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viveke

Need to edit a really weirdly written letter

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So one of my letter writers sent me the letter to look over, and...I'm not really sure where to start, but about 90% of it is made up and the rest just doesn't really make sense. He barely talked about my work in the class I took with him, put in a lot of inaccurate details, some of which are fairly obvious (ie saying I took three classes with him when it was only one), and describes conversations that we definitely never had, and not in a believable way. The ways he described my personal attributes and goals are also really hyperbolic and cliched in a way that's fairly eyebrow-raising, or just unrelated to the programs I'm applying to

He basically told me to edit anything I wanted, so I'm doing my best. And while I appreciate him doing what I assume he believed would help with my application, I can't help feeling disappointed- I got the impression from our (actual) conversations that he thought I was an intelligent person from my writing and performance in class, and I have no idea what that was based on now. I was also counting on this to be one of two really good letters (out of three), and now I sort of have to write it myself, which I don't think I'll be very good at. Any advice is appreciated-I know there are some other threads about writing your own letter- but mostly just needed to vent :(

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it almost sounds like he has you confused with someone else. is there any way that you can politely ask him if he accidentally sent you a letter that was intended for someone else?

 

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I was thinking the same thing as @avflinsch  and then remembered that @viveke was an international student and perhaps the Professor (due to different cultural norms) thought that the hyperbole was actually useful. I had to help a friend edit a LOR she received and noticed that there were many hyperbolic statements as well. One of the letters was super religious and personal, going into detail not only about her family, but her inlaws as well! I think that ad comms may be surprised by such statements, but if it's coming from a non-native English speaker/ non-American, I think they'll be sophisticated enough to take into account cultural differences. I think that if I were you, I'd leave the hyperbole and awkward comments as is - if you edit it too much, the phrasing may end up sounding too much like your SOP. 

The inaccurate comments about the classes and such I would fix, and if there's stuff he's left out, I'd add it and get his approval. Just be sure to thank him for his efforts and also trusting you with edits. 

Good luck!!!!

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Yeah, it's definitely about me. I spoke with him later and he said my SOP seemed too "matter of fact" so he was trying to add in more a personal motivation (hence statements about me basically wanting to save all of humanity). The hyperbole didn't really bother me as much as a portion where he wrote down, as a quote, something I'd supposedly said to him that didn't sound like anything a human being would ever say in a conversation
But I did try not to edit it too much- as you said, I didn't want it to sound like my SOPs- so I just took out the parts that were inaccurate or confusing, added in a bit about my work in the class, and sent it back, and he said afterwards "my edits were good". And of course I thanked him for taking the time.
I'm from the US (not sure if that's what you meant) but I am applying to UK programs so I'm technically international there :) And you're right, he's not a native English speaker, but he did tell me he's written lots of letters for his students before that have been successful
Thanks for the responses though. I can't wait until this is all over :P

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