Kind of a weird situation with my LOR

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fosterp
Posts: 319
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:09 am

Kind of a weird situation with my LOR

Postby fosterp » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:20 pm

I asked a professor that I have had a few times in UG for a letter of recommendation last spring. He sent me the letter first to review before he printed and sent it off to LSAC. What I did not know before asking for this LOR was that his writing skills seem to be very subpar for a university professor. His oral english is a bit off but after having him a few quarters I got used to it and I just assumed that he just preferred his style of english. Part of our assigned reading for some of his classes were from a book that he authored so I assumed his writing skills were what I could expect from any university professor.

The ideas conveyed in the LOR are clearly understandable, but its obvious that the writer has english as their second language. I am not sure if I should go through and revise it to fix grammar/sentence structure, just leave it as is, or start considering other options for LOR. I am trying to apply as early as possible, and I have about two weeks for my transcripts to process + other LOR, however asking another professor for a LOR might add a bit of time to the schedule, not to mention I don't really have any good ideas of professors I could ask.

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AntipodeanPhil
Posts: 1300
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:02 pm

Re: Kind of a weird situation with my LOR

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:32 pm

If the professor teaches a science or engineering subject, and the letter makes that clear, I'm sure this won't be a problem. They will just assume that English isn't his first language - especially if his name fits with that impression. You don't need a complete mastery of the English language to succeed as a professor in those subjects; it's no reflection on his competence, and especially not on yours.

If he teaches a humanities subject, get a new letter.

fosterp
Posts: 319
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:09 am

Re: Kind of a weird situation with my LOR

Postby fosterp » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:44 pm

I guess its worth adding that he made a comment on a paper I wrote for the class that wasn't actually the subject of my paper.

When he sent me the letter he made a comment that he knew his english might not be the best an encouraged me to proofread it. Is it considered an unethical practice to "improve" the letter?

MumofCad
Posts: 974
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:46 pm

Re: Kind of a weird situation with my LOR

Postby MumofCad » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:29 pm

Gosh, I'm not positive whether it is unethical to "improve" on a letter. I would tend to say not, since he's asked you to look at it and you are correcting grammatical issues that may help make his points more clear. But I don't know. Some of the "ethics" of these things are a little odd. I would ask your scholarship adviser at your school. They will know "the rules." Then you have to decide if its a grey area, what you are comfortable with.

As for uni profs' writing....many of them are not up to par so I'm unsure whether adcoms would find this odd (even in the humanities). This is why they have TAs, grad assistants and research assistants. As a research assistant, I was often asked to edit before the professional editor even got a hold of it (not to mention being asked to write a few chapters here and there). There are a lot of ways for academics to hide certain.....weaknesses. Trust me, he's not the only one out there with this issue. Though he really should have a grad asst or someone to do this sort of thing.




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