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Writing recommendation letters for students?


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Hello everyone,


    I tried to search LOR in this forum but it was mostly about asking professors to write them for us. Has anyone had experience in which students asked them for a reference letter? What was it for? How did you do it? 

     Currently, I am planning to write one for a high school student who wants to go to a college I attended. I served as this student's instructor for a course and was very impressed with the student's caliber, and believe that I can write a strong letter. That said, I am only a 2014 graduate of that college. Does being a relatively young graduate of that college matter at all? Should I include that I'm a PhD candidate as well, or just that I served as her instructor for a course? Thanks! 



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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 8 months later...

Yes. Many times. I warn the student that my word has less weight and that they would be better off asking someone else, but if they persist I still write letters for them.

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I should also say, I have some criteria before I accept such a responsibility:

  • Must have had me for a class I was instructor of record
  • Must have been in top 5% of the class.
  • Must have talked with me outside of class.

If a student hasn't met all these, I cannot write a good letter for them.

In my ideal world, I would modify the criteria to be:

  • Must have had me for two semester-long interactions (classes typically, but if we're on the same project for whatever reason that works too)
  • Must have earned over grade 95% in class, or top 3 students
  • Must have talked with me during office hours about their plans and such, not just course material.
Edited by Duns Eith
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  • 1 year later...

I was asked to write a letter of recommendation for one of my students to medical school - that felt very strange to be asked to do that. 

Luckily, the student was accepted into multiple schools

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  • 1 month later...

It's in the student's best interest that someone senior writes the letter. You will serve them better by letting them know they should approach other professors. You can be a third recommender. 

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