Having no academic LORs

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
cubswin16
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2016 4:11 am

Having no academic LORs

Postby cubswin16 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:42 pm

So due to circumstances out of my control I haven't had the best academic career in college. I have classes where I've gotten high grades, but I don't really have any instructors that I'm very close to and am having trouble thinking of who to ask for a LOR. I have 3 recommenders, 2 of which are job supervisors and 1 an advisor for a university wide committee I sit on, that I believe would all write strong LORs for me, but I'm wondering how much it would hurt me to not have any academic LORs as a KJD. Thankful for any input you have!

User avatar
Platopus
Posts: 1445
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:20 pm

Re: Having no academic LORs

Postby Platopus » Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:50 pm

As a K-JD it might tank your application. Not having a single academic LOR is a pretty big red flag especially if you are still in school. What type of job are these supervisors from? Some kind of office job or like retail?

cavalier1138
Posts: 4645
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Having no academic LORs

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:51 pm

If the circumstances surrounding your bad grades were truly out of your control (diagnosed medical condition, family tragedy, etc.), then you should try and petition for retroactive withdrawal if you can.

But yes, it will absolutely hurt if you can't get academic LORs as a K-JD applicant. Start going to office hours, and don't worry if the LOR is stellar. It just needs to be decent.

User avatar
TheKingLives
Posts: 98
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:37 am

Re: Having no academic LORs

Postby TheKingLives » Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:36 am

You should definitely have at least one academic LOR. See what you can do about securing one with at least a few positive anecdotes; a letter that speaks well to your presence in class and your academic potential is crucial, especially for the top law schools.

cubswin16
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Nov 03, 2016 4:11 am

Re: Having no academic LORs

Postby cubswin16 » Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:58 pm

Thanks everyone! I reached out and was able to actually get 4 LORs from professors. I was just worried that if they were professors I had like two years ago or that I wasn't super close to them they wouldn't want to write them and I was wrong. But now I have the problem of having way more LORs than I need. Should I prioritize the academic ones over the outside letters?

cavalier1138
Posts: 4645
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Having no academic LORs

Postby cavalier1138 » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:02 pm

cubswin16 wrote:Thanks everyone! I reached out and was able to actually get 4 LORs from professors. I was just worried that if they were professors I had like two years ago or that I wasn't super close to them they wouldn't want to write them and I was wrong. But now I have the problem of having way more LORs than I need. Should I prioritize the academic ones over the outside letters?


Yes, 100%. Academic letters are always better.

User avatar
Platopus
Posts: 1445
Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:20 pm

Re: Having no academic LORs

Postby Platopus » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:29 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
cubswin16 wrote:Thanks everyone! I reached out and was able to actually get 4 LORs from professors. I was just worried that if they were professors I had like two years ago or that I wasn't super close to them they wouldn't want to write them and I was wrong. But now I have the problem of having way more LORs than I need. Should I prioritize the academic ones over the outside letters?


Yes, 100%. Academic letters are always better.


I would say that you should have at least 2 academic letters, but if you felt that one of the non-academic letters would be stronger than the 3rd academic LOR, to include the non-academic letter for that 3rd LOR spot (for schools that accept them). Just be sure that 3rd non-academic LOR is actually important and not just empty space.

User avatar
sabraph
Posts: 103
Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2017 2:55 am

Re: Having no academic LORs

Postby sabraph » Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:22 am

cubswin16 wrote:Thanks everyone! I reached out and was able to actually get 4 LORs from professors. I was just worried that if they were professors I had like two years ago or that I wasn't super close to them they wouldn't want to write them and I was wrong. But now I have the problem of having way more LORs than I need. Should I prioritize the academic ones over the outside letters?


I have a somewhat similar issue in that my academic LOR is not going to be nearly as strong as the one my supervisor is writing (I have worked this particular job all 4 years of college, and worked 20-30 hours a week every semester while being full-time so I feel pretty justified in using one of my LORs to talk about work experience). Luckily I have a boss who was able to add some academic-type skills into my letter. That being said I don't see a situation where a K-JD can justify more than one LOR about work experience, an academic is a must.

User avatar
Zero Hedge
Posts: 50
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:20 am

Re: Having no academic LORs

Postby Zero Hedge » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:20 am

New twist on this question: So I wasn't very active on the academic side of college, I basically just kept my head down in classes and got a mediocre GPA for law school. Because of this, I never got very close to any one of my particular professors. This was also partially due to the fact that my academic department's profs were completely uninspiring as well though, I'd be surprised if any more than a couple student graduating from my department every year felt like they had a prof as a mentor. All this is to say that I'm not even sure that I would reach back to one of these profs if it was recommended to have a LOR from one, I don't think it would reflect someone that knows enough about me to write a decent LOR.

