Letters of recommendation - how to deal

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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: October 2003 Archive: Letters of recommendation - how to deal
By Whatever17 (Whatever17) on Monday, October 13, 2003 - 11:57 pm: Edit

Ok, so i know who my favorite teacher is (to write my rec), but do I have to have him write a dif. letter for each application, or does he write one letter, that I will include in all 8 applications im doing???

By Chen (Chen) on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 12:16 am: Edit

He writes one. You or your guidance counselor makes copies. Ask ASAP.

By Zephyrmaster (Zephyrmaster) on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 12:55 am: Edit

Yeah, do it now!!!! :)

Get some envelopes, a pen, and some stamps buddy... and drink some water... err... yeah.

By Whatever17 (Whatever17) on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 06:26 pm: Edit

lol...ill be sure to drink that water..

thanks for your input..

By Ickyfoo (Ickyfoo) on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 06:27 pm: Edit

"He writes one. You or your guidance counselor makes copies. Ask ASAP."

not at my school. i wish.

By Texas137 (Texas137) on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 06:37 pm: Edit

The teacher writes one letter that is general enough to cover the various questions asked by all of the colleges. At some schools it then goes to the guidance counselor who makes copies. At other schools, the teacher makes copies and sends them directly to the colleges in stamped addressed envelopes provided by you. Normally the student does not make the copies because the student should leave it up to the teacher to decide whether or not they want the student to see it.

By Rowan (Rowan) on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 09:08 pm: Edit

That seems off. Each one of my applications that's required a teacher recommendation has been *different*. Granted, they are fundamentally the same, but nonetheless unless it's the Common Application (in which case just ignore all of this), the colleges each have their own form with an emphasis on a different trait.

By Texas137 (Texas137) on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 10:24 pm: Edit

I agree with you that the recommendation forms from the colleges look different. But you cannot really expect that a teacher will significantly tailor letters to each of the 8-10 colleges that each student might apply to. If the teacher has to do recs for 20 students, that could be 200 letters. Your counselor might have to generate a few thousand recommendations. Expecting that each one will be an individualized piece of work is completely unrealistic. You'll be lucky if your evaluators fill out the check box part of each colleges' form. If they like you, maybe they will use word processing to include the name if each college they are recommending you for.

Colleges know this. They provide prompts, but they are usually pretty general and they usually give the teacher or counselor permission to ignore them. They usually say something like this (in the instructions to the evaluator for MIT's app):

"We are happy to accept your comments in a different form...".

And Caltech:
"Even if you choose to submit your own school's evaluation form in lieu of this form...."

And Rice:
"We offer the following questions... If you feel that another format is more appropriate or that a photocopy of a report to another school is sufficient, those options are open to you."

Even U. of Chicago, with their quirky essay topics for applicants, just tells teachers to attach a letter "commenting on the applicant's habits of study, grasp of material, analytical ability, ability to engage in discussion, motivation, and intellectual interests."

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