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noname44

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« on: February 24, 2007, 11:13:10 AM »
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Alamo

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Re: How much do LOR's REALLY matter?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2007, 11:19:45 AM »
Conventional wisdom is that they matter only if they're exceptionally good or exceptionally bad.  If they're from especially reputable professors, that of course helps as well.

Bottom line - nobody really knows.  But at a place like Harvard that gets 10x as many qualified applicants as it could possibly take, it can only help.

And even if you don't get into your (and almost everybody else's) dream school, I'm sure you can find some other school out there that will give you a chance, and maybe even give you some decent career opportunities.
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Jen2bJD

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Re: How much do lor's REALLY matter?
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2007, 11:00:44 PM »
Simply put: most people have only average recommendations.  If you have stellar ones, that is going to make the adcoms take notice, because I'm sure even at Harvard great letters of rec don't happen every day.

I think they will prove very valuable, FWIW. 

Congrats and good luck.  :)

Iceslip

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Re: How much do lor's REALLY matter?
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2007, 11:49:02 PM »
I have three of perhaps the most amazing LOR's ever. (My profs each gave me an unsolicited copy of their letters.) They were all written by professors with whom I worked very closely and who pretty much wish I was their own daughter. They seriously made me blush very hard and one of them even made me feel like a fraud - as in, NO WAY I am that amazing, he's gotta be lying?

I've seen people on this board and elsewhere tell others not to worry too much about a less-than-stellar recommendation, because they don't matter that much. Is that true?

I'm really wondering because Harvard is my dream school and I just barely maybe have the numbers for it (lower 25% LSAT/ median GPA). My EC's and other soft factors are pretty good, my personal statement is average, but what I really hope will carry me in my recommendations. Is this an unreasonable hope?


Man...haha I'm sorry to break this to you (if you haven't already figured it out though, which would be shocking), but NOTHING

NOOOOOTHINNNNNNNG

matters in the law school admission process except LSAT.  Seriously.  People will reply back with, "don't listen to this, it's not right," but honestly, I would love to see evidence to the contrary: people just qualitatively say, "no, LORs, GPA, blah blah matters."

My friend had a DUI 3 months ago, sat on his ass since our '05 graduation, maybe a couple internships undergrad only, 3.1---> He got into GW, Fordham, full scholarships to St. Johns, Rutgers, etc.   a DUI!!

Other friend same NYU, got 3.94, but only 163...waitlisted a bunch of places, only got into Cardozo.

These are just two anecdotes, but law school numbers says it all...look at the jumps after 160 and 165 for most schools; my experience too: one more question right (I got 159), and I would be into St. John's now; many many people ahve replied on this board indicating quick acceptances with 160 or 161.

In summary: LORs mean NOTHING.  if you're LSAT is mediocre or borderline, only some kind of LOR from a very respected, known alumni still who is chummy with the dean of admissions or something actually carries any weight; and when you're looking at Harvard, who knows...honestly, for a place like that, breaking the hallowed 170 mark is really the clincher.

Two more questions right on the LSAT means more than anything else in the admissions world.

SilentSwirl

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Re: How much do lor's REALLY matter?
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2007, 11:58:12 PM »
I have three of perhaps the most amazing LOR's ever. (My profs each gave me an unsolicited copy of their letters.) They were all written by professors with whom I worked very closely and who pretty much wish I was their own daughter. They seriously made me blush very hard and one of them even made me feel like a fraud - as in, NO WAY I am that amazing, he's gotta be lying?

I've seen people on this board and elsewhere tell others not to worry too much about a less-than-stellar recommendation, because they don't matter that much. Is that true?

I'm really wondering because Harvard is my dream school and I just barely maybe have the numbers for it (lower 25% LSAT/ median GPA). My EC's and other soft factors are pretty good, my personal statement is average, but what I really hope will carry me in my recommendations. Is this an unreasonable hope?


Man...haha I'm sorry to break this to you (if you haven't already figured it out though, which would be shocking), but NOTHING

NOOOOOTHINNNNNNNG

matters in the law school admission process except LSAT.  Seriously.  People will reply back with, "don't listen to this, it's not right," but honestly, I would love to see evidence to the contrary: people just qualitatively say, "no, LORs, GPA, blah blah matters."

