Alumni LOR: What's the best way to use it?

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lymenheimer

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Re: Alumni LOR: What's the best way to use it?

Postby lymenheimer » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:17 pm

GarnerB wrote:I created this thread for input on how best to use an alumni LOR.

What a stupid reason for a thread. Your two options are: use it, or don't. There's no "best way to use it" apart from submitting it.

We established early on that an LOR would help.

I missed this part. Was it "established" by someone on the admissions committee? If not, then it wasn't established.

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Re: Alumni LOR: What's the best way to use it?

Postby cheaptilts » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:21 pm

GarnerB wrote:
rpupkin wrote:First, the LOR is unlikely to have an impact because it's going to say the same sorts of things that are in the thousands of LORs that adcomms receive every year.

As for the financial contribution angle, you have a high standard for what counts as a "serious" contribution! Seven or eight figures!?!?!? An alumnus doesn't have to have donated hundreds of millions of dollars in order to be noticed. If your LOR writer is regularly involved with the school and donates a few thousand a year, that could help you.


Hey rpupkin, you make very good points about LORs all sounding the same. There's only so much the admissions committee can glean from LORs when they all say the candidate is "amazing," "the best I've ever had," etc.

Also, regarding the second part of your comment, seven or eight figures excludes "hundreds of millions of dollars": X,XXX,XXX is seven figures, whereas XX,XXX,XXX is eight. Not trying to split hairs here, but I can't recall somebody donating the figure you referenced to a law school, whereas it's not uncommon to donate in the range I specified.


At least at Cornell, Adcoms would likely take notice of a LOR written by an alum who is still very active in the law school community and donates (i.e., attends myriad informational panels; is on alumni donation committes; helps w/ clerkship coordinating; still v. active in the affinity groups). I imagine a small school like UChi would probably be similar.
Last edited by cheaptilts on Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Alumni LOR: What's the best way to use it?

Postby GarnerB » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:26 pm

lymenheimer wrote:
GarnerB wrote:I created this thread for input on how best to use an alumni LOR.

What a stupid reason for a thread. Your two options are: use it, or don't. There's no "best way to use it" apart from submitting it.

We established early on that an LOR would help.

I missed this part. Was it "established" by someone on the admissions committee? If not, then it wasn't established.


It'd be very easy me for to throw insults back, but I won't allow myself to be dragged down to your level. The following is for future readers, so you can find your way out of this thread. Thank you very much for your contributions.

First, to those out there who are more literal (and I don't mean that in a bad way), I apologize for the ambiguous title of thread. I created the thread when I was in a rush. By "best way to use it," I'm referring to the content of the letter. Should I mention specific programs, clinics, professors? How much of the letter should focus on character and how much should focus on potential fit with the school?

I'm not an expert, so I know there are elements of an effective alumni LOR that I'm leaving out. Hence, why I am reaching out :) Again, suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: Alumni LOR: What's the best way to use it?

Postby UVA2B » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:28 pm

Ok, maybe I'm just obtuse and maybe you've unnecessarily obfuscated the issue, but at what point did we establish that the LOR will help? All the early advice said exactly the opposite. But whatever, let's work under the assumption that it will help.

So you want your super important alum to best help your chances of getting off a waitlist, but they're requiring you write the first draft (if I have this incorrect, feel free to modify this). In order for this letter to have maximum impact, you need it to sound as much as possible like the person knows you well, can speak to your intellectual abilities and other professional qualities, and can extrapolate the success you will have both in law school and in the legal profession and beyond. When you're talking about admissions at a T6, you're talking about a ton of really accomplished people, all of whom have very impressive credentials and have glowing recommendations. If you want yours to truly stand out where your application rises to the top of the WL pile, it'll need to either 1) be from a person who has actual influence over admission decisions (in which case, I'd seriously question why you didn't ask them for an LOR to begin with if they're basically like parents to you, but this is your thread, and you can ignore when people suggest that elsewhere like I did), or 2) give the admissions committee other reasons that you're truly a special applicant that isn't spelled out elsewhere in your application (which would be a serious error on your part if you missed on highlighting your own strengths before asking for this LOR).

You're asking really mundane questions about how to structure this letter like whether to address the LOR to a given adcom or to the committee generally, but that won't matter if this person has that much influence over admissions (unless they were roommates with the adcom and are writing a personal note asking for a personal favor, cause nepotism). If this alum is that important so as to get their family friend's kid into the law school, the signature on the bottom line will suffice. Hell, a phone call to the dean is probably all it will take at that point. Enjoy that silver spoon if you've been gifted it.

There is a serious disconnect between your worries in making this LOR have impact and the supposed importance of this alumni willing to write your LOR. If they have serious influence like you suggest, they could probably fart on the page and get you a decent scholarship. But if the alumni has less pull than you're suggesting, it's unlikely to move the needle in your admissions decision. There really isn't much in-between here. And that's why people mostly focused on whether or not this would even help to begin with.

