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chihuahua94

References - Academic vs. Non-Academic

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On Dalhousie's website they mention that if you are currently in school that you must submit academic references. I am about to enter my final year of undergraduate studies but am hoping to submit one academic and one professional reference, because I know that my employer will write me a very strong letter.

 

Does anyone have a sense of how strict this guideline for academic references is, or if anyone has been admitted having only submitted one academic reference? I ask because I know that nearly every other law school only requires one academic letter, so I am unsure how strict Dal is on this front. I've emailed admissions about this but they haven't gotten back to me yet.

 

Thanks!

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I'm wondering this as well. If I apply I don't have much choice except to send one academic and one non-academic letter. Would this harm my application much?

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You can always email Rose and ask but if they say you need two academic references, you need two academic references. Submitting a non-academic letter won't cut it.

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The letter of reference and its strength doesn't play into the decision very much. You will be a stronger candidate if you have two decent academic letters, fulfilling their request, rather than an excellent professional reference. They're looking to see if you are a good student, and right now you have the capacity and proximity to develop relationships with professors that is much stronger as opposed to someone who has been outside of school for a few years, which is why they are asking for two from you.  Additionally, the letter from a professor might be better than you think as they have given and received tons of letters over the years so they are well versed and know what admissions are seeking. Professors want to see you succeed, so I'm sure it will be better than you anticipate. BTW this info came from an LSAT prep course I took last year.

 

For myself, I contacted an old professor of mine that I only had one class with, and I wasn't sure if he would even remember me. I gave him a few pointers to remind him who I was and although I never saw the letters, I got in to a few schools no problem.

Edited by kryazi

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The letter of reference and its strength doesn't play into the decision very much. You will be a stronger candidate if you have two decent academic letters, fulfilling their request, rather than an excellent professional reference. They're looking to see if you are a good student, and right now you have the capacity and proximity to develop relationships with professors that is much stronger as opposed to someone who has been outside of school for a few years, which is why they are asking for two from you.  Additionally, the letter from a professor might be better than you think as they have given and received tons of letters over the years so they are well versed and know what admissions are seeking. Professors want to see you succeed, so I'm sure it will be better than you anticipate. BTW this info came from an LSAT prep course I took last year.

 

For myself, I contacted an old professor of mine that I only had one class with, and I wasn't sure if he would even remember me. I gave him a few pointers to remind him who I was and although I never saw the letters, I got in to a few schools no problem.

 

Thanks. This is reassuring. I'm really panicking about the letters because I did not develop close relationships with any of my professors and was really banking on only having to ask one....

 

If anyone else is wondering, I explained this to Dal Admissions and this was the response I received:

 

"The minimum number of references is, indeed, two.  Of these, if you have been in school within the previous three years, they should both be academic in nature.  However, if you have an additional, non-academic, reference, you may certainly submit it as well.

 

In addition, if you are in a position where you can only obtain one academic reference, you would have to submit an addendum letting the admissions committee know why you will only be submitting one academic reference."

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Thanks. This is reassuring. I'm really panicking about the letters because I did not develop close relationships with any of my professors and was really banking on only having to ask one....

 

If anyone else is wondering, I explained this to Dal Admissions and this was the response I received:

 

"The minimum number of references is, indeed, two.  Of these, if you have been in school within the previous three years, they should both be academic in nature.  However, if you have an additional, non-academic, reference, you may certainly submit it as well.

 

In addition, if you are in a position where you can only obtain one academic reference, you would have to submit an addendum letting the admissions committee know why you will only be submitting one academic reference."

 

You have a year to develop relationships and that is plenty of time! This year just go to office hours and ask questions and even offer to take the professor out for coffee to discuss your potential law future. You'll be fine!

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Just to add to what everyone else is saying, I had actually misunderstood and had initially sent along one academic reference and one non-academic reference. The office emailed me to let me know an academic reference was missing - luckily a reference for my other applications was able to forward it along speedily. They didn't say anything about the non-academic reference (for me, it was a lawyer that had supervised me during a practicum placement), but if you know it will be strong - and especially if it's at least somewhat relevant - it would be a good idea to submit it too. 

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