My friend had a DUI 3 months ago, sat on his ass since our '05 graduation, maybe a couple internships undergrad only, 3.1---> He got into GW, Fordham, full scholarships to St. Johns, Rutgers, etc.   a DUI!!

Other friend same NYU, got 3.94, but only 163...waitlisted a bunch of places, only got into Cardozo.

These are just two anecdotes, but law school numbers says it all...look at the jumps after 160 and 165 for most schools; my experience too: one more question right (I got 159), and I would be into St. John's now; many many people ahve replied on this board indicating quick acceptances with 160 or 161.

In summary: LORs mean NOTHING.  if you're LSAT is mediocre or borderline, only some kind of LOR from a very respected, known alumni still who is chummy with the dean of admissions or something actually carries any weight; and when you're looking at Harvard, who knows...honestly, for a place like that, breaking the hallowed 170 mark is really the clincher.

Two more questions right on the LSAT means more than anything else in the admissions world.

This is BS.  If only LSAT mattered, then candidates within the upper part of the target range for a school would never get rejected. The fact is they DO get rejected.

And Data, from this very board, with a 165, got into Yale. YALE.

I have a 163, same as your friend, and I have gotten into more than Cardozo. I'm in at American and De Paul with $$. You can be a troll and say it's only because I'm a URM, but that would only prove my point that the admissions committee looked beyond just the stark numbers.

To the OP - I think that if they LORs really are as great as you say, and they really help the Ad Comms to know you as a person and help them see why you would be an asset, I think they will definitely be of help.  Look at it this way: 3 outstanding LORs is uncommon, and anything that is uncommon will help you stand out from the pack. Which is exactly what you are looking for. If you are at the 25% for LSAT, that means a quarter of their incoming class scores lower than you did.

dashrashi

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Re: How much do lor's REALLY matter?
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2007, 03:53:56 PM »
Conventional wisdom says that the bottom 25% of LSAT scores are usually reserved for URMs. Which is not at all to say that all URMs at a given school have bottom 25% LSAT scores--on the contrary, Data shows that non-URMS can also get into schools with lower LSAT scores, and many, many URMs have stellar numbers--well above the 75. However, you have to consider that Data has more than 3 stellar recs: he has soft factors the likes of which mere mortals cannot dream, and I would venture that the OP, with a PS self-described as "average," probably cannot say the same. (Nor can I, or most anyone.)

I think it might be safer to say that the bottom 25% of LSAT scores are reserved for people whose soft factors (in toto) boggle the mind, including URM, WE, PS, LORs, ECs, etc etc etc.

I will also submit that Yale is possibly more susceptible to soft factors than Harvard is, because Yale would have to drop its median LSAT to something in the 150s I believe in order to drop out of #1 in USNWR. Simply put, Yale rejects so many people with numbers that are autoadmit for HLS that they have the room in their averages for people with low numbers but ridiculous softs.

I'm assuming the OP's numbers are something like 3.75 and 170. With those kind of borderline numbers, it's often better to apply super early, when the adcomms don't have to be as concerned when admitting people about gaming the rankings (e.g.. taking high LSAT splitters to make up for some earlier lower LSAT scorers with high GPAs, or vice versa).

That said, you never do know, and of course it always helps if your recommenders have some relationship to HLS.

Don't get me wrong, the OP's numbers are outstanding and she has a good shot--Chiashu pegs it at 24%, so best of luck.
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annita

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Re: How much do lor's REALLY matter?
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2007, 11:24:39 PM »
I have three of perhaps the most amazing LOR's ever. (My profs each gave me an unsolicited copy of their letters.) They were all written by professors with whom I worked very closely and who pretty much wish I was their own daughter. They seriously made me blush very hard and one of them even made me feel like a fraud - as in, NO WAY I am that amazing, he's gotta be lying?

I've seen people on this board and elsewhere tell others not to worry too much about a less-than-stellar recommendation, because they don't matter that much. Is that true?

I'm really wondering because Harvard is my dream school and I just barely maybe have the numbers for it (lower 25% LSAT/ median GPA). My EC's and other soft factors are pretty good, my personal statement is average, but what I really hope will carry me in my recommendations. Is this an unreasonable hope?


