This week’s podcast discusses letters of recommendation in the law school application. The letter of recommendation can be a telling aspect of any application because it can show the relationship between an applicant and a third party. It gives an applicant’s mentor, professor or friend the ability to explain to an admissions representative why they might be a better candidate than other similarly-situated applicants.
On the program we have Heike Spahn, Senior Consultant with admissions consulting company AdmissionsConsultants, Inc., and former Assistant Dean at University of Chicago Law School; Joyce Curll, former Dean of Admission at Harvard Law School and New York University School of Law and author of Best Law School Admission Secrets; and Susan Whalley, author of How to Write Powerful Letters of Recommendation and founder of CheckMyCollegeApp.com.
Our first guest, Heike Spahn, says that letters of recommendation are extremely important but won’t compensate for other parts of the application such as a low LSAT score or GPA. She believes that it is very important to make sure the right person is writing the letter of recommendation, and says it needs to be someone who knows you well and is able to speak knowledgeable about your academic ability and character. Spahn suggests that older applicants who have been out of school for a number of years and are unable to receive a stellar recommendation from a former professor ask a mentor or supervisor at their place of business.
Joyce Curll agrees with Spahns comments, and says that letters of recommendation should definitely come from someone who knows you well. Although many students believe that a recommender’s impressive title will take them far, Curll suggests that prominent figures in the community, though they may seem prestigious, aren’t always the best choice. It is better to obtain a recommendation from someone less well-known who can attest to your work ethic.
Our final guest, Susan Whalley, talks about the best type of letter an applicant can receive. She then goes on to say that building relationships with your professors and other academia personnel can be critical if you are interested in going to a graduate or professional program. Whalley also says it is imperative that the applicant give their recommender all the information they can about themselves so the writer can pen the best letter possible. Finally, she suggests that following up with the writers is important, and an essential part of the process.
Heike Spahn – Senior Consultant with AdmissionsConsultants, Inc. and former Assistant Dean at University of Chicago Law School
Joyce Curll – Former Dean of Admission at Harvard Law School and New York University School of Law and author of Best Law School Admission Secrets
Susan Whalley – Author of How to Write Powerful Letters of Recommendation and founder of CheckMyCollegeApp.com