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Mixed LoR


axc

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I recently found out through a PoI that one of my LoR writers wrote a LoR that was 1/2 good and 1/2 bad. The good was positive traits, a few things about research etc. The bad was negative traits with a focus on maturity. Is this still a good letter or something to avoid asking for in future applications?

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I would suggest asking your recommenders whether they can write you a strong letter of recommendation. A letter that is half negative is not a strong letter! A professor shouldn't write you a letter unless they can write really good one; asking for a strong letter will ensure that you have the best possible chance of being admitted to a great program (or getting that grant, or that job, or whatever else in the future). :)

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A professor shouldn't write you a letter unless they can write really good one;

While I agree that this is what we (as students) expect, I've heard from my current professors that many believe they should be honest in their letters since their reputation - via their recommendation of the individual - is on the line. So, if they only expound on the good, but gloss over the bad, and then the individual turns out to be a nut-job (not saying anyone here is) then their future recommendations lose credibility.

Also, just because a professor's been asked to write a letter, doesn't mean that they HAVE to - they only should if they agree to write one.

I agree it's best to ask if they can write a strong recommendation and discuss the letter with the recommender to see if you still want them to write one for you.

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Yikes, definitely sounds like something you want to avoid in the future. Perhaps this professor doesn't understand how to write a strong letter.

On the contrary, it sounds like the professor knows EXACTLY how to write a letter, and that the OP is a strong student in technical matters but lacks maturity.

But yes, OP, it will be of benefit to ask if the letter they write will be a strong one. If they say yes and still write something like this, then that's a bit petty. All of my letters are strong letters, but I don't have letters from everyone I asked. One supervisor, whom I knew I had a somewhat rocky relationship with, agreed to write me a "letter" when I asked for a "strong letter." I politely declined, and everyone benefitted; I didn't end up with a crappy letter, and he didn't end up having to lie on my letter or sabotage my application.

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I agree with the people above. Good professors write honest letters. Great professors will tell you that they can't write a strong recommendation if you ask for one. I asked 6 potential recommenders and was forward in making sure they knew that if they did not feel they could write a strong letter, I would rather they decline. I think that's something professors are used to and understand. Most of the professors told me in general terms what they would and would not be able to speak to. My interaction with everyone was polite, and in the end it was the most beneficial way for me to go.

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