22

Yes, it might look a bit weird, but you don't have control over that. And he is giving you good advice that he shouldn't write you a letter. Not every advisor is willing to be so honest. But, I don't think it is an absolute block to your plans. Find others to write you strong letters and (US perspective) you should be ok. What you need are letters from ...


16

It's once again LOR season and I've been writing a bunch as well. I don't think it's so much a question of finding the right language as it is how you present your case for recommending the student. I'm not sure if you'll find this directly responsive, but here's how I think about it. I expect the reader has no idea who I am or what my standards are. I ...


15

Do not press for a recommendation letter of someone who is reluctant to give you one. Nothing good is coming out of that. You have a different approach to things. It's very dangerous of you to label him as "idealist", maybe what happened is that he considers you an strong pragmatist and if you let through that you see him in the opposite side of ...


13

Your director says "As many as you can" - in my philosophy these would be those where I think the letter would easily help and, as such, easily written. Create a spreadsheet with comments, and evaluations, possibly link collections if that's easier than to search through mail. Use automated template generation for the reference letter outline, ...


11

This is complementary to the answer of Captain Emacs. For those students for whom your only contact is a class or two, tell them when they ask that your letter will need to be fairly pro-forma, describing the course and how they did in it. Tell them that other writers may have more valuable things to say about them. Then ask if they are still interested. The ...


11

As a general rule, institutions are very reluctant to give access to letters of reference to anyone and candidates in particular. That's because they know that if they regularly shared these letters with the people being written about, letter writers would stop giving honest assessments. As a consequence, regardless of matters of law or regulation, you ...


9

Sometimes overly enthusiastic words seem phony and they can be easy to dismiss. But what the readers want to know is your assessment of the likely success of the student in the next program and thereafter. For a truly outstanding student I say something like "I would accept this student as an advisee of mine on any compatible project with no reservation ...


7

Here is a link to some information about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 or FERPA for the rules and regulations in the US. In general, you have the right to see any and all records. However, there are two critical caveats with regards to LoR: you can only access your recommendation letters after you've gotten your admission letter of ...


7

These kinds of mistakes happen all the time. Don't worry about it, just move on -- the people who will read the letters understand that these things happen.


6

The other answers address the legal and regulatory aspects of the question. You should also consider the cultural aspects: Many American academics expect that applicants will choose not to read their reference letters. If you violate those expectations, they will not trust you.


1

You want letters from the people who know your work best. At this point that is probably your thesis advisor, with whom you have actually done research, even though in a different area. Be sure to explain your new interest when you ask your advisor for that letter. Recommendation letter from CS faculty for math grad school (and vice versa)


1

In the US, the answer is almost certainly no, you should not ask to see your reference letters. Even the most positive letters contain candid descriptions that letter writers do not want to share. If you seek out those letters, you will strain your relationships with the writers, and you are less likely to get detailed letters in the future. Right now, you ...


1

Generally speaking, the LOR that recites a lot of detail and describes a long relationship is more helpful. When I write an LOR, I assume the reader has no idea who I am or what my standards are. So, that's why I try to give a lot of objective information about my relationship with the student, so the reader can decide for themselves whether they agree the ...


1

Many reasons have already been mentioned. One reason might be that there other (demographic) criteria for the inclusion of students. To put it blantly, letters of recommendation give you some leeway for covert racism. For example, much of the "well-roundedness" that was expected of candidates (personality beyond their grades) was originally a means ...


1

I've solicited and received a few of these "general" letters and stockpile them whenever I can. I simply apply to too many schools and jobs to narrow the field. There is a very low chance of getting the job you apply for sometimes... meaning you must sent applications to tens or hundreds of perspectives. Having them tailor it for the company or ...


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