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Evaluations

In late April of 2010, ANNE M. BRANDT,
Executive Director of LSAC, wrote:

Greetings!  I write to let you know... about the new Evaluation Service that will be launched in late summer.

This service complements the Letter of Recommendation Service and law schools may accept, recommend, or require that applicants provide evaluations as part of the law school application.

An evaluation is composed of an online form with six categories of skills and attributes important in the law school admission process.   The evaluator rates 30 individual skills and attributes and may provide comments about each category. General comments about the applicant can be made at the end of the evaluation. The service will be completely online.

Candidates will furnish LSAC with the names of those persons doing an evaluation; LSAC will contact the evaluator with a link to the website; and the evaluator will establish an account with LSAC and complete the evaluation forms online and submit them to LSAC.  

The evaluations are sent as part of the law school report.

As you can tell if you actually read that box, an evaluation is not a recommendation.

  • A recommendation is a letter; an evaluation is a number of bulleted boxes.
  • A rec has no assigned topics, while evals are directed assessments.
  • A rec gets snail-mailed, an eval is submitted electronically.
  • A rec requires a bar-coded form on paper; an eval requires a user ID and password for electronic submission.

When should you use which?

Recommendations

  • Your work for this recommender is academic.
  • You wrote long papers with footnotes.
  • Your work was primarily individual.
  • Your assignments were primarily analytical.
  • You were in a class with a group of peers, all working at the same time.
  • Your recommender is free to talk about your work.

Evaluations

  • This recommender supervised you in an activity.
  • You prepared projects with verbal presentations.
  • You worked primarily in small groups.
  • Your assignments were primarily creative.
  • You worked over a period of time, but not at the same time as the others being assessed.
  • Security or other restrictions limit what can be said.

Even if all your recommenders fit into the traditional category, you should get at least one evaluations; some law schools require them.

How Do You Create an Evaluation?

You begin in the same way that you create a recommendation. In fact, you start on the same page, and can assign a rec, an eval or both:

eval1

Instead of printing a bar-coded form, as you do for a rec, your evaluator will receive an email from LSAC informing the person that you've requested an eval. You must

  • give the evaluator's email address,
  • give a description to the evaluator so that she'll know who you are, and
  • give a description for yourself so that you'll know who the evaluator is.

eval2

DO NOT give a generic description of yourself like "History 103." How many people in History 103 asked this person to evaluate them? Instead, give a description that will trigger a clear memory. I went to an Egyptian restaurant with this client, so I won't confuse her with any other clients. Had she written "DC Law Forum," I might confuse her with the others I met at that forum — if I even remembered which year!

Since you may not have as memorable an event, think of some good way to describe yourself: "term paper about Sappho;" "arranged field trip to Monticello;" "walked you to bus stop every Friday." Or there may be some fact about yourself: "lady with the walker;" "you always confuse me with Maria;" "always had a skateboard;" "you laughed at my pink hair."

If you can't think of a memorable way to describe yourself, this may not be the right person to ask for an evaluation.

Finally, you must give a description of the recommender to yourself, to jog your memory. The evaluator may see this description, so be diplomatic.

"History 103" will do nicely here, since you only took the class once (we hope). In those rare cases in which you can take a class more than once without having flunked it [usually a course called "Selected Topics in...," which your school allows you to take several times], be more descriptive: "Aristotle's Politics" rather than simply "Aristotle."

How Do You Submit an Evaluation?

You send an Eval to the the Law schools in the same way you do your recommendations. In the "assign letters" page on LSAC, there's now a button for assigning evals, too.

eval3

A link below the school's name shows you how many recs and evals a school demands and accepts. The envelope icons mean that those LORs and Evals have already been sent, and you can no longer change your assignment. However, if you can still see the "Assign" button, you haven't sent the maximum the school will take and can assign more if you wish.

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