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JD looking to add a PhD but SOL on LORs


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I'm mid-30s, career-changing and heading to law school in the fall with academia as the goal. I'm going to be applying to the PhD in History dual degree program wherever I land (all of the law schools I'm still considering offer programs). All are top-10 programs in both law and history, if that matters.

I have solid GRE scores - happy to provide more detail, but don't want to be a douchebag - and I'm not too worried about the writing sample or SOP. LORs are another story. Since I graduated a decade ago and most of my professors were one-term-and-done relationships (huge department), I know I'll have trouble finding profs to write non-generic letters. I only got one to respond with what I believe is a strong letter for my law school apps, and one who wrote a very generic letter that I didn't end up sending (sort of relieved she let me see it first). The other professor I had a solid relationship with in undergrad ever replied to my emails.

Employer letters won't be a problem, and my job involves nothing but research and writing, but it's not academic-level research and writing, either (marketing copywriting and online journalism - a few steps above BuzzFeed, but nowhere near NYT).

I've just started reading up on this and will continue to do so, but I haven't found much addressing this yet so I thought I'd toss it out and see what the cafe thinks. Thanks in advance!

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happy to provide more detail, but don't want to be a douchebag

why do you think it's douchey to provide information on your grad school application when asking about the strength of your grad school application in a forum about grad school applications?

Anyway, it doesn't matter - GREs aren't very important. tbh, I don't see how you can make it into a PhD without doing a master's first. Even if your UG profs were willing to write you amazing letters, those facts would still be 10+ years old. That you are the same person today as you were 10 years ago is a highly questionable proposition, and if your understanding of academic history reflects the training and contexts of 10 years ago, that's a problem. Journalistic writing isn't relevant to academic research, even if it were for NYT. Employer letters, at least in the humanities, aren't particularly useful as they can't speak to your potential as a scholar. Top programs are exceptionally competitive, even for people with an excellent background.

Good luck with law school, but yeah, if you want to do the PhD, I think you'll at minimum have to take some non-degree classes in history and try to get letters that way.

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