The application process is winding down. You are reviewing your offers and trying to make a decision. You put in a lot of work and effort to get here so congratulations!
But what about those professors, bosses and mentors who helped you along the way? Moreover, what about those same individuals that then agreed to write your letters of recommendation? They typically have to set aside time outside of the office/classroom to write these letters. And how long do you think it takes to craft a detailed, strong and persuasive letter? Many hours, according to some letter writers I know. So THANK THEM! Let them know how the process has concluded and how much they contributed to your success.
Still not persuaded that good letters of recommendation are that important? Click on this link to read what Asha Rangappa, Associate Dean for Admissions, Yale Law School has to say about letters of recommendation and why they are so impactful. Then reach out to your letter writers and JUST SAY THANK YOU!
Law school admissions officers frequently stress the importance of quality letters of recommendation in their decision whether to admit prospective students. For that reason, you must carefully select a professor or supervisor (if choosing an employer).* If a student chooses a recommender who does not know them well, the letter will fail to impress. In fact, such a “general” letter of recommendation can negatively influence an application. Prospective law students should begin acquainting themselves with their professors early to avoid this unenviable situation.
In order to achieve a personal connection with your professors, visit them during office hours. Professors hold office hours so they can get to know their students and help them better understand the subject matter of the course. Stop by early in the semester and explain to your professor that you would like to get to know them better. Bring questions about material that was covered in a recent class or try to focus the conversation on a professor’s area of expertise. Often times, professors focus their time on a specific area of interest within their field. Employ your research skills and try to determine the professor’s area of interest. Then, inquire about that topic.
Stay for ten or fifteen minutes and thank your professor for his or her time. Now, your professor will recognize you and will know you personally each time you contribute in class. Go back to office hours as needed. Provided you do well in the course, you have established the necessary groundwork for requesting a letter of recommendation at a later date.
*Typically, students should choose professors to write their letters of recommendation. For more information, see the University of Chicago’s thoughts on the topic.