can apply any time without it impacting my test score. I truly believe that my LSAT score was an anomaly (was testing low 170s), and will try it again in December. Should I try applying in December, or should I wait until September (since I'll have a chance to take the June LSAT, too). Thanks.

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Oskosh
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Re: How common are "personal" letters from law schools?

Postby Oskosh » Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:02 pm

I know for a fact that my personal statement and LoRs are very strong (my recommenders adore me, and they are all academic), which Yale says they value...

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ManoftheHour
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Re: How common are "personal" letters from law schools?

Postby ManoftheHour » Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:06 pm

Very common. I got one from Stanford and I sure as hell didn't get in. I got an unsolicited fee waiver from Boalt asking me to apply and they rejected me in 2 weeks.

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sims1
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Re: How common are "personal" letters from law schools?

Postby sims1 » Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:08 pm

They just want more people to apply so they can reject you and make themselves look more selective.

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ManoftheHour
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Re: How common are "personal" letters from law schools?

Postby ManoftheHour » Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:13 pm

Oskosh wrote:I know for a fact that my personal statement and LoRs are very strong (my recommenders adore me, and they are all academic), which Yale says they value...

Everyone thinks this. Also, how would Yale know that without you actually applying?

Retaking is your best chance. If you were PTing in the 170s, you most likely just had a bad day. Get the score you deserve and then apply. Good luck!
Last edited by ManoftheHour on Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Oskosh
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Re: How common are "personal" letters from law schools?

Postby Oskosh » Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:14 pm

sims1 wrote:They just want more people to apply so they can reject you and make themselves look more selective.

Damn them. I mean my GPA is pretty high, and if I'm able to increase my LSAT score, I should still apply, right?

3.78 GPA, URM (Mexican), great LORs (3 academic), okay resume (did TFA?), and let's say 172 LSAT... Decent chance or no?

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Oskosh
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Re: How common are "personal" letters from law schools?

Postby Oskosh » Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:16 pm

ManoftheHour wrote:
Oskosh wrote:I know for a fact that my personal statement and LoRs are very strong (my recommenders adore me, and they are all academic), which Yale says they value...

Everyone thinks this. Also, how would Yale know that without you actually applying?

My recommenders don't write recommendations for anyone, and one of them used to run the UT Graduate Writing Center, used to review LoRs/personal statements for UT, and the other was in charge of the Slavic Department. The weakest I can think would be the third recommender, who only recently was tenured.

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ManoftheHour
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Re: How common are "personal" letters from law schools?

Postby ManoftheHour » Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:17 pm

I think you'd have a good shot if you got into the upper 160s. You're really not that far away.

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ManoftheHour
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Re: How common are "personal" letters from law schools?

Postby ManoftheHour » Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:23 pm

Oskosh wrote:My recommenders don't write recommendations for anyone, and one of them used to run the UT Graduate Writing Center, used to review LoRs/personal statements for UT, and the other was in charge of the Slavic Department. The weakest I can think would be the third recommender, who only recently was tenured.

Sure. But do the law school deans looking at them know that (that they don't write one for just anyone, that one of them was in charge of the Slavic Department)? Unless the dude looking at the letter knows those factors, your LORs are just going to be like any other LOR from any other professor. Most LORs say the same thing.

And once again (even if your LORs are stunning), how would Yale even know any of this unless you actually applied.

My point is, don't get sloppy and hopeful. You know what's better than a great LOR or other softs? A 170. You're in a great position to lock in all of Harvard, Yale, and Stanford with a retake. Do your best, and enjoy.

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Oskosh
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Re: How common are "personal" letters from law schools?

Postby Oskosh » Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:27 pm

ManoftheHour wrote:
Oskosh wrote:My recommenders don't write recommendations for anyone, and one of them used to run the UT Graduate Writing Center, used to review LoRs/personal statements for UT, and the other was in charge of the Slavic Department. The weakest I can think would be the third recommender, who only recently was tenured.

Sure. But do the law school deans looking at them know that (that they don't write one for just anyone, that one of them was in charge of the Slavic Department)? Unless the dude looking at the letter knows those factors, your LORs are just going to be like any other LOR from any other professor. Most LORs say the same thing.

And once again (even if your LORs are stunning), how would Yale even know any of this unless you actually applied.

My point is, don't get sloppy and hopeful. You know what's better than a great LOR or other softs? A 170. You're in a great position to lock in all of Harvard, Yale, and Stanford with a retake. Do your best, and enjoy.

Ah, I wasn't aware of that. I just assumed they did their research/had some strict criteria about this based on the information they sent me. Thanks for your response! Do you think I should wait for next year, or should I apply in December?

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ManoftheHour
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Re: How common are "personal" letters from law schools?

Postby ManoftheHour » Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:31 pm

Sorry if I sounded harsh. It's just that you're literally so close. With your stats and URM status, I think even an upper 160s score would put you in solid contention.

You PTed in the 170s. You obviously have a good grasp of the material and likely just had a bad day. If you feel ready, I would take it in December. I think apps are still down, so schools aren't strict over "later" applications as they used to be.

If you don't feel ready, you can always take it in June, and then again in October/December of the following year.

Edit:
Sorry, I thought you meant retaking the exam. If you're curious, you can apply anyway this cycle to see what happens. You should get into some T-14s. I do think that a retake would solidify your options. A few more points, you'd probably be a lock for the T-6.
FWIW, I applied for two cycles and assessed my options.

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sims1
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Re: How common are "personal" letters from law schools?

Postby sims1 » Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:35 pm

Oskosh wrote:
sims1 wrote:They just want more people to apply so they can reject you and make themselves look more selective.

Damn them. I mean my GPA is pretty high, and if I'm able to increase my LSAT score, I should still apply, right?

3.78 GPA, URM (Mexican), great LORs (3 academic), okay resume (did TFA?), and let's say 172 LSAT... Decent chance or no?


It's not impossible with 170+ as URM, but you have a 161 currently. Unless you cured ebola, they probably wouldn't spend much time on your app.

It's usually worth it to apply broadly; if you get a decent retake, I would go for it. Yale requires an additional essay though.

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Oskosh
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Re: How common are "personal" letters from law schools?

Postby Oskosh » Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:54 pm

I've already re-registered for the test, and I'm scheduled to take it next Saturday. I think it was a fluke because of test day jitters, because previously I was able to answer the first ten questions of both LR sections without committing any mistakes. This time, 8 of my wrong answers came from those sections, and that's because I wasn't adhering to my structure. So I'll try it again and see how it goes.

question: If you apply to a school and get rejected, will it hurt your chances of applying the next year?

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ManoftheHour
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Re: How common are "personal" letters from law schools?

Postby ManoftheHour » Sat Nov 29, 2014 4:04 pm

Oskosh wrote:I've already re-registered for the test, and I'm scheduled to take it next Saturday. I think it was a fluke because of test day jitters, because previously I was able to answer the first ten questions of both LR sections without committing any mistakes. This time, 8 of my wrong answers came from those sections, and that's because I wasn't adhering to my structure. So I'll try it again and see how it goes.

question: If you apply to a school and get rejected, will it hurt your chances of applying the next year?

It happens to the best of us. There's enormous pressure to do well. The test is a big deal and it's understandable.

No, I don't think it matters. Apps are still falling so schools are having a harder time maintaining their medians:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=234059

As for anecdotal evidence: I had a 162 in my first cycle and ended up retaking. In my second cycle, I got into some of those schools that I was previously rejected. Also, during the second cycle, I got into every single school that I got into the first cycle except with way more scholarship money.




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