Some LOR recommenders advise AGAINST YOU?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
SandyC877
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Some LOR recommenders advise AGAINST YOU?

Postby SandyC877 » Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:17 pm

I hear some stories on TLS that some ppl found out that their recommender pulled a bitch move on them. I personally remember one of my recommender stating in his LOR instruction that he will flat out advise against you if he has his reasons (unknown to the student). Wow, why don't they just decline instead of writing a bad one? I'm scared now. Not that I did anything remotely shady in college.
Last edited by SandyC877 on Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rx3r
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Re: Some LOR recommenders advise AGAINST YOU?

Postby rx3r » Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:19 pm

I don't understand why someone would write a bad recommendation w/o any hint that they would do so. I feel like it's one thing to talk about applicant weaknesses to provide a full picture of the applicant, but to flat-out write a negative rec seems ridiculous, especially considering that it is probably a waste of time for the recommender.

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saltoftheearth
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Re: Some LOR recommenders advise AGAINST YOU?

Postby saltoftheearth » Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:23 pm

scary shit

especially because I just got word that my profs are down to write LORs for me

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fonzerelli
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Re: Some LOR recommenders advise AGAINST YOU?

Postby fonzerelli » Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:23 pm

One scenario where I could imagine this happening is if you asked some esteemed professor to write you a rec to a school that he/she is a faculty member of. Naturally, I'd imagine his/her loyalties are tied more towards the university than you and therefore they may be more critical.... I know it's a bit oxymoronic (critical letter of rec) but you know what I mean.

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pleasetryagain
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Re: Some LOR recommenders advise AGAINST YOU?

Postby pleasetryagain » Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:27 pm

"pulled a bitch move" eh..?

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saltoftheearth
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Re: Some LOR recommenders advise AGAINST YOU?

Postby saltoftheearth » Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:31 pm

maybe the recommender secretly hated your UG-gunner ways (flooding OHs, stating the obvious in class, obvious LOR hopeful)

It could happen..

JOThompson
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Re: Some LOR recommenders advise AGAINST YOU?

Postby JOThompson » Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:32 pm

I've heard of this happening occasionally, mainly when a semi-unknown student relentlessly pesters the LOR writer. As long as you're on good terms with the professor, you shouldn't have to worry about a negative LOR.

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calicocat
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Re: Some LOR recommenders advise AGAINST YOU?

Postby calicocat » Wed Jan 13, 2010 4:40 pm

Just get someone you know really well that would never hurt your chances without telling you. One of my profs let me look at my rec to see if there was anything else he should add.

javajoe
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Re: Some LOR recommenders advise AGAINST YOU?

Postby javajoe » Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:48 pm

Years ago, I received some advice about this very thing. It has stayed with me, and I always use it when looking for a letter or a reference for a job, school, whatever.

The advice was to always ask the intended reference if they felt comfortable writing a positive (or good, or whatever other word you want to subsitute) recommendation- or a positive reference, whatever the case may be.

For whatever its worth to any of you...

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j.wellington
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Re: Some LOR recommenders advise AGAINST YOU?

Postby j.wellington » Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:56 pm

I knew a couple people who had something like this happen with grad school apps, though they weren't outright negative letters. They made the mistake of asking professors who they liked or got good grades from but who didn't know them personally. The letters they got were to the effect of: "I don't really know John Smith, but the record shows he did alright in the one class he took with me his junior year." Not exactly the way to make an impression.

Bottom line: Ask a prof you're chummy with and you should be fine.
Last edited by j.wellington on Thu Jan 14, 2010 7:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

dk8
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Re: Some LOR recommenders advise AGAINST YOU?

Postby dk8 » Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:59 pm

I think professors who would do this are pretty terrible. The way my cycle is going, I think my professor did this to me.

cubswin
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Re: Some LOR recommenders advise AGAINST YOU?

Postby cubswin » Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:03 pm

In some cases, it's probably partially the student's fault for picking someone who doesn't know them at all.

eljay
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Re: Some LOR recommenders advise AGAINST YOU?

Postby eljay » Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:03 pm

Asking for a rec is sometimes a delicate thing. Quite often, you've got to read between the lines. If a recommender doesn't want to write you a rec, she/he will most likely tell you it is a bad idea, if not in so many words. Here's the thing, though: I doubt, very highly, that an academic would consent to write an LOR and voice explicitly negative views of an applicant. What might, and probably is, the case, however, is that an author might not gush over an applicant, signifying, probably, that the appicant has, in the author's opinion, performed in a mediocre fashion.

