School Specific LoR vs. Annoying the Professor

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
GoldenBear125
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School Specific LoR vs. Annoying the Professor

Postby GoldenBear125 » Wed Oct 21, 2009 7:47 pm

Need some opinion on this. Is it worth asking professors to write school specific LoR's? I'm not sure if school specific means simply mentioning a school's name in the letter and switching it for each one, or going more in detail why they think I would be particularly good at XYZ law school.

Should I ask for school specific for only schools I'm particularly interested in? If the professor holds some degree from there and can thus make it sound more interesting?

I'm worried the professor may believe I'm asking him to write very specific letters for all schools and therefore change one potentially really strong letter into a more generic thing for each one.

Anyone with experience on this?

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Tangerine Gleam
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Re: School Specific LoR vs. Annoying the Professor

Postby Tangerine Gleam » Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:02 pm

I had 3 recommenders, and I am pretty close/comfortable with each, so I asked for 4 different letters: 1 general, and 3 specific. I am applying to 15 or so schools, so I only asked them to do it for my top 3 choices (one of which is Stanford, which puts added emphasis on targeted LOR's).

I would definitely not go overboard in asking for a ton, and I was also careful to tell them each to only be as specific as they felt comfortable doing. For all I know, they might have done the exact same letter with simply the "Dear _________," portion being different. Even if that was the case, it certainly shows a little extra effort for those few schools you care about the most.

At the end of the day though, I don't think it's a big deal at all, or much help (if any). I am really on the borderline on my top choices, though, so I wanted to push it as hard as possible.

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grrrstick
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Re: School Specific LoR vs. Annoying the Professor

Postby grrrstick » Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:06 pm

It won't annoy the professors. I would only ask for a targeted letter if they have some connection to the school though. I have an advisor with a doctorate from Yale, so I might ask him to write one for them. Even then, I think all he could say is that I would "fit in" alright, so it probably doesn't mean much.

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Borhas
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Re: School Specific LoR vs. Annoying the Professor

Postby Borhas » Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:12 pm

From my experience school specific LOR's seem like a waste of time. One of my professor's who got her Phd from UVa said she wouldn't know what to write that was specific to UVa because at the end of the day I would still be the same person whether I was going to UVa or not (of course I didn't do well enough to even bother applying to UVa so it didn't much matter anyway). So I tend to think they are a waste of time unless your recommender was a dean or something really high up and in that case they wouldn't so much be saying anything different about you, but probably trying to use their influence on the school.

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capitalacq
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Re: School Specific LoR vs. Annoying the Professor

Postby capitalacq » Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:14 pm

grrrstick wrote: I would only ask for a targeted letter if they have some connection to the school though.

+1

If they don't have a specific connection to the school, you're most likely just wasting their time by asking for a school-specific letter

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FutureApplicant
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Re: School Specific LoR vs. Annoying the Professor

Postby FutureApplicant » Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:52 am

capitalacq wrote:
grrrstick wrote: I would only ask for a targeted letter if they have some connection to the school though.

+1

If they don't have a specific connection to the school, you're most likely just wasting their time by asking for a school-specific letter


I'm curious if you think this applies even at Stanford, which pointedly says:

"Please be aware of the high value Stanford places on school-specific letters of recommendation."

They also have a special form to be filled out and submitted along with the targeted letter. So is that sentence on the SLS website and the form in fact only applicable for people whose letter writers have a connection to SLS?

rundoxierun
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Re: School Specific LoR vs. Annoying the Professor

Postby rundoxierun » Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:03 am

FutureApplicant wrote:
capitalacq wrote:
grrrstick wrote: I would only ask for a targeted letter if they have some connection to the school though.

+1

If they don't have a specific connection to the school, you're most likely just wasting their time by asking for a school-specific letter


I'm curious if you think this applies even at Stanford, which pointedly says:

"Please be aware of the high value Stanford places on school-specific letters of recommendation."

They also have a special form to be filled out and submitted along with the targeted letter. So is that sentence on the SLS website and the form in fact only applicable for people whose letter writers have a connection to SLS?


Ignore this thread, the only people that would know are people who sit on admissions committees. No way a school specific LOR will hurt you so just get it if possible.

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FutureApplicant
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Re: School Specific LoR vs. Annoying the Professor

Postby FutureApplicant » Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:27 am

tkgrrett wrote:
FutureApplicant wrote:
capitalacq wrote:
grrrstick wrote: I would only ask for a targeted letter if they have some connection to the school though.

+1

If they don't have a specific connection to the school, you're most likely just wasting their time by asking for a school-specific letter


I'm curious if you think this applies even at Stanford, which pointedly says:

"Please be aware of the high value Stanford places on school-specific letters of recommendation."

They also have a special form to be filled out and submitted along with the targeted letter. So is that sentence on the SLS website and the form in fact only applicable for people whose letter writers have a connection to SLS?


Ignore this thread, the only people that would know are people who sit on admissions committees. No way a school specific LOR will hurt you so just get it if possible.


You do have a point.

Thanks!




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