»

Subscribe | Give a Gift Subscription

Log In or Register | Help | Contact Us | Donate

Advanced Search

Main Index » Writing and Publishing » MFA Programs
Recommendations and reference letters
Edit your profilePrivate messages Search postsWho's online?
You are not signed in. Click here to sign in.
If you are not a member, Register here!
137777 registered users
First page Previous page 1 ... 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Next page Last page  View All


bighark


Jun 25, 2009, 8:55 PM

Post #226 of 333 (7739 views)
Shortcut
Re: [moomoocow42] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

Actually, for peace of mind, I was a big fan of the electronic method. The electronic recommendation forms let you know when, exactly, a recommender has submitted his or her letters. You also know that the letters will be delivered and not misfiled or lost in the deluge of holiday mail that happens concurrently with most application deadlines.

If you have traditonal snail mail letters, though, use moomoocow's thoughtful method of sending SASEs.


OldScribe2000


Jun 26, 2009, 5:16 PM

Post #227 of 333 (7695 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bighark] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

Some of my English professors are so old and set in their ways, they don't know (and don't care to learn) how to turn on a computer.


silkentent
Margaret DeAngelis

e-mail user

Jun 26, 2009, 5:37 PM

Post #228 of 333 (7689 views)
Shortcut
Re: [OldScribe2000] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Some of my English professors are so old and set in their ways, they don't know (and don't care to learn) how to turn on a computer.



I got my bachelor's degree in 1969, my first master's in 1974, my second in 1996. My professors are not just retired, they're dead. (Correction: the undergrad professor I hated the most is still at work. A young friend who had her in 2006 reports that she hasn't changed a bit.) I think about this when I consider getting into this MFA application lifestyle.


Margaret DeAngelis
Markings: Days of Her Life
http://www.silkentent.com/Trees


VesperGloaming


Aug 6, 2009, 3:19 PM

Post #229 of 333 (7486 views)
Shortcut
Re: [silkentent] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

I went to UT Austin as an undergrad and one of the schools I'm applying to is the Michener Center for Writers (at UT Austin). I wanted to ask my creative writing professors for letters of recommendations, but they are also on staff at the Center. Is it a good idea to ask them or will they turn me down because they already know me, thus making the application process bias?


bighark


Aug 6, 2009, 3:33 PM

Post #230 of 333 (7480 views)
Shortcut
Re: [VesperGloaming] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

I can't see why your former professors would turn you down. They may counsel you to expand your applications beyond just UT, though.


kbritten

e-mail user

Aug 30, 2009, 11:38 AM

Post #231 of 333 (7254 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bighark] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, I have an odd question to ask about recommendations. When I applied for the M.A., I had trouble finding professors to give me recommendations, since most of them had either left the school or didn't know me well enough to write a quality recommendation. For the M.F.A., I'm going a different route. Two recommendations are from talented writers/teachers with advanced degrees, who know my work. The third recommendation is my problem. I teach at a Catholic school right now, and I wanted a recommendation from an ex-teacher there, but he's a brother (as in Sistercian monk :) ). He's incredibly intelligent and educated with a degree from UCLA, he's fluent in five languages, and he has read some of my critical work and can attest to my "intellectual capabilities". He's also non-judgmental, tolerant, etc... My questions is: would an admissions officer see that one of my recommendations is from a monk and think that I'm some kind of religious nut? I actually consider myself a cultural Catholic deist and I don't want any "left-leaning" people in academia to think that I'm some kind of uber religious, pushy conservative zealot who will try to convert them. I can't think of anyone else that knows my writing/critical work aside from a professor in college that gave me a recommendation when I applied for the M.A. But I don't feel comfortable asking him to fill out 13 recommendations, and I don't think he'd be supportive of my getting an art's degree (he's a philosophy man).

Sorry for the long-winded question...


alamana
Jennifer Brown


Aug 30, 2009, 11:46 AM

Post #232 of 333 (7249 views)
Shortcut
Re: [kbritten] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think anyone will think twice about your recommender being a monk. Go ahead and use him.


Be regular and orderly in your life, that you may be violent and original in your work. -- Flaubert

http://www.jenniferkirkpatrickbrown.com


potshot


Aug 30, 2009, 2:57 PM

Post #233 of 333 (7221 views)
Shortcut
Re: [kbritten] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

Not only do I think it wouldn't be a problem, it actually seems really cool. A letter of rec is a letter of rec, but I don't think many admissions folks get letters from monks. It might make you stick out from the pack, you never know.


kbritten

e-mail user

Aug 30, 2009, 3:01 PM

Post #234 of 333 (7220 views)
Shortcut
Re: [potshot] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank God, this recommendation thing is more stressful than the writing sample! I'm glad to hear that it won't be a problem. I mean, I know that recommendations don't mean that much anyway, unless it is the difference between one candidate and another. But, I would like to have as good of an application packet as possible. Thanks for your responses guys!


