Letters of Rec that can KILL YOU

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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: August 2003 Archive: Letters of Rec that can KILL YOU
By Collegeguy (Collegeguy) on Saturday, August 16, 2003 - 07:58 pm: Edit

I'm in a bad situation. I believe that I have a good application lined up (scores, ecs, essays), but I will get TANKED on one rec. My top choice schools require three recs:

Two Teachers
One Counselor

I can get a great one from one teacher and an awesome one from the counselor. But the other teacher (who is my only choice) will probably give me your average "great student" rec that lacks personality. Can an application be killed by one MEDIOCRE recommendation?

And i'm talking about schools like Princeton, Harvard,etc.

By Amylase (Amylase) on Saturday, August 16, 2003 - 08:28 pm: Edit

I don't think so.

One mediocre rec can't kill off your app. Just make sure that you tried to get most out of that teacher

By Bft (Bft) on Saturday, August 16, 2003 - 09:06 pm: Edit

A "mediocre" rec can't, but a bad one can. The student in my school who was in the top 5 students in their class got rejected from nearly every school they got applied to. The entire application seemed perfect. It wasn't until we found out that one of his teacher's gave him a *horrible* recommendation talking about how haughty he is. That is obviously a turn off because nobody wants THAT student.

What amazes me is that the kid thought he was going to get an amazing recommendation but instead got just the opposite. That has to be a slap on the face. He really was a total jerk though.

By Purgeofdoors (Purgeofdoors) on Saturday, August 16, 2003 - 09:57 pm: Edit

The former counselor at my school was completely inept. One student applied to over 10 colleges and had to have recs for all of them, which angered the counselor.

So at the end of her rec letter, the counselor wrote: "This student is also applying to ...."

Destroyed her chances at any decent school.

By Gammon (Gammon) on Saturday, August 16, 2003 - 10:02 pm: Edit

Do you have the option of reviewing the rec before it's sent?

One of my teachers recommended writing your own recommendation letters and just having the teacher/counselor review it, make any changes they feel are necessary, and sign it.

By Mm314 (Mm314) on Saturday, August 16, 2003 - 10:20 pm: Edit

The Yale admissions officer told me that the committee once rejected a student because in her teacher recommendation it stated "as you know this school has a history of sending students to Yale...she is unfortunately not of their caliber" (kind of sad especially when he told us this applicant was one of the last 4000 remaining)

By Thedad (Thedad) on Sunday, August 17, 2003 - 12:54 am: Edit

A recommendation that a student gets to review will read like it...and won't be nearly as useful as a good, candid, but private rec. Imo.

Yale's app is cagier: for the personal rec, the student has to check either "I waive my access to this rec" or "I don't waive my access to this rec."
I think a student has got to be nuts not to waive access to it. Again, imo.

Regarding the student whose rec said he was haughty: it pays to know yourself as well as knowing those who you're asking to recommend you.

By Atpchik (Atpchik) on Sunday, August 17, 2003 - 01:24 am: Edit

"The former counselor at my school was completely inept. One student applied to over 10 colleges and had to have recs for all of them, which angered the counselor. "

UGH!!!! I would be so mad...counselors like that should just quit.

Of course I don't know the whole story and I am not blaming THAT particular counselor.

But any counselor who would do that needs to rethink their career...a student putting the effort to apply to all those schools is obviosly motivated!

By Masamune707 (Masamune707) on Sunday, August 17, 2003 - 02:59 am: Edit

ugh god i have a couple of years before i apply to any schools but i think im already freaking out about recs..the principal and the vp and the rest of the staff hates me i think because i believe they think im too pushy? i derno...i reli love math rite? and my high school doesnt offer ne courses higher than calculus BC so i have to take other classes at my local community college in order to earn the 20 credits of math which i need to graduate (im of course planning to take more classes at that cc and at stanford) but like..i had to get clearance from the head of the math dept and he ..i guess was either having a total effed up day or was insulted by me in some way..im guessing its the latter b/c he kept on saying "wut?? why dont u jus go to college huh? why are u at high school? why do u want to go to college? wut r u still doing here? ya kno..if u went to a private high school u wouldnt hafta fuss over wut ur taking." i think hes insulted when kids want to take classes outside of the high school and still earn credits..i dont blame him at all! so yeh im reli worried...=T and im not sure if my tutors at stanford or newhere else is allowed to give me recs..hmm neone have ne advice? oh yeh the head of math is a really good guy...one of my friends has this reli good relationship with him which im jealous of cuz hes gonna definitely get a kick ass rec from him..sigh

By Atpchik (Atpchik) on Sunday, August 17, 2003 - 10:27 am: Edit

When they say teacher reccs it can be ANY teacher, so the profs from Stanford and cc can give you reccs. I myself am getting a recc from a summer program teacher.

By Vigo (Vigo) on Sunday, August 17, 2003 - 11:00 am: Edit

Masamune707, I hope you can spell better than that. Is that supposed to be shorthand?

By Collegeguy (Collegeguy) on Sunday, August 17, 2003 - 03:36 pm: Edit

argh...so what's with reading up recs that teachers write for you? Is it allowed?

By Thedad (Thedad) on Sunday, August 17, 2003 - 03:53 pm: Edit

It's allowed, of course; a teacher can show you anything he/she wants. Whether it's wise is another thing.

By Netequevaris (Netequevaris) on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 10:43 pm: Edit

If you ever learn that a teacher writes a bad recommendation, the teacher can be censured. According to many academic affiliations, teachers are REQUIRED to write a positive recommendation if they agree to write one. For instance, the APA (American Philological Association) includes that as part of teh by-laws that a recommender must be positive or risk some punishment.

If an advisor does something to sabotage an applicant, the situation is the same. My high school advisor altered my chances, but only because he didn't go the extra mile for me. Counselors who go to lengths to ruin applicant chances are similarly open to censure and reprimand for doing so. The only way to find if you have been affected is if the school receiving the recommendation contacts you/your school, or if you suspect something and request for the dean or some authority figure of your school to investigate- though this requires substantive insight to warrant such involvement.

By Bnp182 (Bnp182) on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 11:52 pm: Edit

can you send the recommendations your teachers write, or do your teachers HAVE to send them themselves. Because what if I have not sent in part 1 yet and dont have an opened file and teachers send her rec, where would the adcom put it? SO can I just say sign the back of the envelope to ensure privacy and give it to me so I can send the different ones at different dates.

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