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Professional Recommender sending me the letter to check..?


Pinkman

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I'm sure this is done to death before so I'm sorry for being repetitive but my manager from my old job is writing my recommendation. We're discussing over email and I'm hoping to meet him next week again to discuss. I got an email today saying how he's made a start on my letter (strange as I hadnt sent him my resume or a SOP to refer too but at least he's efficient!) and will send me the copy to see what I think.

Should I have told him that I should not see the letter or is there any advantage to seeing it? I'm applying to IR programs and this job was away from the industry, so perhaps its an advantage to see it and for me to tell him to augment certain things in my resume.

I'm confused as to what to do.

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If he offers to show you the letter then there should be no issue. In fact, it's not uncommon for recommenders to have you write the letter for them, so I wouldn't worry about something like this. Of course it is an advantage to see it--you have the opportunity to tell him what strengths he should emphasize for academia.

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Right, thanks. But when I'm stipulated to waive my right of access to view the letter, wont my recommender know about that? And thus, feel I should have informed him that I shouldnt have seen it? I just dont want it to bite me in the ass.

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When you waive your right to see the letter, you're doing just that -- forfeiting your legally-guaranteed right to view all of your application materials. That doesn't mean that you're not allowed to see it, only that you're OK with not seeing it. There's nothing wrong with your recommender showing you the letter.

Now, if you're under the impression that your recommender is not aware of how this system works for whatever reason, then yeah, for the sake of being on the safe side ethically, it might be a good idea to inform him/her and then ask if that person would still like to share the letter with you. This would dispel his/her misunderstanding that there is an obligation to show you the letter, if that is the case.

Either way, I don't see how adcomms would find out that you got to read your letter. For more information and a discussion on this part of the application process, see this thread:

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When you waive your right to see the letter, you're doing just that -- forfeiting your legally-guaranteed right to view all of your application materials. That doesn't mean that you're not allowed to see it, only that you're OK with not seeing it. There's nothing wrong with your recommender showing you the letter.

Seconded.

It seems likely that this referee is unsure of what IR schools look for, and wants to run it by you to see if the letter is hitting the right marks. For example, a business school might care about your demonstrated leadership, but couldn't care less about your ability to analyze a poem. A PhD lit program, on the other hand...

It doesn't hurt to mention to the letter-writer that he is not obligated to show you the letter, but I somehow doubt that he thinks otherwise. He's probably just trying to write a letter that will be useful to your purposes. Sounds like a nice guy :)

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