Category Archive: Letters of Recommendation

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How to Get Letters of Recommendation

When I was an undergrad, I went to office hours with my professors a maximum of one time per semester on average. I didn’t like speaking in class, and I never stayed after to ask questions at the end of class. As you might imagine, this made it somewhat difficult to find professors who would remember me, let alone write a letter of recommendation on my behalf. If you’re in a similar position, this post is for you—I’ll be going over some ways to try to get letters of recommendation when you’re not particularly close with any of your professors.

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How Useful Are LSAC Evaluations?

Five years ago, LSAC rolled out an evaluation service. Evaluations are like letters of recommendations—those who know you judge your personal capabilities based on what they have seen of you—but in quantified form. There are questions within categories such as intellectual skill and task management, and, for each question, evaluators must select from the same answer choices: Below Average (Bottom 50%), Average (Top 50%), Good (Top 25%), Very Good (Top 10%), Excellent (Top 5%), Truly Exceptional (Top 1–2%), and Inadequate Opportunity to Judge. Evaluators also had space in each category (up to 750 characters) to make comments.

Back then, three schools required evaluations: Albany Law School, University of Detroit Mercy, and University of Montana.

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Your Summer Homework: Letters of Recommendation

It’s summer. School’s out – well, not forever, but at least for a few months. If you’re applying to law school, that means it’s a good time to get around to asking for some letters of recommendation.

See, professors are notoriously slow at getting these things turned around. If you were a professor and had students asking you to take unpaid time to write about how great they are, you probably wouldn’t be in any big hurry either.

So summer has a couple advantages. First, professors often have a bit less going on in the summer time, so they might be a bit more inclined to get on it and write those letters. Just look at them; it’s clearly not like they’re taking off to the beach. Second, even if the professors you ask are as slow as usual, there’s plenty of time before you need to get those applications in. It won’t screw you over.

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Talking Law School Personal Statements and Letters of Rec

Last week, Hank attended a handful of events at the 2014 Pacific Coast Association of Pre-Law Advisors (PCAPLA) Conference and blogged about them. This is part 2 of 3.

It might be a law school applicant’s market right now.

But you still have to make a compelling case.

That was the final message delivered by Golden Gate University School of Law Associate Dean of Admissions Angela Dalfen to close out the PCAPLA Conference discussion on personal statements and letters of recommendation last Friday at UCLA School of Law.

Dalfen, along with UCLA School of Law Director of Admissions Talin Broosan, discussed law school admissions essays and letters of rec for about an hour, passing along their best pieces of advice to the dozens of pre-law advisors from all over the country who were in attendance.

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Before Your Break: Law School Letters of Recommendation

If you’re a student, you’re probably getting close to the end of a long end-of-semester checklist. However, Debbie Downer is here with some bad news for you: we have one more item that should be added to that list. Before you leave for the summer, you should consider which professors you’ll be asking for letters of recommendation.

We’ve written about letters of recommendation before, so you may already know that the best letter is one written by someone who knows you well and can write convincingly about your academic skills. Some choices for recommenders are easy: for instance, it would absolutely be preferable to ask the TA who knows you well rather than the professor of a big lecture who doesn’t even know your name. But what if you’re trying to decide among several equally good options?

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Help! I’m Still Waiting on a Letter of Recommendation!

Unfortunately, not many professors have a New Year’s resolution of getting through their backlog of law school letters of recommendation. So not only are they already holding up your application, but they’re unlikely to make a lot of headway…

Without a gentle reminder.

Waiting on law school letters of recommendation is, by far, the most frustrating part of the law school application process. While you might get stymied during your LSAT prep or sick of your personal statement, at least they’re under your control. The law school letter of recommendation, however, falls squarely on someone else’s shoulders.

It’s getting late in the law school application season, though, so it’s time to start prodding professors to get those letters in so you can apply.

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Law School Letter of Recommendation Writers are Wingmen

You’re at a bar and you have three options:

1) Go up to that cute guy/girl and tell them exactly how awesome you are.

2) Cry into your appletini because you’re too shy to approach a stranger (and if this applies to you, I assume you drink appletinis).

3) Send over a friend to talk you up.

No. 1 will result in you coming across as arrogant, and no. 2 will result in your appletini being watery and salty, neither of which will make it any better.

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Uh, Where’s My Law School Letter of Recommendation?

“It’s in the mail.”

As undergrads, you know what that means: You blew your cash on alcohol and need an extra week or so to scrape funds together to cover your rent.

It’s the same when a professor tells you this for your law school letter of recommendation (they do, after all, drink very expensive Scotch).

While the LSAT is painful, the law school personal statement is time-consuming, and getting your transcripts in can be a hassle, there’s no part of the process that’s more frustrating than your letters of recommendation. Professors will promise the world before disappearing on an indefinite sabbatical. They’ll ask you to write the letter for them and then put off signing and sending it.

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Law School Letters of Recommendation Rules to Live By

While your LSAT score, GPA and personal statement will make up the majority of your application packet, your law school letters of recommendation are an integral part of it as well. It’s easy to treat them as an afterthought, just hitting up a few professors in whose classes you received a good grade. However, if you plan out your law school letters of recommendation, they can become a huge plus. Here are a few rules to guide you in the process.

Law School Letters of Recommendation Rule #1
Ask for them early

Professors are notoriously slow at writing law school letters of recommendation.

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Playing the Game: Getting the Perfect Letter of Recommendation

I once taught a guy who was a real ladies’ man. During the class, I saw him hit on a girl using a logical reasoning question. That takes skill. Much more skill than I was taught during my Blueprint training. He’d shamelessly walk up to anyone and start flirting. I grabbed drinks with him a few times, and it was always the same at the bars.

Then one day, he walked up to me and asked how to approach a professor for a letter of recommendation.

I didn’t understand it then, and I don’t understand it now, but take almost anyone and ask them to approach a professor for a Letter of Rec (LoR), and they start shaking in their boots, making excuses.

That’s also when I realized that asking for a LoR is a lot like approaching someone at a bar.