WanderingTree


Sep 11, 2009, 11:48 AM

Post #235 of 333 (7099 views)
Shortcut
Re: [kbritten] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

Freaking out a little. I've sent one of my recommenders two emails and she has not responded yet. Should I call? Wait? It's only been a couple of days. She gave me a rec last year. Thoughts?


bighark


Sep 11, 2009, 11:54 AM

Post #236 of 333 (7096 views)
Shortcut
Re: [WanderingTree] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

You've got plenty of time. It's September, and school's just starting. Give her some time to respond.


CMQ
Chelsea


Sep 18, 2009, 8:59 AM

Post #237 of 333 (6970 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bighark] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

So I recently sent out the "heads up" e-mails to my three preferred recommendors...heard back from 2 out of the 3. One of my which, my undergrad advisor, suggested something a little weird.

He says he's quite busy helping his elderly aunt move into a new place but is interested in writing a letter for me. He's suggested I write the "first draft" of my own recommendation letter and he'll "supe" it up thereafter. He insists it'll be a great exercise for me...

The whole thing has me a bit confused. I'm not quite comfortable doing this per say but I also need the recommendation letter and he's a writer who's seen my work evolve over 4 years.

Any thoughts from anyone? Anyone else ever have a request like this? HELP haha


unsaid78


Sep 18, 2009, 9:16 AM

Post #238 of 333 (6966 views)
Shortcut
Re: [CMQ] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

The first time I asked for a recommendation from a professor, though she knew my writing well, she requested that I write her a cover letter and give her a writing resume so that she could write a really good recommendation. I would approach your professor's request that way. Write a letter about your writing experience and qualifications for the MFA program. If you can throw together a quick writing resume for him to reference that would help too. It actually is a good exercise!

The rec letter I got from this professor was the best of my batch. I never read it, but a few schools that took me mentioned it specifically.

There's nothing unethical about his request. The more you give your professor to work with, the better. Good luck to you!


www.mfachronicles.blogspot.com - Follow us as we begin our 1st years in MFA programs!


Peaquah

e-mail user

Sep 18, 2009, 9:17 AM

Post #239 of 333 (6965 views)
Shortcut
Re: [CMQ] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

I did this once for a Japanese teacher who said she didn't really know how to phrase everything in English. It feels weird at first, but it's not a bad thing to do in my opinion. It also gives you a chance to "fill in the gaps" of things that you've done outside of school that the professor may or may not know about. As a former teacher, I appreciated it when students took the time to give me an outline of what they've been up to, what awards they've won, and what their goals are for the future.

If you're uncomfortable with it, I'd suggest to him that you'll write three basic paragraphs about how you're a good student, dedicated, etc.--but say you're not comfortable writing the fourth about your writing abilities. Might be a good compromise.

Hope this helps.


alamana
Jennifer Brown


Sep 18, 2009, 10:21 AM

Post #240 of 333 (6954 views)
Shortcut
Re: [CMQ] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think that this is that unusual. In the professional world (my experience is law) they always have you do a first draft of a recommendation letter or even yearly review.


Be regular and orderly in your life, that you may be violent and original in your work. -- Flaubert

http://www.jenniferkirkpatrickbrown.com


CMQ
Chelsea


Sep 18, 2009, 11:32 AM

Post #241 of 333 (6936 views)
Shortcut
Re: [unsaid78] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

I didn't realize his request wasn't all that unusual. Thanks for the suggestions; they've helped ease a bit of my anxiety regarding talking about myself, my abilities specifically...

I wasn't sure if my writing the draft made the letter any less legitimate but the feeling I'm getting from everyone is that's not the case.

Again, thank you!


kbritten

e-mail user

Sep 27, 2009, 10:12 AM

Post #242 of 333 (6798 views)
Shortcut
Re: [CMQ] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, I could have sworn that I saw this in this very thread but I can't seem to find it anywhere. Can someone explain how a dossier service works and why it's better than the alternatives. I'd also appreciate any recommendations for dossier services. Thanks!


WanderingTree


Sep 27, 2009, 12:42 PM

Post #243 of 333 (6781 views)
Shortcut
Re: [kbritten] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

I hear a lot about Interfolio, but you also should check with your college alumni or registrar office b/c many colleges offer this service to graduates. Essentially a dossier service collects the letters of your recommenders and sends them out to the colleges you are applying to. I will say this: I really don't see the point in using a dossier service if recommenders will be submitting their rec letters online (esp. if it's a third party service and not one provided by your alma mater). It's a professor's job to write these letters (it's actually just one letter) and uploading/pasting in a few letters doesn't require a whole lot. I know some professors who are actually hesitant about using these services and would rather do it the "normal" way. So, it's probably a good idea to check that 1) your university has such a service and 2) your professor's are open to using third party dossier services.

