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Author Topic: General LOR Questions for 2008-2009 Cycle  (Read 1332 times)

Blakkout

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General LOR Questions for 2008-2009 Cycle
« on: June 19, 2008, 09:55:21 PM »
Hey all,

Now that I've taken the LSAT I'm starting to plan out the things I'm going to try to get done this summer in order to make submission of my apps in the fall as easy as possible.  As I gear up to get my LORs done, I'm realizing I have a few questions.  Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.  Feel free to post other questions you may have as well.

1.  I noticed on the LSAT website that you can submit LORs as "targeted" (letters being targeted to a specific school or "general".  Given this difference, do admissions officers look down on receiving the latter as opposed to the former?  It seems like it would be way easier to just submit a few generic letters and be done, but I wanted to be sure that was ok first.

2.  How many LORs do you typically send?  Although I'm sure it varies, I was thinking of just sending 2 or 3 to each school.

3.  Who should I have write my LORs?  The general concensus seems to be undergrad profs I've had in the past.  I've had some jobs/internships in the legal field, so I'm wondering if maybe getting one letter from someone I worked with might be better than having all of my letters from profs?
 
4.  Assuming I want to get my apps in when the schools are first opening the floodgates at the begining of the cycle, when would be a good time to get in contact with the people I'm intending to have write my letters for me?  As I said before, most of mine are going to be profs so I assume it would be nice to let them get a chance to work on them before summer is out?  When should I ask them to submit them to LSAT?

5.  For submission to LSAT is snail mail ok?  I read a thread with someone freaking out about the unreliability of the USPS, and suggesting faxing all of the letters in.  Is it really that big of a deal?

Thanks again.

meggo

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Re: General LOR Questions for 2008-2009 Cycle
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2008, 11:14:55 PM »
just to clarify, LSAT is the test, LSDAS is the Law School Data Assembly Service and LSAC is the sort of overseer of all these things.

1. According to their FAQ, you are only allowed to submit 2 general, and an unlimited number of targeted LOR's. This of course doesn't mean the LOR's that you say are 'targeted' really are, they just need to be classified as such, as far as I'm aware.

2. Depends on the school. Some schools require up to 4.

3. Best person to ask is someone who knows you well and can highlight your strengths. It's a good idea to have several LOR's of people who have worked with you in an academic environment.

4. I would get in contact with them now.

5. Yes, regular mail is fine, though if you have access to a fax machine, I would much rather fax the things than mail them in. Cheaper and quicker.

Mori

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Re: General LOR Questions for 2008-2009 Cycle
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2008, 02:56:33 PM »
For question 3: Who should write your LOR?

I am getting mixed answers on this one. Since you need a minimum of 2 letters, a lot of people say you should have at least one from your UG professors. Some say, go with people who can write you the best and most detailed letter about you...

I have been out of UGrad over 5 years and been in a PhD program since then...the people who know me the best are the research faculty and professors in this department, as I have had constant interaction with them.

I could get a LOR from a professor who wrote one for me for Grad school...but since it was such a long time ago, and this professor wrote my old letter catering to me as a student who wishes to pursue science as a career, not law...would it be wiser if I got letters from people I have a close working relationship with: my advisor & thesis committee. They have been the ones who have been judgeing my academic abilites over the span of these 5+ years.

So what should I do?

UGrad professor who might write: I had Mori as a student back in the Fall of 1999-2000 and she did exceptionally well in my Genetics class. She has since gone on to recieve her PhD in the sciences, where she has done remarkable work.

vs.

Grad professor who might write: I have been an active member of Mori's thesis committee since 2003-present. She has matured and flourished in the academic setting, and frankly is an exceptional student. I give her my enthusiastic recommendation for attending law school.

Obviously that is exactly what I would want either of them to write, but from your standpoint, which one carries more weight?
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TheMainEvent

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Re: General LOR Questions for 2008-2009 Cycle
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2008, 05:10:54 PM »
Hey all,

Now that I've taken the LSAT I'm starting to plan out the things I'm going to try to get done this summer in order to make submission of my apps in the fall as easy as possible.  As I gear up to get my LORs done, I'm realizing I have a few questions.  Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.  Feel free to post other questions you may have as well.

