Law School Discussion

"great LOR"

annita

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"great LOR"
« on: December 30, 2006, 03:11:59 PM »
I spend way too much time on LSN.... But here's a question for anyone who cares to comment, when people write on LSN that they have "great LOR" or "really strong recommendations," what in the world does that mean? I assume most people waive the right to see their letters of rec. So does this just mean that the letters are coming from important, influential people who know the applicant well? Or have people actually seen the letters that are going out?

bamf

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Re: "great LOR"
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2006, 03:16:21 PM »
I spend way too much time on LSN.... But here's a question for anyone who cares to comment, when people write on LSN that they have "great LOR" or "really strong recommendations," what in the world does that mean? I assume most people waive the right to see their letters of rec. So does this just mean that the letters are coming from important, influential people who know the applicant well? Or have people actually seen the letters that are going out?

maybe not important or influential, but when I say my LORs are pretty darn good I mean that I have a close relationship with the Rec'ers, I know they have seen me through some really good work and that they have great things to say.

Re: "great LOR"
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2006, 03:18:31 PM »
I waived my right but two of my recommenders sent me a copy of the letter after it was sent out.

annita

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Re: "great LOR"
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2006, 03:21:04 PM »
I spend way too much time on LSN.... But here's a question for anyone who cares to comment, when people write on LSN that they have "great LOR" or "really strong recommendations," what in the world does that mean? I assume most people waive the right to see their letters of rec. So does this just mean that the letters are coming from important, influential people who know the applicant well? Or have people actually seen the letters that are going out?

maybe not important or influentiat, but when I say my LORs are pretty darn good I mean that I have a close relationship with the Rec'ers, I know they have seen me through some really good work and that they have great things to say.

OK... then here's another question for people: what qualifies as an "okay" letter or a "not so great" letter? I mean, doesn't everyone ask people who know them well, and have good things to say??

Re: "great LOR"
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2006, 03:22:58 PM »
Vague, generic, and non-comparitive letters are not helpful.

EEtoJD

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Re: "great LOR"
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2006, 03:27:04 PM »
Vague, generic, and non-comparitive letters are not helpful.

Yeah. They should say something about their relationship with you, what they know of your work, and compare you to other students or employees. If they know of or were involved with your extracurricular involvement, even better.

By this criteria, I have two excellent, one great, and one good LOR. But the good one can be better than the great one b/c the good one was from an English prof. while the great was from a math prof. (I'm an electrical engineer, in case you didn't know).

EDIT: For people like me, who have to constantly prove they can write, an English prof. recommender is rare.

db2ur

Re: "great LOR"
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2006, 03:29:20 PM »
I think an LOR that 'deliberately' says bad things about the applicant is quite rare.  Applicants oughta think a little about whom they ask.  If you can't solidly say "X recommender will say good stuffs about me," then you should keep looking.

That being said, an 'ok' LOR is one that damns with faint praise.  These are likely more common than believed.

EEtoJD

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Re: "great LOR"
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2006, 03:29:29 PM »
I also sat in the office while two of my recommenders wrote my recommendation.

Quote
OK... then here's another question for people: what qualifies as an "okay" letter or a "not so great" letter? I mean, doesn't everyone ask people who know them well, and have good things to say??

An OK letter would be a standard letter. "He'll make a fine laywer!" "She got an A in my class and seems like a nice gal." Just general stuff that just is totally worthless to the law school. No specific instances or comparative type analysis.

A not so great letter is someone who either can't write, or deliberately says bad things about you.

Two points of contention here:
1. I don't think not being able to write necessarily makes it a "not so great" letter. Three Two of my recommenders are Indian and one is Iranian and don't write so great. I was lucky in that I had the opportunity to edit them (thank goodness for the math prof... jeez), but I think they'd understand.
2. I think if someone says deliberately bad things, it makes it a little worse than "not so great". Like maybe "terrible", "deal-breaking", or "death-like". :)

bamf

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Re: "great LOR"
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2006, 03:35:28 PM »
not many people will be able to identify a letter as not so great because they will think they asked the right people when they actually asked the wrong people.  Asking a prof who you had as a freshman and who is famous or something is worse than asking a younger, less-well-known prof who you have taken three upper level classes with ... etc.

EEtoJD

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Re: "great LOR"
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2006, 03:49:09 PM »
not many people will be able to identify a letter as not so great because they will think they asked the right people when they actually asked the wrong people.  Asking a prof who you had as a freshman and who is famous or something is worse than asking a younger, less-well-known prof who you have taken three upper level classes with ... etc.

This is why going to a smaller school (smaller dept. actually, big school) is nice. I had three upper division courses with two of my recommenders and two with another.