Letters of Rec length

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
UghNonAmus

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Letters of Rec length

Postby UghNonAmus » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:52 pm

How long is too long? Both of my recommenders are supervisors (been out of school for 5+ years) and I work in a job where explaining any specific good thing I have done requires explaining a fair amount about the job. One of my recommenders said hers was about 3 pages, is that way too long or appropriate since a lot of it is just giving context, since explaining my great deeds on their own would be difficult.

UghNonAmus

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Re: Letters of Rec length

Postby UghNonAmus » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:54 pm

Should also add that I am heavily incorporating my current work experience (it involves emergency services) into my personal statement as to why it motivates me to want to be a lawyer blah blah blah.

vcap180

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Re: Letters of Rec length

Postby vcap180 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:47 pm

UghNonAmus wrote:How long is too long? Both of my recommenders are supervisors (been out of school for 5+ years) and I work in a job where explaining any specific good thing I have done requires explaining a fair amount about the job. One of my recommenders said hers was about 3 pages, is that way too long or appropriate since a lot of it is just giving context, since explaining my great deeds on their own would be difficult.



WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY too long.

UghNonAmus

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Re: Letters of Rec length

Postby UghNonAmus » Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:51 pm

vcap180 wrote:
UghNonAmus wrote:How long is too long? Both of my recommenders are supervisors (been out of school for 5+ years) and I work in a job where explaining any specific good thing I have done requires explaining a fair amount about the job. One of my recommenders said hers was about 3 pages, is that way too long or appropriate since a lot of it is just giving context, since explaining my great deeds on their own would be difficult.



WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY too long.



What would be a maximum acceptable length and what sort of fiddling with margins/spacing/text size etc. would or could be appropriate? I suppose I didn't ask if she meant single or double spaced.

Also any other input from others would be greatly appreciated.

cavalier1138

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Re: Letters of Rec length

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:56 pm

One page.

If your writers are having trouble, tell them to think about how long they'd want to read about someone else's job while they're writing it. Also, they should be spending a hot second discussing your specific job duties. These letters are about your perseverance, intelligence, leadership, etc. They aren't about your ability to do whatever specific life-saving things you do in emergency services.

UghNonAmus

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Re: Letters of Rec length

Postby UghNonAmus » Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:22 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:One page.

If your writers are having trouble, tell them to think about how long they'd want to read about someone else's job while they're writing it. Also, they should be spending a hot second discussing your specific job duties. These letters are about your perseverance, intelligence, leadership, etc. They aren't about your ability to do whatever specific life-saving things you do in emergency services.


Yeah I sorta told her that, but I also told her a specific comparative example or two, as opposed to generalities, is preferable, and that might take a tad bit more than 1 page.

Would my application possibly be hurt by having too long of a letter of rec?

cavalier1138

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Re: Letters of Rec length

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:29 pm

UghNonAmus wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:One page.

If your writers are having trouble, tell them to think about how long they'd want to read about someone else's job while they're writing it. Also, they should be spending a hot second discussing your specific job duties. These letters are about your perseverance, intelligence, leadership, etc. They aren't about your ability to do whatever specific life-saving things you do in emergency services.


Yeah I sorta told her that, but I also told her a specific comparative example or two, as opposed to generalities, is preferable, and that might take a tad bit more than 1 page.

Would my application possibly be hurt by having too long of a letter of rec?


Only in that the adcomm will likely not read the whole thing.

But maybe emphasize that a comparative example takes maybe a paragraph. One of my writers talked about three or four different specific examples of my wondrous qualities in the workplace, and it didn't take three pages. If your letters are coming from bad writers (and it sounds like they are), give them more guidance.

Also, as a side note: are both of these supervisors from the same job? Because that would be another thing to avoid.

UghNonAmus

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Re: Letters of Rec length

Postby UghNonAmus » Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:34 pm

cavalier1138 wrote: If your letters are coming from bad writers (and it sounds like they are), give them more guidance.

Also, as a side note: are both of these supervisors from the same job? Because that would be another thing to avoid.


Correct, not great writers, but don't want to give so much guidance where I'd almost be writing the damn thing myself.

Supervisors from same job, but one is direct supervisor and one indirect. Sergeant vs. Lieutenant. They won't be covering the same things, as far as my myriad of wonderful qualities

Do you think that's problematic though? Cuz really otherwise I'd have nobody else to write them, at least anyone who could give specifics beyond just how smart and sexy I am.

vcap180

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Re: Letters of Rec length

Postby vcap180 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:46 pm

UghNonAmus wrote:
vcap180 wrote:
UghNonAmus wrote:How long is too long? Both of my recommenders are supervisors (been out of school for 5+ years) and I work in a job where explaining any specific good thing I have done requires explaining a fair amount about the job. One of my recommenders said hers was about 3 pages, is that way too long or appropriate since a lot of it is just giving context, since explaining my great deeds on their own would be difficult.



WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY too long.



What would be a maximum acceptable length and what sort of fiddling with margins/spacing/text size etc. would or could be appropriate? I suppose I didn't ask if she meant single or double spaced.

Also any other input from others would be greatly appreciated.


Conventional wisdom (if not explicit guidelines in some cases) holds that 1 page is ideal. However, I feel like even that can be a bit too long sometimes. 3 short succinct paragraphs seems sufficient.

At 3 pages you're talking about exceeding your personal statement by a full page. This is just ridiculous.

When you ask if it may hurt you, my gut says probably not. But on second thought, the fact that they are so unusually long may further highlight the fact that they're not from professors - and some schools do look at this unfavorably.

You might give them a simple outline, such as:

Paragraph 1: here's who I am and here's how I know the jackass applying to law school

Paragraph 2: here's some great qualities about the jackass, with a quick example of how the jackass demonstrated said qualities

Paragraph 3: summary reaffirming my high praise for the jackass, and stating my belief that the jackass would be a great addition to any law school.
Last edited by vcap180 on Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.

UghNonAmus

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Re: Letters of Rec length

Postby UghNonAmus » Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:52 pm

vcap180 wrote:At 3 pages you're talking about exceeding your personal statement by a full page. This is just ridiculous.

When you ask if it may hurt you, my gut says probably not. But on second thought, the fact that they are so unusually long may further highlight the fact that they're not from professors - and some schools do look at this unfavorably.


Yeah I knew 3 was too much. I suppose I can't worry about the latter part (not being from professors) since that's just not an option for me, but am worried that the quality of writing etc. may be sub-par. But again, other than my parents these are the only people who can really write these letters for me at all.

I only fret so much because I appear to be directly on the numeric borderline as far as GPA and LSAT for admission, and want my LOR's to pack a little punch if possible.

vcap180

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Re: Letters of Rec length

Postby vcap180 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:54 pm

UghNonAmus wrote:
vcap180 wrote:At 3 pages you're talking about exceeding your personal statement by a full page. This is just ridiculous.

When you ask if it may hurt you, my gut says probably not. But on second thought, the fact that they are so unusually long may further highlight the fact that they're not from professors - and some schools do look at this unfavorably.


Yeah I knew 3 was too much. I suppose I can't worry about the latter part (not being from professors) since that's just not an option for me, but am worried that the quality of writing etc. may be sub-par. But again, other than my parents these are the only people who can really write these letters for me at all.

I only fret so much because I appear to be directly on the numeric borderline as far as GPA and LSAT for admission, and want my LOR's to pack a little punch if possible.



Give them the outline i provided in my post above

UghNonAmus

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Re: Letters of Rec length

Postby UghNonAmus » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:06 pm

vcap180 wrote:
UghNonAmus wrote:
vcap180 wrote:At 3 pages you're talking about exceeding your personal statement by a full page. This is just ridiculous.

When you ask if it may hurt you, my gut says probably not. But on second thought, the fact that they are so unusually long may further highlight the fact that they're not from professors - and some schools do look at this unfavorably.


Yeah I knew 3 was too much. I suppose I can't worry about the latter part (not being from professors) since that's just not an option for me, but am worried that the quality of writing etc. may be sub-par. But again, other than my parents these are the only people who can really write these letters for me at all.

I only fret so much because I appear to be directly on the numeric borderline as far as GPA and LSAT for admission, and want my LOR's to pack a little punch if possible.



Give them the outline i provided in my post above


Thanks, appreciated.

cavalier1138

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Re: Letters of Rec length

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:19 am

UghNonAmus wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote: If your letters are coming from bad writers (and it sounds like they are), give them more guidance.

Also, as a side note: are both of these supervisors from the same job? Because that would be another thing to avoid.


Correct, not great writers, but don't want to give so much guidance where I'd almost be writing the damn thing myself.

Supervisors from same job, but one is direct supervisor and one indirect. Sergeant vs. Lieutenant. They won't be covering the same things, as far as my myriad of wonderful qualities

Do you think that's problematic though? Cuz really otherwise I'd have nobody else to write them, at least anyone who could give specifics beyond just how smart and sexy I am.


If there's literally no one else (if you had a good relationship with an old professor, you might be surprised how long their memories are), go with it. But it is a problem, because you're basically sending in the same letter twice, since both these people know you in the exact same context.



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