LOR problem

Mazinger
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LOR problem

Postby Mazinger » Thu Dec 02, 2010 4:56 am

I know this was asked before, but my situation is a bit different. My professor asked me to write my own letter of recommendation and show it to him. I did so in the hope that he will change it, but when he saw it he said it's very nice and he agrees with everything in it, so he told me he'll submit it this way. I want to know if what I did was wrong, and if there's any professor here, can you please give us your opinions on this?

I hope this post will help others with similar situations.

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HappyQuark
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Re: LOR problem

Postby HappyQuark » Thu Dec 02, 2010 8:05 pm

Mazinger wrote:I know this was asked before, but my situation is a bit different. My professor asked me to write my own letter of recommendation and show it to him. I did so in the hope that he will change it, but when he saw it he said it's very nice and he agrees with everything in it, so he told me he'll submit it this way. I want to know if what I did was wrong, and if there's any professor here, can you please give us your opinions on this?

I hope this post will help others with similar situations.


I don't think there is necessarily anything wrong with this. A LOR is supposed to convey how the letter writer feels about you as a student and researcher. Since he seems to think that what you've written is an accurate portrayal of your abilities, it should be more or less the same thing as if he had written it himself.

admissionprof
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Re: LOR problem

Postby admissionprof » Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:04 pm

Mazinger wrote:I know this was asked before, but my situation is a bit different. My professor asked me to write my own letter of recommendation and show it to him. I did so in the hope that he will change it, but when he saw it he said it's very nice and he agrees with everything in it, so he told me he'll submit it this way. I want to know if what I did was wrong, and if there's any professor here, can you please give us your opinions on this?

I hope this post will help others with similar situations.



Well, your schools will obviously never know, since he is willing to sign it. And you have done nothing wrong and wouldn't be blamed. But frankly, I find this appalling. The professor is dishonest, by submitting words written by someone else as his/her own. It might or might not technically be plagiarism, but it seems to me to be highly unethical. Please don't say who it is....

pymtab
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Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 7:19 am

Re: LOR problem

Postby pymtab » Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:45 pm

It's actually very common, and I disagree with my distinguished fellow above- I think there's nothing unethical there.
If you're writing it and the professor reads it and agrees with everything, then the outcome is really an honestly written document, regardless of the author.

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satyad18
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Re: LOR problem

Postby satyad18 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:08 am

Mazinger wrote:I know this was asked before, but my situation is a bit different. My professor asked me to write my own letter of recommendation and show it to him. I did so in the hope that he will change it, but when he saw it he said it's very nice and he agrees with everything in it, so he told me he'll submit it this way. I want to know if what I did was wrong, and if there's any professor here, can you please give us your opinions on this?

I hope this post will help others with similar situations.

Same here. But thing is I told the prof to use that letter as reference. Hope he doesn't copy-paste it as written!

pqortic
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Re: LOR problem

Postby pqortic » Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:26 pm

pymtab wrote:It's actually very common, and I disagree with my distinguished fellow above- I think there's nothing unethical there.
If you're writing it and the professor reads it and agrees with everything, then the outcome is really an honestly written document, regardless of the author.


such letters are not creditable, knowing the fact that professors do so because some of them don't know English well or they don't have time to sit and put together some words about the student. and since student would never write about their deficiencies, letter doesn't truly reflects the abilities and weaknesses of the student.

CarlBrannen
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Re: LOR problem

Postby CarlBrannen » Sat Dec 04, 2010 3:59 am

I suppose you could have the case where the instructor is unsure what direction the student needs the LOR to go towards. For instance, the instructor the LOR should be different depending on whether the student is interested in theory or experiment. So if the instructor knows a great deal about the student, it might be more difficult to write an LOR for the student without going through a long quiz session as to the student's desires. The short cut is to get the student to put together a letter that outlines what he's looking for the instructor to say.

I say this from the experience of having to write LORs for students when I don't know what kind of job they'll be applying for. CAD (computer aided design) students need to stress different aspects of their abilities to get a job in high tech as opposed to getting a job in high fashion (designing shoes like my buddy's roommate did for Nike). Unless I know where the student is going, I don't know how to write the LOR.

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HappyQuark
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Re: LOR problem

Postby HappyQuark » Sat Dec 04, 2010 6:39 am

Ultimately I think this all comes down to how willing you are to trust a professor to act ethically. There are potentially good reasons for a professor to ask the student to assist in or even write a letter of rec on behalf of the professor. On the other hand, there is always the risk that the professor doesn't take the necessary time to read and truly approve the LOR. It may be naive but I'm inclined to believe that the majority of physicists wouldn't allow false information to be sent out to their peers with their name on it without being sure they agree with every word of it.




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