Who really writes recomendation letters?

Jai_Guru
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Who really writes recomendation letters?

Postby Jai_Guru » Fri Apr 24, 2009 2:59 am

Do advisors and professors usually write rec letters or is it usually students who write them and they just sign and send them?

I think that when the time comes they will ask me to write my rec letters and send them to them, for review and signing. I think the disadvantage of this is that I don't have the perspective they do to see the qualities I have that will help me to succeed in grad school, nevertheless I could ask them for tips and advice for writing the letters.

What are your thoughts and experiences on this?
Last edited by Jai_Guru on Sat Apr 25, 2009 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Helio
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Re: Who really writes recomendation letters?

Postby Helio » Fri Apr 24, 2009 3:11 am

All my letters were written by the professor. the whole you write it, i sign is simply sketchy and committees should notice the difference between the two.

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dlenmn
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Re: Who really writes recomendation letters?

Postby dlenmn » Fri Apr 24, 2009 8:48 am

I have never heard of a student writing ones own recs and having advisors just sign off on them (although it would solve the problem of professors not doing it...)

pqortic
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Re: Who really writes recomendation letters?

Postby pqortic » Fri Apr 24, 2009 10:35 am

but I have heard many professors recommend student to write his own letter and they will revise and sign it. but I hope admission committees be able to distinguish these letters from the ones come from professors.

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grae313
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Re: Who really writes recomendation letters?

Postby grae313 » Fri Apr 24, 2009 4:07 pm

Jai_Guru wrote:Do advisors and professors usually write rec letters or is it usually students who write them and they just sing and send them?

I think that when the time comes they will ask me to write my rec letters and send them to them, for review and signing. I think the disadvantage of this is that I don't have the perspective they do to see the qualities I have that will help me to succeed in grad school, nevertheless I could ask them for tips and advice for writing the letters.

What are your thoughts and experiences on this?


Two of my letter writers actually wrote their letters. A third sent me a template from a previous recommendation and asked me to change it accordingly and send it back to him. I thought this was really weird and felt a bit strange doing this, but I agree it must work well for lazy professors!

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xudis149
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Re: Who really writes recomendation letters?

Postby xudis149 » Fri Apr 24, 2009 10:04 pm

happens a lot.

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secander2!
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Re: Who really writes recomendation letters?

Postby secander2! » Sat Apr 25, 2009 8:44 am

All of the recommenders I've ever used in the past (~6) wrote their own letters. One of them asked me to write the letter for him, but I protested saying I didn't feel comfortable with it, instead I sent him a CV and he was able to use that to craft a letter that got me into most of the places I was applying. Another one had me check over his letter and I made suggestions on things to cut or add (but it was still he who did the actual writing). The rest just wrote their letters by themselves and I didn't assist in any way.

Jai_Guru
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Re: Who really writes recomendation letters?

Postby Jai_Guru » Sat Apr 25, 2009 1:31 pm

Maybe I'm jumping into conclusions. I started this thread because I'm planning on going to a summer school and I need a rec. letter to apply. I asked my advisor for it and she asked me to write it. If it was for grad school it's maybe different although I'm not counting on it.

I'm thinking the best thing I could do is ask them to write the letters themselves although I'm keen to the idea of making suggestions. Usually professors here are very busy and I would worry that they don't put as much effort as I would like. If that doesn't work the next best thing will be to ask them for suggestions about things to write about and maybe ask three different persons (like family or friends) to write the suggestions down so each letter has a unique style.

slugger
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Re: Who really writes recomendation letters?

Postby slugger » Sat Apr 25, 2009 5:13 pm

wow...wrighting your own letters. you may as well forge your own signatures too.

Dear committee,

I have known slugger since he was a freshmen. I have never had the great fortune in all my years to meet a more truely brilliant and profound theorist and mathematician. He has helped me realize greater and more profound truths several times in my own research. I would admit him in a heart beat.

Yours truely,
The reanimated corpse of John Von Nuemann
IAS, Princeton NJ

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sergei
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Re: Who really writes recomendation letters?

Postby sergei » Sat Apr 25, 2009 6:12 pm

My favourite recommendation letter was the one written for John Nash's application to Princeton’s mathematics department:

Dear Committee,

This man is a genious

Regards,
R.J. Duffin

I hope this legendary letter was not written by Nash himself for supporting his very own application!

nathan12343
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Re: Who really writes recomendation letters?

Postby nathan12343 » Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:19 pm

slugger wrote:wow...wrighting your own letters. you may as well forge your own signatures too.

Dear committee,

I have known slugger since he was a freshmen. I have never had the great fortune in all my years to meet a more truely brilliant and profound theorist and mathematician. He has helped me realize greater and more profound truths several times in my own research. I would admit him in a heart beat.

Yours truely,
The reanimated corpse of John Von Nuemann
IAS, Princeton NJ


John Von Neumann? Not bad, but if you're already having zombie physicists write you letters of recommendation, you might as well go with the heavy hitters: zombie Newton, zombie Einstein, zombie Landau...

EDIT:

I can't believe I forgot the grandaddy of zombie physicists:

Image

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dlenmn
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Re: Who really writes recomendation letters?

Postby dlenmn » Sun Apr 26, 2009 3:25 pm

Zombie Feynman doesn't want brains. He wants orange juice!

slugger
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Re: Who really writes recomendation letters?

Postby slugger » Sun Apr 26, 2009 3:29 pm

zombie feynman ate my balls.




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