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Professor says I should make an email account in his name and upload my own LOR; he will confirm it if asked


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So my professor is super busy (what else is new), and I created a draft of LOR that he could just read and upload to the website. Now, he says he may not even have the time to do that. He goes on to ask me to make a 'Gmail' account in his name, give it to universities, and upload the draft (that he approves) as it is on these links. He says if he is asked, he will confirm that he uploaded it.

 

I don't like the sound of it. However, the idea of being in control of my LOR in such a way, appeals to me. But I don't want to be in trouble either. My question is what is the probability of universities finding out about this? 

Edited by thegraydude
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It might look weird as the email address won't have your university affiliation. Honestly it might not. Usually professors use their school email for LoR but some might not so the adcom won't think its odd. The only way anyone will know is if either of you tell anyone. So... there's that. Its honestly an uncomfortable situation to be in. He's going to have to read the letter for him to sign it wont' he? Or will you just do an electronic signature? Tell him the truth, that you feel uncomfortable.

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WOW, that's really shady! They don't have time to upload a letter and answer a few questions? I call BS. Rec letters are part of their job and he can totally find 15 minutes to do this, even if it's at home when the kids are in bed.

 

I wouldn't do this OP, tell him it's against the schools rules and could land both of you in trouble.

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I'd also find a new letter writer. In addition, there are some schools that ask questions like "How does this student's ability to work independently compare with other students you have mentored?" etc. which you won't really be able to answer if you are not the professor. And some applications do require the professor use their school email address. I would not be surprised if a committee is suspicious about a LOR coming from a gmail address.

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One of my letter writers primarily uses his gmail account so I sent the links there. Hopefully that works out for me and is not interpreted as strange.

 

But for you, OP, I would be honest with your LOR writer. It's bad enough you had to write your own letter. He shouldn't have agreed if he can't commit the time to read and upload it. They might even be suspicious based on the writing style alone if he's not going to take the time to edit it.

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He shouldn't have agreed if he can't commit the time to read and upload it. They might even be suspicious based on the writing style alone if he's not going to take the time to edit it.

 

THIS. They'll read your SOP, then they'll read a LOR that has an eerily similar writing tone. Whether or not they call BS is a chance I wouldn't be willing to take. There's gotta be someone else who can help you!

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THIS. They'll read your SOP, then they'll read a LOR that has an eerily similar writing tone. Whether or not they call BS is a chance I wouldn't be willing to take. There's gotta be someone else who can help you!

Don't get me started. I have 4 writers and 3 of them are asking me to create draft and send them. I don't know how much they will edit it. In the end, my writing style will probably end up in 2 out 3 letters. And then there's my SOP. That will be enough for smart people like the ones in adcomm to make out that LORs might have been written by me. I have tried to change my writing style, but hey, there's only so much you can change about your writing style and word selection etc.

 

I am worried sick over it all. Through no fault of my own, my application may be viewed negatively.

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You claim

Through no fault of my own, my application may be viewed negatively.

 But...  

However, the idea of being in control of my LOR in such a way, appeals to me. But I don't want to be in trouble either. My question is what is the probability of universities finding out about this?

I think that you do bear some, if not most, of the responsibility for the situation you now face. You tried to game the system and not until it seems that you might be caught do you worry.
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Don't get me started. I have 4 writers and 3 of them are asking me to create draft and send them. I don't know how much they will edit it. In the end, my writing style will probably end up in 2 out 3 letters. And then there's my SOP. That will be enough for smart people like the ones in adcomm to make out that LORs might have been written by me. I have tried to change my writing style, but hey, there's only so much you can change about your writing style and word selection etc.

 

I am worried sick over it all. Through no fault of my own, my application may be viewed negatively.

 

I wouldn't worry too much greydude. I don't think adcomms are going to be leaning in with a magnifying glass trying to detect subtle similarities between your letters and SOP/WS. If you show overwhelmingly similar & noticeable mistakes in both then maybe, but otherwise - I doubt a busy adcomm reviewing potentially hundreds of applications cares too much. 

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You claim  But...  I think that you do bear some, if not most, of the responsibility for the situation you now face. You tried to game the system and not until it seems that you might be caught do you worry.

I think you are being too quick to judge. I did NOT try to "game the system". For the record, I am against this practice and have already politely told me professor that this is not possible. 