1.  I noticed on the LSAT website that you can submit LORs as "targeted" (letters being targeted to a specific school or "general".  Given this difference, do admissions officers look down on receiving the latter as opposed to the former?  It seems like it would be way easier to just submit a few generic letters and be done, but I wanted to be sure that was ok first.

2.  How many LORs do you typically send?  Although I'm sure it varies, I was thinking of just sending 2 or 3 to each school.

3.  Who should I have write my LORs?  The general concensus seems to be undergrad profs I've had in the past.  I've had some jobs/internships in the legal field, so I'm wondering if maybe getting one letter from someone I worked with might be better than having all of my letters from profs?
 
4.  Assuming I want to get my apps in when the schools are first opening the floodgates at the begining of the cycle, when would be a good time to get in contact with the people I'm intending to have write my letters for me?  As I said before, most of mine are going to be profs so I assume it would be nice to let them get a chance to work on them before summer is out?  When should I ask them to submit them to LSAT?

5.  For submission to LSAT is snail mail ok?  I read a thread with someone freaking out about the unreliability of the USPS, and suggesting faxing all of the letters in.  Is it really that big of a deal?

Thanks again.

1) Depends on your numbers. The general letters are probably the best way to go if your numbers are solid. That being said, if you have a school you are incredibly passionate about a targeted letter could help. For example, Professor X writes about how you have a distinct interest in Field Y and seem to be an excellent candidate to continue the study of Y at Law School Z. The targeted is a tool. Nothing wrong with general letters; or so the consensus seems.

2) Check with the individual school. Some say they require 1,  but will actually take more. The LSAC website posts the maximum schools with ACCEPT. I would strongly suggest actually getting in contact with the admissions office regarding something like this. A message board isn't the place to do it. I fail to understand the difficulty in picking up a phone and beginning to establish a relationship with a place that could very well dictate your future.

3) Again, idiots with this "legal field" crap. Bottom line is the letter of recommendation, in its best form, is supposed to explain how you think and certain aspects of you that could make you successful in the STUDY of law. Stay away from vanilla recommendations and by the love of god someone important who has no idea who the hell you are is the worst thing to do. Actually, I encourage everyone applying this cycle to have their Senator write them a letter (if he doesn't know you) because it looks amazing. Less competition. Agreed with meggo; go with how well they know you. 'Target' here as well. Is there a theme to your application? Do you have qualities you want to play on? They don't call me the master of spin in mock trial for nothing. Find your STORY, spin it, and USE IT. Professors are the best way to go if you're fresh out of undergrad. If they don't know you, do what I do:

1) Make a packet of information about who you are (I do this even if I do know the Prof)
2) Have information about what you would LIKE to see on the recommendation

If you maybe decide to go 2 from Profs and 1 from a business, have the business letter be about character so the law school can get a feel for what kind of worker/person you are.

4) GET IN TOUCH WITH WHOMEVER YOU WANT TO WRITE YOUR LETTERS NOW. NO SUCH THING AS TOO EARLY. They're busy and have lives. Give deadlines, do follow-ups, stay on top of it.

5) Get in contact with the respective school. Online seems to be the new way to go.

How hard is it to research this *&^%? Someone start paying me for this advice.

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meggo

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Re: General LOR Questions for 2008-2009 Cycle
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2008, 06:38:52 PM »
Just to further add, I was looking at the online demo yesterday and they said they accept 4 general letters. I'm sure it said 2 elsewhere, but maybe that's old hat. So you can send up to 4 general letters.

bachlava

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Re: General LOR Questions for 2008-2009 Cycle
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2008, 11:19:20 AM »
As an additional note, there is a list on the LSAC website of the required and accepted number of LORs for every school (under the "LOR Overview" tab), so if you know where you're applying, you can find out there just how many letters you'll need.
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