Archive for January, 2012

5 Tips for Law School Letter of Recommendation01.10.12

As part of the LSAT prep class I took, one of our instructors gave helpful advice with law school application process. Sandy, who specialize in helping us with all questions applications related, talked us through much of the navigating the LSAC website and preemptively answered questions she knows we will have. She gave us many helpful advice regarding Letter of Recommendation and sadly, I ignored her advice out of smugness, smugness that caused me many weeks of sleeplessness and anxiety during the holiday season.

I’m sharing her advice, some of which I took, but all of which I wish I had heeded.

  1. Who to ask?
    I’ve covered this topic in an entire post. Key thing to note from what Sandy said, if you have been out of school for two years, you are right on the cusp of needing at least one letter from your professor. Less than two years, you really should have at least one letter from a professor.

    Another thing, as much as you want a shining recommendation, at the end of the day, it’s the letter writer that bothers writing at all that completes your file, so make sure you find someone reliable.

    If the required number of letters is 2, ask 3-4 people to write letters for you. You will have the option of assigning letter writers to schools when you apply, at which point, if someone failed to write the letter on time, you can choose from the submitted letters. Trust me, even if you really prefer to have a certain special someone write the letter, when your file sits as incomplete long past personal deadline, you will settle for a letter written in puked up crayon from your neighbor’s 3 year old cat if it will close your application as complete. I’m only partially joking in the last sentence but mostly because I don’t know if LSAC will accept a bloody paw-print as signature.

    This could have saved me so much heart ache and disappointment if I did this. I asked two good friends of mine, both of whom were producers of multiple projects I’ve worked on and I’ve known for over ten years, to help with the letter writing. Letter Writer #2 got the letter sent in and processed in a very timely fashion. Letter Writer #1 who also happens to be my best friend and whom I’ve been griping to about the law school applying process since last January, still haven’t sent in the letter as of my writing this. He said yes to the letter writing a full year ago and I even asked if he would like me to make other arrangements for the letter writing when his letter wasn’t turned in by December 9th. He didn’t respond to my text message asking about the letter on December 22nd. In the end, I broke down and begged another friend, also ex-coworker, to write me a letter two days before Christmas. This made for the worst Christmas gift ever, for my boyfriend especially because he got to hear me cry about this for the entire month. I cry like a maimed animal, it’s absolutely terrible and you just want to put it out of its misery, so hanging out with that for a month is about as fun as it sounds.

    My heart still breaks when I think about the fact that my friend never responded and never sent in the letter. I don’t even want to know what happened at this point because it doesn’t change this simple fact:
    My applications sat in incomplete status for a month longer than intended because I had to wait for two letters of recommendation. Rolling admissions at my target school started in early December and I wasn’t a shoo-in applicant, so this would really hurt my chances being late by a month.

  3. Letters of Recommendation or Evaluation?
    Sandy said she spoke to a few office of admissions about their preference and it sounded like Letters of Recommendation was still the way to go. Some schools would accept evaluations, but just about every school would accept LORs. That said, one very helpful tip that Sandy gave us: print copies of the evaluation questions to give your letter writers for guidelines.

    There is a link from the “Letters of  Recommendation and Evaluations” section to “Current Evaluation Questions”. Copy and paste that to emails or a word doc to print out for your letter writers. It really gives the letter writer a better idea of the type of information law schools want to know about you.

  4. Things to Include In Letter of Recommendation Package
    Make sure you include the LOR Form. There is a line that is optional for you to sign, it waives your rights to read the LOR, Sandy’s advice is to just sign the thing. It shows that you have confidence in the people writing your letters of recommendation. I will admit to not having signed the paper for my 3rd letter writer because leeway time was something I lacked, so I just emailed the PDF file to him.

    With my first two letter writers, I had time to spare, I made the proper package to mail out. Things to include:
    1) LOR Form, signed and dated to waive your rights.
    2) Stamped envelop with the address for LSAC written.
    3) Copy of “Current Evaluation Questions”.
    4)If you don’t speak to this person regularly, include some basic explanation of what the evaluation questions is for and making sure the LOR is signed.

  5. Thank You Letter
    Because my letter writers are long time friends of mine, whom I have failed to send gifts during important holidays and birthdays (I’m a bad friend, yes), I got each letter writer a large gift basket from Costco full of meats and pate.

    Obviously if you are on a student budget, elaborate gift baskets are not necessary. However, a letter of appreciation is still a must. From the standpoint of someone who stressed for a month because someone failed to write the letter, I can tell you, when someone does NOT write the letter, you truly appreciate the ones that come through for you. And you should do your best to let the person know you appreciate it, whether or not you selected their letter to bundle with your application.

Another thing to note, LSAC will accept fax letters even though they don’t recommend it, but I do wonder if it’s faster than mailing it. Second thing to note, LSAC is closed from Christmas to New Year’s Day. This means if your letter, like mine, arrives during that time or right after, it’ll take nearly a week for them to get to your letter of recommendation and process it due to the week long pile up. Again, I do wonder if I had the letter faxed, if this would improve the timing.

Getting the letters of recommendation ended up being my biggest hurdle, which it really shouldn’t be had I planned it better.

Posted in Law School Applicationwith No Comments →

Happy New Year01.03.12

I apologize for abandoning the blog in the midst of law school application woes. I had really hoped to take everyone on this painful journey with me, because I could really have used your company. Then I started working on the application, and certain parts became such a struggle that I really didn’t want to think about it, let alone come here and cry about it. Because no one loves a downer, especially me.

However, it’s a new year and I’m back. I can now reflect upon the application process and talk about it without feeling like it’s adding to the stress of trying to apply. Mostly because I’ve been self-medicating with ice cream.

Snowboarding season has finally arrived in Seattle area, I didn’t realize how much this too has been depressing me until I got on the slopes and started feeling glee.

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