Rec Letter Advice

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clerkshiphopeful
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Rec Letter Advice

Post by clerkshiphopeful » Wed May 15, 2019 3:30 pm

Hey all, I'm in kind of an awkward situation here and would appreciate any advice. I'm currently finishing 2L at HYSCCN. I've asked 3 professors for clerkship recommendations and they all accepted. The third, however, asked that I draft a letter and send it to them (they said they will write their own after reading mine). I have never had to do this before and feel pretty weird about it, but it seems like this professor's standard practice. I also don't know how I should frame the letter - are clerkship letters the same as any other letter of rec? I assume they are but I have no way of knowing. Any advice anyone can offer would be much appreciated - even if just to say that this is normal (or, conversely, a huge red flag).

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CS1775
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Re: Rec Letter Advice

Post by CS1775 » Wed May 15, 2019 5:18 pm

This is inconsistent with what I've seen for LORs. The closest to this I did was to have a half-hour phone call to discuss my plans with a prof and he asked what I think would be good to put in. Our gut instincts matched up.

Is there another possible recommender for you, such as an internship supervisor?

clerkshiphopeful
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Re: Rec Letter Advice

Post by clerkshiphopeful » Wed May 15, 2019 5:36 pm

The reason I chose this professor is because I took a BLL class with them, did well, went to office hours a bunch, etc. They asked for a whole list of things besides a draft letter, including my transcript, writing sample, summaries of conversations we've had, etc., which makes me think maybe they will actually write their own letter (or substantially revise mine). FWIW, this list came from the prof's secretary and is definitely not something that went just to me - so it seems like this is the professor's process, at least for run-of-the-mill letters.

I think I could ask a clinic supervisor to write a letter, but my thinking behind this prof was that they will be my only BLL professor. Another letter is coming from someone I RA for, and the third a seminar professor; I am confident in both of those and know both of those professors on a much more personal level. I had thought that having even a standard (but positive) letter from this prof might be better than having no BLL course letter at all. Am I totally off-base with that?

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Nony
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Re: Rec Letter Advice

Post by Nony » Wed May 15, 2019 6:45 pm

It is actually perfectly normal to do this - it’s fine. It’s awkward and kind of annoying, but the theory is it helps the recommender and is a plus for you because you can make sure the letter includes all the things you want to promote about yourself. (The prof can take them out of course, but it brings them to his/her attention.)

That said, I think you’re overthinking a little to want a BLL prof, but the fact that the prof asked for all that stuff is a good sign that they’re taking this seriously and want to do a good job. You’re fine.

lolwat
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Re: Rec Letter Advice

Post by lolwat » Thu May 16, 2019 10:17 am

This is a pretty common approach for recommenders and, I think, often a good sign all around. If they don't really care and you write a super awesome rec for yourself, then you still wind up with a super awesome rec regardless. If they do take the time to edit, then you have someone who cares about writing a good letter to support you. And of course, the more time they're willing to spend talking to you or reviewing your materials (transcripts, writing samples, stuff like that), the more it means they care and are taking it seriously.

I've never had a professor ask me to write the letter but I've had them do anything from absolutely nothing to asking to meet or talk over the phone and for me to send them my resume, transcript, etc. I was actually pretty surprised at how good the letter was from the profs that didn't ask me for anything, but the ones that did were still better.

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quiver
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Re: Rec Letter Advice

Post by quiver » Thu May 16, 2019 10:27 am

Completely agree with Nony and lolwat. This is fine and there's no reason to expect a bad rec just because the professor asked you for a draft.

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Danger Zone
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Re: Rec Letter Advice

Post by Danger Zone » Thu May 16, 2019 11:33 am

Can confirm this is common and generally leads to a better letter

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MJB
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Re: Rec Letter Advice

Post by MJB » Thu May 16, 2019 2:38 pm

This is pretty common.

clerkshiphopeful
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Re: Rec Letter Advice

Post by clerkshiphopeful » Thu May 16, 2019 3:52 pm

Thank you everyone for your replies, I feel much better!!

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