Don't throw away your letters of recommendation!

Don't be mistaken, every part of your law, graduate, or professional school application carries weight, including the letters of recommendation.

Understandably, some applicants have a closer relationship to their recommenders than others; but if you can help it, don't waste this component of your application by asking for a recommendation without providing some guidance as to what you would like the recommendation to communicate.

Instead, use your letters to increase your chances of acceptance. Here's how:

1) Strategically plan the content of your letter(s).

Is there an aspect of your life or candidacy that didn't quite "fit" in the personal statement?

Maybe another dimension of your diversity?

Whatever the case, take a moment to review your application package as a whole and plan what each letter will say. Then, let each recommender know the purpose and focus of their particular letter.

2) Make sure it's not just a general letter that basically says nothing more than:

"I recommend Sarah to XYZ school/program because she is an amazing person."

It's ok to have such statements of general "amazingness" once or twice in your letter, but the letter should go deeper by, first off, answering the following question: What makes you a great fit for that law school (or graduate program) and/or profession?

Secondly, the letter should include specific examples of when that recommender has witnessed you in action carrying out whatever character trait they just boasted about.

3) The letter(s) of recommendation should be comparative and superlative in nature.

Comparative: The letter should compare you to your similarly-situated peers.

Superlative: "Superlative" simply means of the highest degree or quality. There should be some phrases that are saying you were the best something, or the most XYZ:

"She was the top in her class."

"He closed more accounts than anyone in his cohort."

"In my 20 years of teaching, she was the only one to ..."

"He outperformed others in XYZ industry..."

"Her analytical writing capabilities are superior. I even used one of her papers as a model for the class."

I went into much more detail during last week's YouTube Live. Be sure to check it out:

If you need one-on-one help with writing your letter of recommendation, or with any component of your law/graduate school application, apply for a service at www.HarvardandHardshipLLC.com/services.

Happy writing!



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