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Re: Alumni LOR: What's the best way to use it?

Postby cheaptilts » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:34 pm

But if the LoR really had any influence at all they'd likely be able to call their professor- or dean-connect and have that connect be on the lookout for the application/place a good word in for you with the appropriate people. The letter itself is probably not that important.

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Re: Alumni LOR: What's the best way to use it?

Postby GarnerB » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:41 pm

cheaptilts wrote:But if the LoR really had any influence at all they'd likely be able to call their professor- or dean-connect and have that connect be on the lookout for the application/place a good word in for you with the appropriate people. The letter itself is probably not that important.


So, the emerging consensus here seems to be that a phone call is better than a letter? If so, I'd love to go that path and avoid drafting an LOR altogether. I was operating under the assumption that a phone call + LOR would be even more effective since more materials = better. But, if the benefits of an LOR are almost nonexistent when a phone call could be made, then I'd rather not draft an LOR.

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Re: Alumni LOR: What's the best way to use it?

Postby UVA2B » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:42 pm

GarnerB wrote:
lymenheimer wrote:
GarnerB wrote:I created this thread for input on how best to use an alumni LOR.

What a stupid reason for a thread. Your two options are: use it, or don't. There's no "best way to use it" apart from submitting it.

We established early on that an LOR would help.

I missed this part. Was it "established" by someone on the admissions committee? If not, then it wasn't established.


It'd be very easy me for to throw insults back, but I won't allow myself to be dragged down to your level. The following is for future readers, so you can find your way out of this thread. Thank you very much for your contributions.

First, to those out there who are more literal (and I don't mean that in a bad way), I apologize for the ambiguous title of thread. I created the thread when I was in a rush. By "best way to use it," I'm referring to the content of the letter. Should I mention specific programs, clinics, professors? How much of the letter should focus on character and how much should focus on potential fit with the school?

I'm not an expert, so I know there are elements of an effective alumni LOR that I'm leaving out. Hence, why I am reaching out :) Again, suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


You don't need to mention any of the things you're considering mentioning. The LOR should be about you, not about the school. They know they have an Innocence Project, it'd be wasted space to talk about how well you'd do working with their innocent project, for example.

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Re: Alumni LOR: What's the best way to use it?

Postby cheaptilts » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:45 pm

GarnerB wrote:
cheaptilts wrote:But if the LoR really had any influence at all they'd likely be able to call their professor- or dean-connect and have that connect be on the lookout for the application/place a good word in for you with the appropriate people. The letter itself is probably not that important.


So, the emerging consensus here seems to be that a phone call is better than a letter? If so, I'd love to go that path and avoid drafting an LOR altogether. I was operating under the assumption that a phone call + LOR would be even more effective since more materials = better. But, if the benefits of an LOR are almost nonexistent when a phone call could be made, then I'd rather not draft an LOR.

If your LoR person is not a super-active alum in the law school community and was not beloved by an influential faculty member or the administration as a student (or is not a "serious" donor), it really doesn't matter what you do

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Re: Alumni LOR: What's the best way to use it?

Postby UVA2B » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:49 pm

GarnerB wrote:
cheaptilts wrote:But if the LoR really had any influence at all they'd likely be able to call their professor- or dean-connect and have that connect be on the lookout for the application/place a good word in for you with the appropriate people. The letter itself is probably not that important.


So, the emerging consensus here seems to be that a phone call is better than a letter? If so, I'd love to go that path and avoid drafting an LOR altogether. I was operating under the assumption that a phone call + LOR would be even more effective since more materials = better. But, if the benefits of an LOR are almost nonexistent when a phone call could be made, then I'd rather not draft an LOR.


This is a particularly dangerous mindset, because you're assuming they have that kind of influence where a phone call moves mountains. If they do, great. End this thread and ask them to call as soon as they can on Monday morning. You'll have your acceptance package by Thursday. But if they don't carry that kind of gravitas, you're asking a family friend to try to flex muscle they don't have. In that case, it won't work out well for any of you.

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Re: Alumni LOR: What's the best way to use it?

Postby rpupkin » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:53 pm

GarnerB wrote:
lymenheimer wrote:
GarnerB wrote:I created this thread for input on how best to use an alumni LOR.

What a stupid reason for a thread. Your two options are: use it, or don't. There's no "best way to use it" apart from submitting it.

We established early on that an LOR would help.

I missed this part. Was it "established" by someone on the admissions committee? If not, then it wasn't established.


It'd be very easy me for to throw insults back, but I won't allow myself to be dragged down to your level.

In the LOR you're drafting, you should write about your ability to remain principled and above the fray even when you could respond with insults.

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Re: Alumni LOR: What's the best way to use it?

Postby UVA2B » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:55 pm

Until you respond why my advice above was insufficient, I think we should all respond only in smilies.

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Re: Alumni LOR: What's the best way to use it?