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BriaTharen
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Re: Some LOR recommenders advise AGAINST YOU?

Postby BriaTharen » Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:05 pm

I think this happens most with students that are going after recommenders that have star power (noteworthy academics, Nobel/Pulitzer prize winners, etc) where the recommender has no idea who they are other than a miscellaneous student or knew the student, but the student was a slacker.

Honestly, though- you can tell when someone is super willing to write a rec versus one that is begrudgingly doing it.

Oblomov
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Re: Some LOR recommenders advise AGAINST YOU?

Postby Oblomov » Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:09 pm

JOThompson wrote:I've heard of this happening occasionally, mainly when a semi-unknown student relentlessly pesters the LOR writer. As long as you're on good terms with the professor, you shouldn't have to worry about a negative LOR.



I've known it to happen, but it was evident that the prof gave the student the hint before hand.

If when you ask the prof is not enthusiastic, move on to someone else.

Oblomov
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Re: Some LOR recommenders advise AGAINST YOU?

Postby Oblomov » Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:12 pm

j.wellington wrote:A knew a couple people who had something like this happen with grad school apps, though they weren't outright negative letters. They made the mistake of asking professors who they liked or got good grades from but who didn't know them personally. The letters they got were to the effect of: "I don't really know John Smith, but the record shows he did alright in the one class he took with me his junior year." Not exactly the way to make an impression.

Bottom line: Ask a prof you're chummy with and you should be fine.



This too. Though more so with smaller grad programs (not 1,200 person law schools) there looking for recs to show that you're pleasant to work with. They have your grades and scores to see your academic potential. Obviously there are outliers (amazing recs, ones that speak to low grades), but I think they are read more to find out about you than your academic potential.

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Dick Whitman
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Re: Some LOR recommenders advise AGAINST YOU?

Postby Dick Whitman » Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:18 pm

javajoe wrote:Years ago, I received some advice about this very thing. It has stayed with me, and I always use it when looking for a letter or a reference for a job, school, whatever.

The advice was to always ask the intended reference if they felt comfortable writing a positive (or good, or whatever other word you want to subsitute) recommendation- or a positive reference, whatever the case may be.

For whatever its worth to any of you...


TITCR

If you really want to play it safe, you can set up a meeting with a professor just to discuss law school. If he/she spontaneously offers to write a recommendation during the meeting, then you can rest assured they feel comfortable writing a positive one.

cubswin
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Re: Some LOR recommenders advise AGAINST YOU?

Postby cubswin » Thu Jan 14, 2010 7:20 pm

JessicaTiger wrote:Honestly, though- you can tell when someone is super willing to write a rec versus one that is begrudgingly doing it.


+1. My recommenders said something like, "I would be delighted to write such a letter."

Also, I don't think there is a problem in asking the professor if they would have a problem writing you a strong letter of recommendation. When I applied to history PhD programs and was looking for a third writer, one of my other writers told me to ask another professor in precisely this manner.

Pearalegal
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Re: Some LOR recommenders advise AGAINST YOU?

Postby Pearalegal » Thu Jan 14, 2010 7:25 pm

I mean, maybe you shouldn't have slept with your professor's wife.

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Hopefullawstudent
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Re: Some LOR recommenders advise AGAINST YOU?

Postby Hopefullawstudent » Fri Jan 15, 2010 1:03 am

There is a Letter of Recommendation parlance, a code so to speak, that many writers follow and many readers understand. From talking with some people who have read LORs as part of their job, there are basically three tiers of LORs. "Glowing", "Acceptable", and "Not Recommended". The true nature of the LOR can just be inferred by the language used. Any recommender with decency will write the LOR cordially. However, it is the tone, the diction that gives it away, sometimes in very subtle ways...

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wakefield
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Re: Some LOR recommenders advise AGAINST YOU?

Postby wakefield » Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:29 am

.
Last edited by wakefield on Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Dick Whitman
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Re: Some LOR recommenders advise AGAINST YOU?

Postby Dick Whitman » Fri Jan 15, 2010 12:38 pm

Pearalegal wrote:I mean, maybe you shouldn't have slept with your professor's wife.


Or maybe you should have asked her to write the LOR.




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