17 events
when toggle format what by license comment
Nov 24 '13 at 16:33 comment added tqw @BenWebster Simply put in this way: if Gauss said student A has a moderate talent in math compared with Riemann and I said student B is even smarter than me, which student would you choose?
Nov 24 '13 at 16:08 comment added tqw @BenWebster I said, that's what my recommender told me. I said, I've never written letters for grad school/job applications.
Nov 24 '13 at 16:06 comment added tqw @BenWebster Well, first I think it might be better to use "one" instead of "you". :) But is the problem you describe a decisive factor about letter writings? It depends. It depends on the qualifications of recommenders. It depends on the strengthness of the undergard/grad program. It depends on a lot of stuff. "X got a good A in my class" will have completely different meanings as the factors I mentioned above vary. It may be impossible to expect how positive a letter is can address everything.
Nov 24 '13 at 16:01 comment added Ben Webster @ZhouFang You're wrong about MathJobs. You can put up as many different versions of your letter as you want, and you can specify exactly which schools can see which. This is a laziness issue, not a technical one.
Nov 24 '13 at 4:01 comment added Ben Webster @ZhouFang I think you misunderstood what I meant by "can't." You are, of course, free to check the "Next 50%" box, if you don't want the person you are recommending to into that graduate school. But then why are you wasting your time writing the recommendation? This reveals exactly the problem I was discussing. If lots of other recommenders don't check that box even if they think the person is in the bottom 50%, how can you in good conscience? You'd just be hamstringing everyone you recommend.
Nov 24 '13 at 2:08 comment added tqw @BenWebster Since I've never read/written any letter for graduate school/job applications, I'm not qualified to form any opinion on the differences among all the "positive" comments you described... (But if the differences were huge, ...)
Nov 24 '13 at 1:52 comment added tqw @BenWebster The "external force" is: one can only submit one letter to a centralized server (mathjobs.org) that will distribute this single letter to various universities. Btw, I don't entirely agree that "one can't say anything negative"--e.g., see rackham.umich.edu/downloads/admissions/RecFormPaper.pdf (one can select "Next 50%" if applicable.)
Nov 24 '13 at 1:16 comment added Ben Webster I don't think anyone likes the current way of writing letters. There's a funny sort of inflation is which one can't say anything negative, and one has to leave the application reviewers to deduce how strong you think the candidate is from just how positive you are. The fact that you could write many different versions of the letter for different audiences is just one small sub-problem inside a much larger screwed up situation.
Nov 24 '13 at 1:12 comment added Ben Webster @ZhouFang OK; I'm still not I understand the problem. In your initial comment it sounded like this issue was that your recommender wanted to write multiple versions of the letter and some external force was stopping him; now it sounds like he knows he can do this and that maybe it would be a good thing to do, but he laments the effort involved.
Nov 23 '13 at 18:54 comment added tqw @BenWebster In a more straightforward way: a recognized "Gauss" in a business school may probably be regarded as a far secondary mathematician at Princeton. That is, the standards are so different that letters should not be the same.
Nov 23 '13 at 18:44 comment added tqw @BenWebster My recommender meant/means that it is sometimes optimal to write more than one letter. That is, if one applies for a great range of places, a single letter won't usually suffice. (It doesn't bother me...) Because being as good as Gauss is much harder at Princeton, it would be better to write a different letter to Princeton from that to Minnesota business school.
Nov 23 '13 at 16:19 comment added Ben Webster @ZhouFang I don't understand. Why can't one write more than one letter? It's a bit of a pain, I'll admit, but if it bothers you, I don't see what the obstacle is.
Nov 22 '13 at 22:24 comment added tqw One of my recommenders told me he doesn't like the current way of writing letters for job applications (one can basically only write one letter) because writing "You are as good as Gauss" in a letter to Princeton has completely different meanings from that in a letter to Minnesota business school for instance.
Nov 22 '13 at 22:12 comment added Ben Webster Actually, Interfolio can go through at least some of these systems. Anyways, this just reinforces the point that the thing to do is talk to the recommenders.
Nov 22 '13 at 22:09 comment added paul garrett @BenWebster, my current letter-writing for undergrads (in math, for a dozen or so of the better-best schools) uniformly requires that I upload my letters and interact with a site, whence my conclusion. Yes, it would be better to have a centralized/organized site like mathjobs.org, certainly!
Nov 22 '13 at 22:05 comment added Ben Webster I wondered about this point a little bit. However, s/he may mean either that the letters are uploaded to an online service like Interfolio where they can be securely sent out by the recomendee without action by the recommender, or maybe that a staff member in his/her department has the letters and can send out new copies (this was the standard arrangement at Berkeley when I was a student).
Nov 22 '13 at 20:48 history answered paul garrett CC BY-SA 3.0