Jump to content

LOR from former student?

Recommended Posts

In undergrad, I co-founded a composers' orchestra with three goals:

1) To give composers from any background - not just classical composition majors - an opportunity to hear their works performed
2) To give non-music-majors from all backgrounds a chance to perform in a contemporary, low-pressure ensemble
3) To show our audiences that modern orchestral music is awesome and fun.

We were very successful, performed for the local community, formed ties with the local Philharmonic and businesses, etc. I was an econ/music major, and this was the best and most important thing I did in college.

As a part of our outreach, we took on a few dedicated HS students, and held a HS composers' competition. We had one student, a HS sophomore girl that was really dedicated to us, and we really impacted her life. HS was crazy for her, but she would come in and make music with college kids and she felt cool, validated, and accepted. She often talked about how great we made her feel. And, of course, she made great music.

I was a bit of an informal mentor to her - musically speaking. One of my proudest moments was teaching her to conduct, so that she was able to step on the podium and lead the orchestra in rehearsal. Her, a 15-year-old girl, leading a 35-piece college ensemble. It was one of my proudest moments in college.

I'm thinking about writing an essay about this. I have 3 (required) recommendations from my professors. Would it be crazy to ask her to write me an optional fourth one? She's now a senior in HS.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ehhhhhhhhhhhh... It's a meaningful story to your academic development so you should definitely include it in your SOP. I don't think the girl's verification in LOR form is necessary or appropriate. I'm pretty sure adcomms will believe your words in your SOP. And your application is about YOU after all, not her. Use your SOP to talk about how the program changed you, how working with youth was a good experience for you. A letter from the girl might be too sentimental for an admissions committee. But you might want to hold onto it as a keepsake for yourself. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Really, I think it would largely be ignored, and it would probably be seen as unprofessional to have a high school student write a recommendation for you.  I understand you wanting to highlight this achievement, but I think the proper place for it would be either in your statement of purpose or to have a professor mention it in his letter.  The purpose of the letters of recommendation are to attest to your ability to succeed in a graduate program, and a high school student can't comment on that.  Very cool accomplishment, though :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Definitely not!!

1) It would carry zero weight. LORs should speak to your potential as a student and scholar, that is, your capacity for graduate study.

2) Committees will wonder why you included a (seemingly) personal LOR from a high school student. This would look bad.

You have three LORs. Stick with those.

Also, I would certainly mention this orchestra, but this specific anectdote with the HS student will not only sound like a cliche, it will take up valuable space. Think about the big picture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use