That being said, I was extremely involved in other respects of the campus and that's where I put most of my attention in my undergrad. I'm comfortable in asking top administrators at my school for LORs, and already plan on doing so anyways. There are some very involved faculty around campus that I'm close to because of this, but none that I actually had for a prof myself. Anyone have an opinion on whether these LORs would be seen as sufficiently "academic"?

HowardHamlin
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:31 am

Re: Having no academic LORs

Postby HowardHamlin » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:50 am

Zero Hedge wrote:New twist on this question: So I wasn't very active on the academic side of college, I basically just kept my head down in classes and got a mediocre GPA for law school. Because of this, I never got very close to any one of my particular professors. This was also partially due to the fact that my academic department's profs were completely uninspiring as well though, I'd be surprised if any more than a couple student graduating from my department every year felt like they had a prof as a mentor. All this is to say that I'm not even sure that I would reach back to one of these profs if it was recommended to have a LOR from one, I don't think it would reflect someone that knows enough about me to write a decent LOR.

That being said, I was extremely involved in other respects of the campus and that's where I put most of my attention in my undergrad. I'm comfortable in asking top administrators at my school for LORs, and already plan on doing so anyways. There are some very involved faculty around campus that I'm close to because of this, but none that I actually had for a prof myself. Anyone have an opinion on whether these LORs would be seen as sufficiently "academic"?

That kind of letter sounds like some kind of middle ground between an academic letter and a professional one. I think one would certainly be good, especially if they could talk about some traits that schools might want to see like responsibility, initiative, time management, etc. but unfortunately LORs are really designed to show case your academic letters. I know it can be hard to get close to a professor, especially at a larger school, but I have heard people say that you can even solicit letters from teaching assistants and GAs if they can honestly vouch for your abilities as a student.

User avatar
Zero Hedge
Posts: 50
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:20 am

Re: Having no academic LORs

Postby Zero Hedge » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:24 am

HowardHamlin wrote:
Zero Hedge wrote:New twist on this question: So I wasn't very active on the academic side of college, I basically just kept my head down in classes and got a mediocre GPA for law school. Because of this, I never got very close to any one of my particular professors. This was also partially due to the fact that my academic department's profs were completely uninspiring as well though, I'd be surprised if any more than a couple student graduating from my department every year felt like they had a prof as a mentor. All this is to say that I'm not even sure that I would reach back to one of these profs if it was recommended to have a LOR from one, I don't think it would reflect someone that knows enough about me to write a decent LOR.

That being said, I was extremely involved in other respects of the campus and that's where I put most of my attention in my undergrad. I'm comfortable in asking top administrators at my school for LORs, and already plan on doing so anyways. There are some very involved faculty around campus that I'm close to because of this, but none that I actually had for a prof myself. Anyone have an opinion on whether these LORs would be seen as sufficiently "academic"?

That kind of letter sounds like some kind of middle ground between an academic letter and a professional one. I think one would certainly be good, especially if they could talk about some traits that schools might want to see like responsibility, initiative, time management, etc. but unfortunately LORs are really designed to show case your academic letters. I know it can be hard to get close to a professor, especially at a larger school, but I have heard people say that you can even solicit letters from teaching assistants and GAs if they can honestly vouch for your abilities as a student.


Appreciate the input. Unfortunately there weren't really any GAs/TAs either. Just like you said, my hope is to have these LORs display the traits that schools would look for in a regular academic LOR.

User avatar
mwells56
Posts: 389
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2016 9:08 pm

Re: Having no academic LORs

Postby mwells56 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:07 pm

Zero Hedge wrote:New twist on this question: So I wasn't very active on the academic side of college, I basically just kept my head down in classes and got a mediocre GPA for law school. Because of this, I never got very close to any one of my particular professors. This was also partially due to the fact that my academic department's profs were completely uninspiring as well though, I'd be surprised if any more than a couple student graduating from my department every year felt like they had a prof as a mentor. All this is to say that I'm not even sure that I would reach back to one of these profs if it was recommended to have a LOR from one, I don't think it would reflect someone that knows enough about me to write a decent LOR.

That being said, I was extremely involved in other respects of the campus and that's where I put most of my attention in my undergrad. I'm comfortable in asking top administrators at my school for LORs, and already plan on doing so anyways. There are some very involved faculty around campus that I'm close to because of this, but none that I actually had for a prof myself. Anyone have an opinion on whether these LORs would be seen as sufficiently "academic"?


Did you go to a school with big lecture classes that had graduate students teaching discussion sections? That's how I got one of my recommendations, I was super tight with one of my GSIs (Graduate Student Instructors) my sophomore year. She's awesome, and lucky for me in the two years since I've had her she's finished her PhD and got a lecturer job at another university. But before I knew about her new job I had emailed a few adcomms and they said that using a GSI was fine.

edit: just noticed that someone already asked this questions. my b.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], JoshLyman13 and 5 guests