 

What appealed to me, when I said 'in control of my LOR', was that I would be able to upload it on time. That's it. And even that was just a passing thought.

 

As for creating a draft of my recommendation myself, many professors ask the students to create an initial draft to "get the juices flowing". I can't deny them that. I am worried about how much they will edit it. Again, I WANT them to edit it as far as possible.

Edited by thegraydude
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I wouldn't worry too much greydude. I don't think adcomms are going to be leaning in with a magnifying glass trying to detect subtle similarities between your letters and SOP/WS. If you show overwhelmingly similar & noticeable mistakes in both then maybe, but otherwise - I doubt a busy adcomm reviewing potentially hundreds of applications cares too much. 

Thank you. You're probably right. I don't think I make distinct errors while writing or use any distinct vocab that the adcomm would be able to glean from the documents. I'm probably over-thinking it as far as the writing style is concerned. But yes, when so much is at stake, I guess we all get a little jumpy.

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Thank you. You're probably right. I don't think I make distinct errors while writing or use any distinct vocab that the adcomm would be able to glean from the documents. I'm probably over-thinking it as far as the writing style is concerned. But yes, when so much is at stake, I guess we all get a little jumpy.

 

Too true. If it's any consolation, I had to write 2 of my letters. I used this website as a guide, which I thought was super helpful (if you're still in the process of writing):

 

http://theprofessorisin.com/2012/09/07/how-to-write-a-recommendation-letter/ 

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Too true. If it's any consolation, I had to write 2 of my letters. I used this website as a guide, which I thought was super helpful (if you're still in the process of writing):

 

http://theprofessorisin.com/2012/09/07/how-to-write-a-recommendation-letter/ 

 

thank you for this link!! :)

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 For the record, I am against this practice and have already politely told me professor that this is not possible. 

 

 

Did you do this before or after you started this thread and asked if you could get into trouble? If so, then why the need to start a thread asking about the "probability" of universities finding out?

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Did you do this before or after you started this thread and asked if you could get into trouble? If so, then why the need to start a thread asking about the "probability" of universities finding out?

The need to create the thread because I needed information. I asked about the probability of universities finding out about this because I'm curious as to how universities detect such practices. Also, if someone else is thinking of doing something similar or has been similarly misled by a professor, I believe this post would help. When your professor tells you 'you can do it this way', you are inclined to think 'Hey! Maybe I can do it this way'. However, it was a fleeting thought, and the posts here were really helpful.

 

Notice how other users told me it was wrong as well, but also contributed in some way. You, on the other hand, accused me of duping the system, without really understanding my position, and contributed zilch so far. Now I'm sure you're the epitome of morality in your life, but please do not be so sententious. 

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I assume that part of the confirmation process is that the email address you provide the school for your recommendations is their valid email at the school. This sounds very strange to me....

Most if not all of the places I'm applying to this year require that you use their valid institution address, so I agree, I doubt this will work...

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Every university I have applied to has required me to provide an official institution e-mail. They explicitly state that e-mails like gmail, yahoo, hotmail, etc. are not acceptable. I assume it is precisely to avoid this sort of thing.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update: The professor in question at last agreed to upload the recommendation using his authentic college email after I expressed my concerns. However, he did so in the nick of time and after several emails and phone calls from me.

 

If any other applicants are following this topic, under no circumstance should you consider this an option.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The need to create the thread because I needed information. I asked about the probability of universities finding out about this because I'm curious as to how universities detect such practices. Also, if someone else is thinking of doing something similar or has been similarly misled by a professor, I believe this post would help. When your professor tells you 'you can do it this way', you are inclined to think 'Hey! Maybe I can do it this way'. However, it was a fleeting thought, and the posts here were really helpful.

 

Notice how other users told me it was wrong as well, but also contributed in some way. You, on the other hand, accused me of duping the system, without really understanding my position, and contributed zilch so far. Now I'm sure you're the epitome of morality in your life, but please do not be so sententious. 

there are some basic things how they can figure out if you use not-real email. Firstly, the same IP-address (you submitted your application and LORS from the same place), Secondly, the same device...Together the same IP and device make it completely clear that you are cheating. And surely writing style.

I don't think that it's gonna be a huge problem if professors use not university accounts, but some universities clearly state that you have to use university email. It's just kind of luck and university's policy.

 

If any other applicants are following this topic, under no circumstance should you consider this an option.- Sure, agree completely.

Edited by Robo_Lizard
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