A large number of books have already been written about the law school admissions process. While we may not be able to cover the entire law school admissions spectrum with a couple of articles, we've addressed the key issues you need to understand before sending off that law school application.
During law school admissions season, scores of future lawyers perch in front of their computers, avoiding the lure of the Wii in order to finish their law school applications. Somewhere between writing a check for $70 to Duke Law School and resisting the siren call of Guitar Hero, these law school candidates will mentally run through a checklist:
Helpful tips for obtaining a great law school letter of recommendation
Letters of recommendation?
You'd be amazed at how many students fail to plan their strategies for obtaining a good law school letter of recommendation. One reason for this may be that students surmise because someone else is writing the law school letter of recommendation, they have no control over its content. This kind of thinking couldn't be more wrong. From planning long-term (platonic) relationships with your professors to wowing them in the meeting, there are things you can do to maximize your chances of a great law school letter of recommendation. So, whether you've got two years or two months to submit for law school admissions, the following tips will serve you well in your pursuit of the better law school letter of recommendation.
Key to a good law school letter of recommendation I: Take multiple classes.
Taking several classes with professors can be a good way to demonstrate a sincere interest (or at least the illusion thereof) in professors and their fields. Just as the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, the path to professors' esteem (and hopefully a decent law school letter of recommendation) is helped by exhibiting curiosity in the discipline to which they have dedicated their lives. From a more practical standpoint, too, additional classes equal increased "stage time" to dazzle your professors with your astounding brilliance in class, on exams, or during office hours.
Key to a good law school letter of recommendation II: Participate.
Speaking of, there is no more effective way to cultivate a relationship with a professor that might translate to a helpful law school letter of recommendation than by contributing in class and going to office hours. Instead of furtively text messaging outfit advice during a global warming lecture, raise your hand and say something smart about the disappearing snows of Kilimanjaro. And don't be shy about knocking on your professor's office door or sitting in the front row. Asking probing questions, providing insightful in-class comments, and perfecting the useful art of schmoozing can smooth the path to getting a great law school letter of recommendation.
Key to a good law school letter of recommendation III: Get involved.
You've exhausted your professor's course offerings in Marxist ideology and bring an organic berry medley to her office every Tuesday. What more can you do to nurture that relationship? Run for president of the "Socialist Alternative" chapter she advises. That way, she'll be able to attest to your community commitment and leadership skills, in addition to your academic excellence, and will discuss it in her law school letter of recommendation.
Key to a good law school letter of recommendation IV: Late in the day?
For those of you who logged more hours at the campus bar than in the library, don't panic—even if it's the fall semester of your senior year. Begin attending and participating in class as much as possible. When you ultimately meet with your professor to request the law school letter of recommendation, be honest about your situation. (Though feel free to omit your preference for two-dollar pitchers to lectures.) Candor can prove invaluable; your professor may very well recognize the difficulty students face in forging personal connections with faculty and agree to write a good law school letter of recommendation on your behalf.
Key to a good law school letter of recommendation V: Do it in person.
For many students, asking a professor to write a law school letter of recommendation can be nerve-wracking. Do not, however, indulge this fear by taking the path of least resistance and sending an email. In this day and age where you can purchase produce, pay bills and score a Saturday night date online, approaching a professor in person demonstrates effort and respect. Not to mention the fact that it provides you with the opportunity to discern your professor's response; if he or she exhibits some reluctance, you may want to find another writer. If you can't ask for a law school letter of recommendation personally, asking over the phone is still a better option than doing so over email.
Key to a good law school letter of recommendation VI: Help me help you.
Walk into the meeting with a dossier to help your law school letter of recommendation-writer know what to write. Without direction, a professor writing you a law school letter of recommendation will probably write what they know about you. This can range from classroom performance only, to nothing at all in the case of some students. To help buttress this knowledge, or create its illusion, provide copies of your resume, personal statement, noteworthy papers or exams and other useful information. If the law school letter of recommendation-writer is amenable, you can then discuss your aims in attending law school, and any other information you think might look good in a letter.
So, if you are planning to apply for law school admissions, keep on writing those term papers, volunteering with not-for-profits, and dedicating yourself to mastering the LSAT. But don't forget that the law school letter of recommendation is an important piece of the law school application process, too. One in which you might have more say than you thought.
©Copyright 2004-2011 Blueprint Prep. All Rights Reserved
1.888.4.BP.PREP // firstname.lastname@example.org