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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Academics & Research

Law school, students dissect admissions survey

A company that offers test preparations for higher education programs released a survey last week that stated, “Aspiring lawyers need to be more careful about who they call as their own character witnesses for their law school recommendations.”

Negative letters of recommendation, the Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions survey states, have passed through the hands of 87 percent of 145 law school admissions officers surveyed.

UH Law Center Assistant Dean for Admissions Jamie Dillon said the survey overstates the situation.

“Most law schools receive thousands of applications per year, so to say that (almost) 90 percent of admissions officers have seen a negative letter doesn’t actually say anything about what percentage of letters are negative,” Dillon said. “In my experience, it’s a very small portion.”

The survey went on to give advice to students on how they can avoid negative letters of recommendation by choosing the right person to write the letter and not trying to talk to someone who seems ambivalent toward writing the letter.

“Certainly applicants should be selective in deciding who they ask to write their letters of recommendation, but it’s really not the minefield this article makes it out to be,” Dillon said.

“The bigger pitfalls are things like an applicant thinking that he needs to ask someone high-profile to write the letter, resulting in a generic letter of recommendation that tells the admissions committee nothing useful.”

The survey also said that 73 percent of admissions officers say they have discovered claims on applications to be exaggerated or untrue.

“I can’t say that I have seen many lies or exaggerations in resumes,” Dillon said. “Most applicants are pretty careful.”

Victoria Cantu, a philosophy and pre-law junior, said she did not find the survey’s information helpful.

“It just says that it has happened, which is obvious,” Cantu said. “I want to know how often.”

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