Man...haha I'm sorry to break this to you (if you haven't already figured it out though, which would be shocking), but NOTHING

NOOOOOTHINNNNNNNG

matters in the law school admission process except LSAT.  Seriously.  People will reply back with, "don't listen to this, it's not right," but honestly, I would love to see evidence to the contrary: people just qualitatively say, "no, LORs, GPA, blah blah matters."

My friend had a DUI 3 months ago, sat on his ass since our '05 graduation, maybe a couple internships undergrad only, 3.1---> He got into GW, Fordham, full scholarships to St. Johns, Rutgers, etc.   a DUI!!

Other friend same NYU, got 3.94, but only 163...waitlisted a bunch of places, only got into Cardozo.

These are just two anecdotes, but law school numbers says it all...look at the jumps after 160 and 165 for most schools; my experience too: one more question right (I got 159), and I would be into St. John's now; many many people ahve replied on this board indicating quick acceptances with 160 or 161.

In summary: LORs mean NOTHING.  if you're LSAT is mediocre or borderline, only some kind of LOR from a very respected, known alumni still who is chummy with the dean of admissions or something actually carries any weight; and when you're looking at Harvard, who knows...honestly, for a place like that, breaking the hallowed 170 mark is really the clincher.

Two more questions right on the LSAT means more than anything else in the admissions world.

This is BS.  If only LSAT mattered, then candidates within the upper part of the target range for a school would never get rejected. The fact is they DO get rejected.

And Data, from this very board, with a 165, got into Yale. YALE.

I have a 163, same as your friend, and I have gotten into more than Cardozo. I'm in at American and De Paul with $$. You can be a troll and say it's only because I'm a URM, but that would only prove my point that the admissions committee looked beyond just the stark numbers.


First off, I'm NOT a troll, but I think it is slightly misleading to classify URM-status as a 'soft' (though it is often referred to as such on this board and elsewhere). When a URM with a 171 and 3.7 posts a "what are my chances at HLS?" thread and people respond, "you'll almost definitely get in," they can say that because for HLS it generally is a numbers game -- for URMs and everyone else. It's just that for URMs, the rules of the numbers game are different.

randymarsh

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Re: How much do lor's REALLY matter?
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2007, 12:31:22 AM »
FWIW, I got WLed at Michigan and I suspect submitting only one letter of rec had a lot to do with that misfortune.  :-\
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H4CS

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Re: How much do lor's REALLY matter?
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2007, 12:49:45 AM »
I've sat on a few scholarship committees and during that time have read hundreds of LOR.  Everyone thinks they have outstanding recs but in general, they are pretty constant.  The really bad ones were big red flags, not because of their content (they were usually extremely short and impersonal) but because it showed bad judgment on behalf of the candidate who asked that professor instead of choosing a writer who knew him/her better (or not having one).  There's only been two recs I've ever read that I would describe as outstanding.  One was 6 pages long and went into detail about the candidate and was heartfelt to the point where it changed the way I looked at that person.  Sadly, she did not get the scholarship in spite of that, but it made me support her candidacy.  The other one began "X is not only the best student I've taught in my X years of teaching but is the best citizen I know."  It was written by an immensely famous faculty member.  That person also had some of the best hard and soft factors I've ever seen and the rec was just icing on the cake. 

So in short, everyone overstates the strength of their LOR.  Adcoms read hundreds of these a day and all the outstanding ones blend together.  Only the top. 01% are actually that good.  Sorry to burst bubbles, but it's unlikely that yours will be the three that the committee will remember out of all the rest.  Send the writers a nice gift and feel good about yourself, but be careful about getting your hopes up about Harvard.

Also, it should be written LOR, not LORs. It's Letters of Recommendation, not Letter of Recommendations.

H4CS

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Re: How much do lor's REALLY matter?
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2007, 01:57:59 AM »
Okay, really? Are you seriously correcting my pluralization of the acronym LOR? Yes, I suppose "letters" is the word that should be plural and not "recommendation" but we use the acronym LOR so often around this place that it's pretty much it's own noun. Anyway, who cares? If you wanted to be picky what really should be corrected is my hyphenation of "LOR's", because it's defiantly not possessive. But honestly, could you be any more anal?

That wasn't targeted directly at you but more towards board convention.  And yes, I could be much more anal.