LoR writer is terrible -- what should I do?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
postn0bills
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LoR writer is terrible -- what should I do?

Postby postn0bills » Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:54 pm

One of the two recommenders I've chosen (the other being my current employer) to write a letter on my behalf speaks/writes in English as his second language. He is an amazingly capable, well-respected professor and one who knows me very well through various successful projects in a class and my being a TA for another one of his classes for an entire semester. Of all the professors I've known in college, he knows me best and most thoroughly and has seen most of my academic accomplishments/potential. The problem is because English is his second language, his letter is not very eloquently written. He's sent me a draft and he welcomes suggestions, but I do not want to edit his letter because I want an objective, fair view of what he thinks of my potential to be. I also don't want the letter to take on my style of writing. I am not sure what to do at this juncture -- the letter is grammatically incorrect in many areas, although he has some great things to say (he could probably stand to expand on a few points, but that is the only issue in terms of content). Does anyone have any suggestions on how I could potentially handle this or let him know that the letter is grammatically poor? I'm really stressed at this point. Thank you all in advance.

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Lawl Shcool
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Re: LoR writer is terrible -- what should I do?

Postby Lawl Shcool » Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:58 pm

Sounds like he wants you to fix the grammatical errors.

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cortnf
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Re: LoR writer is terrible -- what should I do?

Postby cortnf » Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:13 pm

I would trite fix his errors without rewriting the entire LOR. You could also ask him to mention that English is his second language.

azizi
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Re: LoR writer is terrible -- what should I do?

Postby azizi » Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:18 pm

Because he sent you the draft and asked for your input, he is interested to see what you think about the RL--- therefore he should not feel offended if you fix the grammatical errors and reword as needed. I'm sure he understands as English is his second language.

In regards to it being the same as your style of writing-- maybe you can have someone else (a family member, friend, close colleague) edit it?

I can see how this could be stressful, but don't worry you will get through it :)

[I also agree with cortnf with him mentioning that english is his second language... if there is a possible way to tie that into the rl)

Best of luck to you.

WayBryson
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Re: LoR writer is terrible -- what should I do?

Postby WayBryson » Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:41 pm

Why not ask your other letter writer to help him edit it? This way you maintain your distance, and you can have the other letter mention your intent to do so. It also makes sense in so far as they are both trying to help you get where you want to be. Anyway, best of luck to you.

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arism87
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Re: LoR writer is terrible -- what should I do?

Postby arism87 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:48 pm

I agree with all of the above- he sounds amenable to suggestions. If you're worried about it sounding like you give it to a family member- or even someone on TLS. I wouldn't mind correcting some grammar if you want to send it my way.

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T6Hopeful
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Re: LoR writer is terrible -- what should I do?

Postby T6Hopeful » Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:51 pm

I was actually in a similar situation. Of my three recommenders, one learned English as his second language and wrote in class (handouts, on the board, etc.) with grammar that clearly identified him as a non-native speaker. Now, his name gives away that he is foreign, and the fact that I had him for several foreign language classes (some taught in the foreign language, others in English) actually may have helped me, since he was commenting on MY non-native proficiency of HIS language. So the situations differ in the end (or I'm assuming so, because there's no TA opportunity anywhere in my field of study), but the point is, they will most likely pick up on the the fact that despite his language, he's still giving a good commentary of your abilities. I know that I'm not exactly making a complete guarantee that they will, but I would highly doubt that as long as it was relatively coherent, that they would be like "This guy/girl's little brother obviously wrote this."

gerbal
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Re: LoR writer is terrible -- what should I do?

Postby gerbal » Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:29 am

Consider yourself lucky. I am in almost the exact same situation, except I cannot check my letters of rec....

rockylo88
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Re: LoR writer is terrible -- what should I do?

Postby rockylo88 » Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:02 am

gerbal wrote:Consider yourself lucky. I am in almost the exact same situation, except I cannot check my letters of rec....


Nobody is supposed to...but it happens...

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ahduth
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Re: LoR writer is terrible -- what should I do?

Postby ahduth » Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:02 pm

I'm thinking you're fine if they say great things about you. You could go through a week-long process of someone else editing their grammar and sending it back to them and then processing it. But it sounds like the writing is simply clumsy, not incomprehensible. If you're concerned the strength of the LoR isn't coming through due to the grammar, I'd maybe ask them to expand on the points you mention, and then run with it. It's late November after all.

This is all assuming they're not an English or philosophy professor attesting to your ability to write well. :)




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