Editing/Writing Your Own Letter of Recommendation

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
snodell
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 6:11 pm

Editing/Writing Your Own Letter of Recommendation

Postby snodell » Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:23 pm

Has anyone been asked / forced to do this before? Advice please...

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gdane
Posts: 12423
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:41 pm

Re: Editing/Writing Your Own Letter of Recommendation

Postby gdane » Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:25 pm

Youre not supposed to, but you can do it. However, if your recommender cant do this for you then maybe you need to reevaluate this person. You shouldnt have to write or edit your own letter. I know professors are busy and whatnot, but if they cant do it say so and if they agree to do it they should put their effort into it.

Good luck!

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im_blue
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Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2009 3:53 am

Re: Editing/Writing Your Own Letter of Recommendation

Postby im_blue » Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:25 pm

Find another recommender, or at least find someone else to write it for you so it doesn't sound the same as your PS.

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plenipotentiary
Posts: 616
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:13 pm

Re: Editing/Writing Your Own Letter of Recommendation

Postby plenipotentiary » Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:25 pm

I was asked. I declined and found another person to write the letter. That's what you should do, too.

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Circe
Posts: 169
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2008 10:32 pm

Re: Editing/Writing Your Own Letter of Recommendation

Postby Circe » Wed Oct 06, 2010 4:46 pm

I had a former prof who I got to know very well while research assisting for him do this to me. He rationalized it very well and almost made me feel like I was wrong for not wanting to write my own letter. On the plus side you can control the content and highlight what you like about yourself. Do what ya gotta do. There are plenty of articles written about how to do this strategically. I suggest reading the below as well though.

Writing Your Own. Increasingly (over the past several years), we've heard stories of candidates whose harried bosses were overwhelmed by the request to write a letter of recommendation. The applicants were instead instructed to write the letter themselves and simply submit it to the "author" for a signature. Most applicants consider this a dream come true. After all, what could be better than a chance to "toot your own horn" under the guise of being your own boss or major professor?

Sadly, most candidates haven't a clue what an excellent reference letter looks like. To assume the perspective and tone of someone in your recommender's position requires experience and perspicacity. Most letters written by the actual candidates are embarrassingly easy to spot: they are timid, stilted and one-dimensional. They include far too many details that a real reference letter wouldn't mention and they frequently are identical in tone to the candidate's own writing. We nearly automatically discount candidates who do this and make a mental note of the individual who supposedly wrote the reference. In a few cases, we've contacted them and they confirmed our suspicions.

We strongly discourage you from trying this approach. Remember, the admissions committee has viewed thousands of letters and has an excellent feel for authenticity. We want ethical candidates who offer a balanced, honest appraisal of their credentials. Rather than writing the letter yourself, ask someone else who will take the time to write a reference that genuinely reflects your suitability for the program.




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