Postby GarnerB » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:59 pm

UVA2B wrote:Until you respond why my advice above was insufficient, I think we should all respond only in smilies.


You gave great advice! Thank you. My apologies for being snarky earlier.

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Re: Alumni LOR: What's the best way to use it?

Postby GarnerB » Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:59 pm

rpupkin wrote:
GarnerB wrote:
lymenheimer wrote:
GarnerB wrote:I created this thread for input on how best to use an alumni LOR.

What a stupid reason for a thread. Your two options are: use it, or don't. There's no "best way to use it" apart from submitting it.

We established early on that an LOR would help.

I missed this part. Was it "established" by someone on the admissions committee? If not, then it wasn't established.


It'd be very easy me for to throw insults back, but I won't allow myself to be dragged down to your level.

In the LOR you're drafting, you should write about your ability to remain principled and above the fray even when you could respond with insults.


Hahaha, that's a good one. :wink:

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Re: Alumni LOR: What's the best way to use it?

Postby Npret » Sun Apr 23, 2017 12:02 am

You should really ask about this in the MS9 thread. If the person knows you well I don't see a letter hurting you. But dont count on it saving you.

PM MS9 or one of his crew if you don't want to post the question again.

viewtopic.php?f=43&t=197451

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Re: Alumni LOR: What's the best way to use it?

Postby UVA2B » Sun Apr 23, 2017 12:28 am

GarnerB wrote:
UVA2B wrote:Until you respond why my advice above was insufficient, I think we should all respond only in smilies.


You gave great advice! Thank you. My apologies for being snarky earlier.


Thanks GarnerB! I really appreciate the validation!

You seem weirdly dismissive of people who are giving their (admittedly) limited insight into your situation. If you want the best help from this community, you'd be well-suited to respond substantively to our questions and posits, because there is personal value to you in getting the best advice possible from this community. By de facto dismissing advice as "great advice" while continuing to ask questions that fly in the face of advice given, you're ceasing to look for actual advice beyond what fits in your own mindset (which you've left shockingly void within this question).

Get better at looking for actual advice, because TLS will not give you confirmation unless you've already made the right choice.

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Re: Alumni LOR: What's the best way to use it?

Postby GarnerB » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:13 pm

UVA2B wrote:Thanks GarnerB! I really appreciate the validation!

You seem weirdly dismissive of people who are giving their (admittedly) limited insight into your situation. If you want the best help from this community, you'd be well-suited to respond substantively to our questions and posits, because there is personal value to you in getting the best advice possible from this community. By de facto dismissing advice as "great advice" while continuing to ask questions that fly in the face of advice given, you're ceasing to look for actual advice beyond what fits in your own mindset (which you've left shockingly void within this question).

Get better at looking for actual advice, because TLS will not give you confirmation unless you've already made the right choice.


UVA2B, two points.

First, I'm not "responding substantively" because I don't want to divulge information that may out me. Yes, you're correct in asserting that the more information I offer y'all, the better y'all will be able to advise me. But I'm more than willing to trade that off for greater confidentiality. Although I'd like to think that we've found a happy medium, if there's more information I can provide that would better assist y'all in assisting me, why on Earth would I be against it? Just ask, and I'll respond the best I can.

Second, you're taking things way too personally. I appreciate you taking time out of your Saturday night to write a paragraphs-long post of quality advice. I expressed my gratitude and apologized for unfairly putting you on the receiving end of my frustration. At the same time, however, you're acting like you are the authoritative voice on this topic. You're not. I'm shopping around for advice. Stop acting like a spurned lover.

With that said, yours is the best advice I've come across thus far, and I've already started to act on it. I apologize for coming across insincerely. You have my deep gratitude for helping a stranger (me). You've done so without benefit and even at your own expense (in terms of time allocated). Thank you.

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Re: Alumni LOR: What's the best way to use it?

Postby enoca » Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:52 pm

GarnerB wrote:
cheaptilts wrote:But if the LoR really had any influence at all they'd likely be able to call their professor- or dean-connect and have that connect be on the lookout for the application/place a good word in for you with the appropriate people. The letter itself is probably not that important.


So, the emerging consensus here seems to be that a phone call is better than a letter? If so, I'd love to go that path and avoid drafting an LOR altogether. I was operating under the assumption that a phone call + LOR would be even more effective since more materials = better. But, if the benefits of an LOR are almost nonexistent when a phone call could be made, then I'd rather not draft an LOR.


If your person is a big enough deal to pull strings, then have them pull those strings through whatever channels they normally use. That'd be much more effective than a random LOR in your file. Some schools in the T6 explicitly tell you not to even send anymore LOR after you have been waitlisted, presumably because it is considered a waste of everyone's time.

If they aren't big enough to pull strings, the LOR will almost certainly not do much for you.

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Re: Alumni LOR: What's the best way to use it?

Postby B90 » Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:41 pm

My academic LOR was from someone who happened to be an adjunct professor at the same LS I was applying to. It did not help and appeared to have zero impact.



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