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Thread: Recommendation letters

  1. #31
    push to stutardepid itch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocky balbotox View Post
    1 said "I would love to"

    another said "I will do it; however..." and said she is just a grad student and will ask the professor of the department to complete it alongside her so there is a stronger recommendation

    and the one who I messed up her name hasn't responded yet but it hasn't even been a day yet

    so far so good and idk why I was crying having to ask
    stupid pancakes.

  2. #32
    Homo siderius Sistamatic's Avatar
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    99 percent of the time when I was asked to write a recommendation letter, I was asked at like 2 pm when the letter was due the next day or same day and I already had so much crap on my plate it was insane. Every place that wants letters has different guidelines for those letters and if the prof writing the letter doesn't do their homework, the letter isn't valid. Some have forms you have to print and mail, some want freeform on letterhead, some will take an email, etc. Trying to figure out the parameters for said letter is a bitch.

    Usually when I was asked to write a letter for some program, I'd get asked not by one person, but by ten, all on the same day, all with a deadline less than 24 hours away. So I had to decide which couple of people I was going to write the letter for because if I wrote all ten, it would dilute the effectiveness of the letters.

    I would err on the side of the people who gave me plenty of lead time, who laid out the parameters so I wouldn't have to look them up, etc. I eventually made a rule in my syllabus that said, "If you want a letter of recommendation from me in the future, I will be happy to write one provided you meet the following criteria:

    1. You ask me for the letter at least one week prior to the deadline for that letter.
    2. You made at least a B in a class I teach and you are OK with me sharing details on your attendance, test, and assignment performance in my class. (You have to provide facts in these letters or they are no good. The absence of data is read by prospective employers as a cover up of poor performance. You can add more personal stuff to the letter, especially if you want to cushion a B grade or a less than stellar attendance because you feel the student's other qualities make up for it, but you can't leave out the data.)
    3. You provide me with details about the format and delivery methods that are required in order for the letter to be accepted, including any addresses, electronic or physical, that I need.

    If these criteria were met, then I could be relied upon to send an excellent letter of recommendation.

    By laying out the criteria, I was able to tell people no in such a way that they knew it was based on their actions and not based on a personal dislike. Besides, the ability to meet those three criteria (especially one and three) are good predictors of whether or not you'd want to be saddled with an employee or student. No one wants to work with someone who thinks that a lack of planning on their part constitutes an emergency on the part of everyone around them. (The kind of people who result from helicopter and lawnmower parenting).


    On the other side of the coin, I know that there are a great many professors who do promise, but don't deliver, on letters of recommendation. Some of them are even laugh about how someone not deserving of a letter asked for one and they just nodded and said, sure, even though they had no intention. I know one prof who doesn't write them because "It's not like I get paid for the extra work." (As if teaching doesn't require you to do fucktons of extra work for no pay every single day...at least if you want to do it well.) I feel it is a real dick move to imply a letter of rec and then not write one.

    As a result of the preponderance of these douchebag profs, I always recommended to my students that they get promises for 2x as many letters of rec as they needed.

    Saying no is hard, but if you are a professor, you have to do it on a regular basis. If you can't say no, you don't need to be in charge of anything important.


    I should add that I was in the community college environment in a state where higher education is actively disparaged because of it's "liberalizing" effect. This has an effect on the attitudes of professors who stay in the trenches too long.
    Last edited by Sistamatic; 11-19-2017 at 04:29 PM.
    Insults are effective only where emotion is present. -- Spock, "Who Mourns for Adonais?" Stardate 3468.1.

    I'm not avoiding socializing I'm helping socializing avoid me! --MoneyJungle

  3. #33
    and I just gained a lot of respect for sistamatic

  4. #34
    update none of the fucking professors will do them for me
    LOL
    I don't blame them. I went to class and went home. Sometimes I chimed in. Wtf do I expect of them?

  5. #35
    Homo siderius Sistamatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocky balbotox View Post
    update none of the fucking professors will do them for me
    LOL
    I don't blame them. I went to class and went home. Sometimes I chimed in. Wtf do I expect of them?
    Simple-minded extroverts are better at getting letters of recommendation than genius introverts. If you have nothing to lose, you should push them.

    Ask them what was lacking in your request; given that you had xx attendance, xx grades, and xx positive feedback on assignments, why are you not being given an opportunity to progress in your field. Use data rather than emotion to make your case. Don't threaten, maybe frame it as a need for feedback so that you can improve your approach in your next application.
    Insults are effective only where emotion is present. -- Spock, "Who Mourns for Adonais?" Stardate 3468.1.

    I'm not avoiding socializing I'm helping socializing avoid me! --MoneyJungle

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