Law School Discussion

"Awesome/Great" LORs and PS

jgatsby

Re: "Awesome/Great" LORs and PS
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2005, 07:28:36 AM »
I've been meaning to ask my prelaw advisor about this:

Does anyone think it is totally going to be noticed if I get a lor from either my aunt or her partner, both of whom I work for?  She has my mother's maiden name and not my last name, but I wonder how they would catch this or notice this and how ethical it is otherwise.  What about the partner? 

Re: "Awesome/Great" LORs and PS
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2005, 08:32:30 AM »
Of my two LORs I honestly think one is very good merely because the professor who wrote it was my professor for two consecutive quarters.  Also, both classes were graduate level courses and I was only a sophomore.  I wrote an 80 page paper on the effect of 16th century Dutch Humanism on the development of Germanic languages.  I received an A in both classes.

I feel as though this professor will speak highly of me, but I agree that LORs are probably only used as a tie-breaker between two similar candidates.
I call BS on an 80 page paper for an upper level undergrad class. Most people don't do this for a master's thesis. In small departments it is common if not typical to take multiple classes with the same professor. In fact, I wouldn't to ask for a letter from a professor who only taught me in one class.

This isn't meant to rag on you, Hummer, but to point out that you really all think your LOR's are outstanding. It is simply not the case. There is a HUGE difference between good LORs and outstanding ones. I'll be the first to say that mine are good. But when you put my letters against the other 5000 in the app pool, I'd be kidding myself to think they're in the top 1%, which is my (arbitrary) qualification for outstanding.

My 2 letters are from likely better sources than most. My undergrad thesis advisor and boss, who I worked 25/hrs a week for 2 yrs and then got a full time job managing his lab after undergrad. He got me a fellowship to grad school 3 years ago, so I assume it's a decent letter (though I wouldn't put it past him to cut and paste from the last letter he wrote for me). The second is my committee chair the last 3 years for my MA. Not to say you need research opportunities to make good letters, but I'd say taking classes with a professor doesn't set you up for great LORs. What can they say about you? He/she writes good papers? They keep up with the reading? They can make very little positive contribution in comments about your integrity, work ethic, and probably very little about your intelligence (assuming you're reciting rote memorization on the exams). So that's my rant. Yes, we're all a little cocky and want to believe we have an edge on the rest of the competitors, but it just ain't so.

ps- I wrote a similar post on EC's a few weeks ago when everyone was bragging about the summer they spent abroad as great EC's.

Dirt McGirt

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Re: "Awesome/Great" LORs and PS
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2005, 08:36:17 AM »
Wow. Those are quite a few responses to my late night post. A lot of you do seem to have truly great LORs (PS might be more difficult to judge). Initially, I just thought it was funny because for something to truly be "great," "excellent," etc., it must be so in relation to the competition. Good luck to all of you, and congrats to BD on your unbelievable acceptance!

Re: "Awesome/Great" LORs and PS
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2005, 08:53:24 AM »
My 80 page paper was greatly descriptive and later was condensed into a 36 page thesis.  I went to Oxford and studied at the Bodlein for an entire summer on account of my paper and to transform it into a thesis.  An 80 page paper is not that impressive when you are working on it for nine weeks.  I had 88 sources. 

I never said my LOR was outstanding, I simply said it was very good.

curly

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Re: "Awesome/Great" LORs and PS
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2005, 10:19:45 AM »
Not to say you need research opportunities to make good letters, but I'd say taking classes with a professor doesn't set you up for great LORs. What can they say about you? He/she writes good papers? They keep up with the reading? They can make very little positive contribution in comments about your integrity, work ethic, and probably very little about your intelligence (assuming you're reciting rote memorization on the exams). So that's my rant. Yes, we're all a little cocky and want to believe we have an edge on the rest of the competitors, but it just ain't so.


I really don't think that's true, especially not at a small school where you really get to know your professors inside and outside the classroom. Taking classes with a professor (and doing well in them) leads to office meetings about papers/subjects you're interested in, talks over coffee, and, if they like you, numerous conversations about your future plans and how/if they can help. That's been my experience, at least. Of course, I suppose that's harder if you're at a big school or professors aren't really the "teaching" type...

RocketBot

Re: "Awesome/Great" LORs and PS
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2005, 10:57:16 AM »
I call BS on an 80 page paper for an upper level undergrad class. Most people don't do this for a master's thesis.

I'm doing a 60-page one right now.  I don't see why it's so implausible.  It's great practice too, since I've never written anything this long.

chidochido

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Re: "Awesome/Great" LORs and PS
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2005, 12:43:40 PM »
Any discussion of paper length reminds me of composition class in high school, which is where this line of conversation belongs.

My UG thesis was twice as long as my Masters thesis, and I still think the short one was better....

...And I think that the letters are going to be bland unless the people say something very insightful about what you actually bring to the law school. Even people with connections to the school are not all that impressive because if they were really big guns they could probabaly just pick up the phone and call someone on your behalf. That's probabaly alot more effective...

KingDB

Re: "Awesome/Great" LORs and PS
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2005, 12:49:32 PM »
One of my LsOR just contained a list of restaurants in the greater Boston area at which my Prof. had favorable dining experiences.  You know, like, she'd eaten at over 5,000 restaurants in the last five years, and these couple represented those with the most culinary bang.  I was a little pissed, but she was right: they were all great.

chidochido

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Re: "Awesome/Great" LORs and PS
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2005, 01:01:07 PM »
Dude forward that LOR to me I'm taking the chinatown bus to Boston tomorrow...

Law2k6

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Re: "Awesome/Great" LORs and PS
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2005, 09:55:53 PM »
If you're curious how to tell, see this link: http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/admissions/2005/11/19#a11

Too bad I signed that "I never get to read this letter" line on the LSAC form. doh!