(This post was edited by WanderingTree on Sep 27, 2009, 12:43 PM)


SevenFreckles


Sep 28, 2009, 12:48 AM

Post #244 of 333 (6741 views)
Shortcut
Re: [WanderingTree] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

I used Interfolio last year for my applications and just want to point out two things that I liked about it-- first of all, I had complete control over when my letters were sent (once my recommenders uploaded them... which was umm a bit of a struggle, but that's kind of beside the point). I really liked knowing exactly when the letter was sent out and knowing that I could send another letter if I needed to without bothering the professor for another copy. When I ended up adding a school to my list at the very last second there was no need to rush about for a recommendation.

I do realize that professors are expected to write LORs, but in some cases it is easy to feel like you're being a bother or burden-- for example, none of my recommenders were professors who were currently teaching. If felt like this was lightning the load considering I applied to 15 or so schools.

I suppose this wouldn't work out as well for schools that only accept online recommendations, but I used Interfolio for all of my schools and checked ahead to make sure it was okay when they required forms or online recommendations. All the schools I ended up applying were very accommodating about using a dossier service.

The only real downside is that it isn't a free service-- I found the price reasonable for what I was getting, but some people might not see it that way. I think it all depends on what you're looking for... for some, including me, Interfolio was a great option.


kbritten

e-mail user

Sep 28, 2009, 10:58 AM

Post #245 of 333 (6713 views)
Shortcut
Re: [SevenFreckles] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

SF - thank you for your help. I've actually already sent out packets to my recommenders, but since I haven't received anything back I'm wondering how far they are in the process and if they might appreciate using the service instead of stuffing a bunch of envelopes. Just to clarify though, I'm getting my recommendations from teachers not affiliated with my undergrad, the dossier service can be used for them? Thanks!


SevenFreckles


Sep 28, 2009, 6:28 PM

Post #246 of 333 (6686 views)
Shortcut
Re: [kbritten] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, definitely. I almost think that's the ideal time to use it, just because folks not affiliated with a university might have less practice doing LORs and it does make it so much simpler. All they have to do it upload it (or they can mail it in to Interfolio, if they prefer.) But uploading it makes it so amazingly simple. :) I used it for two retired professors, a workshop instructor that wasn't afliated with a university I attended, and someone I worked for.


kbritten

e-mail user

Sep 29, 2009, 7:26 AM

Post #247 of 333 (6647 views)
Shortcut
Re: [kbritten] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

I have one more question. What about the forms that some schools require for letters of recommendation? Does the dossier service take care of that, too? Just curious.


SevenFreckles


Sep 29, 2009, 8:47 AM

Post #248 of 333 (6637 views)
Shortcut
Re: [kbritten] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

That's a good question... my approach to the various forms was emailing the school and telling them I was using a dossier service. Every school that I asked (and it was around 15 schools) said it was fine to forgo the forms. I think as long as they have the letter they're generally okay with it. I had a massively difficult time actually getting the letters from my recommenders (even just to upload, I shudder to think how horrible the process would have been if I wasn't using a dossier service) and I made it pretty clear to the schools that I didn't have an option. So, basically, I think you can work around it, but it does take sending a few emails. :)


kbritten

e-mail user

Sep 30, 2009, 11:25 AM

Post #249 of 333 (6566 views)
Shortcut
Re: [SevenFreckles] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi SF, I just wanted to say thank you for your post. I think I'm going to stick to the old fashioned method, though. I emailed a bunch of my schools and it seems like using Interfolio would get too complicated. Some schools told me to still send in a form (which confused me because it would need to be filled out by a recommender... yet they're writing a letter too...), others told me that I would have to email it to them, and some told me that they wouldn't accept it at all through that service (FSU told me it was too difficult to keep track of for some reason). I think I'll save the $19 and mail them in myself, much to the chagrin of my recommenders, I'm sure, who will be stuffing envelopes over the weekend. Hope my meager Starbuck's gift card makes up for it!


SevenFreckles


Oct 6, 2009, 10:11 AM

Post #250 of 333 (6398 views)
Shortcut
Re: [kbritten] Recommendations and reference letters [In reply to] Can't Post

Huh, I'm surprised that they were being difficult about it... but kind of not surprised too, if only because I'm pretty sure the application process goes out of its way to be as tricky as possible. But I'm sorry you went to all the trouble of emailing. FSU can't keep track of the letters if they're delivered by Interfolio? That doesn't make any sense to me... :) Well, I hope everything is smooth sailing from here with your LORs. And I think the Starbucks gift card is a really nice gesture. Good luck!

First page Previous page 1 ... 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Next page Last page  View All

Main Index » Writing and Publishing » MFA Programs

 


P&W Newsletters

Sign up to receive our monthly email newsletter to stay informed of the latest news, events and more.

Click to Sign Up

Subscribe to P&W Magazine | Donate Now | Advertise | Sign up for E-Newsletter | About Us | Contact Us

© Copyright Poets & Writers 2011. All Rights Reserved