»

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!
135888 registered users
First page Previous page 1 ... 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 ... 14 Next page Last page  View All


bennyprof


Dec 6, 2007, 6:05 PM

Post #151 of 333 (6827 views)
Shortcut
Re: [MissEsquire] A sticky situation [In reply to] Can't Post

Send a friendly note asking if she's had a chance to finish the letters yet. Reiterate to her that the first application (including rec. letters) is due in less than ten days. I understand you not wanting to upset her, but this is about you, not her. If she agreed to write the letters for you (assuming you gave her plenty of time) she should stick with her obligation. Unless she's the temperamental sort, I don't think she'll be pestered by it at all.


aluminum


Dec 6, 2007, 6:20 PM

Post #152 of 333 (6820 views)
Shortcut
Re: [MissEsquire] A sticky situation [In reply to] Can't Post

How annoying.

Personally, I would guise my concern in the form of a thank you email.
Eg. "Thank you so much! I know you are busy and I really appreciate the fact that you are following my deadlines so closely. If there is anything I can do, let me know!"


MissEsquire



Dec 6, 2007, 10:22 PM

Post #153 of 333 (6803 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bennyprof] A sticky situation [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, bennyprof and aluminium, for your advice. I sent her a friendly email and also requested that, if she thinks she can't get the thing done in time, she let me know a.s.a.p. so I might be able to line up another rec. I hope she can, though; can't imagine that a recommendation written at the last minute would look or sound too good.


bighark


Dec 7, 2007, 8:00 AM

Post #154 of 333 (6767 views)
Shortcut
Re: [MissEsquire] A sticky situation [In reply to] Can't Post

This sucks for you, I know, but don't stress out too much.

LOR writers routinely flake out on their promises, and the graduate schools and programs know this. As long as you submit the things that you can control (your application, your writing sample, your fee) on time, you should be fine.

Also, you should know that your December applications won't touch then hands of a decision maker until some time in January, possibly even February. This usually allows enough time for late arriving LORs and GRE scores to make it safely into your files.

You did the right thing by sending the reminder email. If the woman you asked is a professor, she should be keenly aware of the importance of this letter and its deadline, and your reminder would have been a graceful way of lighting a fire under her ass.

Good luck!


(This post was edited by bighark on Dec 7, 2007, 9:15 AM)


HopperFu


Dec 7, 2007, 8:54 AM

Post #155 of 333 (6762 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bighark] A sticky situation [In reply to] Can't Post

I think this is all really good advice.
I might add that you could think about trying to line up a replacement recommender, just in case.


MissEsquire



Dec 8, 2007, 10:39 AM

Post #156 of 333 (6706 views)
Shortcut
Re: [HopperFu] A sticky situation [In reply to] Can't Post

After I sent her the email, she wrote back and sent the recs. Now I can breathe again. Thanks, everyone, for your excellent advice.


bennyprof


Dec 8, 2007, 3:56 PM

Post #157 of 333 (6664 views)
Shortcut
Re: [MissEsquire] A sticky situation [In reply to] Can't Post

Good to hear. Good luck!


Glyph


Dec 9, 2007, 9:05 AM

Post #158 of 333 (6613 views)
Shortcut
Signature on back of recommendation letters? [In reply to] Can't Post

Are signatures across the back flap of the reference letter required by grad programs? I was under the impression that it was the standard, but when one of my recommenders mailed my reference letters back to me without a signature across the seal, I mailed them back to her with the request that she sign the back of each envelope. She seemed to get upset that I mailed them back, saying that putting signatures on the back of reference letters isn't a big deal anymore. I asked her to sign them anyway, just in case. She is a professor who currently holds a high level administrative position at my alma mater. Is she right about this?


bennyprof


Dec 9, 2007, 10:46 AM

Post #159 of 333 (6599 views)
Shortcut
Re: [adoten] Signature on back of recommendation letters? [In reply to] Can't Post

No, she's not. The majority of the MFA programs I'm applying to require the signature.


(This post was edited by bennyprof on Dec 9, 2007, 10:47 AM)


bighark


Dec 9, 2007, 12:34 PM

Post #160 of 333 (6582 views)
Shortcut
Re: [adoten] Signature on back of recommendation letters? [In reply to] Can't Post

It's not that big of a deal, and I can see what she was annoyed. If there's any doubt about the letter's authenticity, the program can follow up directly with her.

Don't worry about it now that you've done it. Just remember that the most important thing in your application is your writing sample. The only thing that will make or break your application is your fiction or poetry.

Good luck.


bennyprof


Dec 9, 2007, 12:41 PM

Post #161 of 333 (6578 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bighark] Signature on back of recommendation letters? [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm probably just paranoid about the little things nowadays. I think a few of the websites mention that if a seal is broken or missing a signature they might throw the application out. Which might be a bluff, but you never know.


Glyph


Dec 9, 2007, 1:05 PM

Post #162 of 333 (6572 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bighark] Signature on back of recommendation letters? [In reply to] Can't Post

Yes, I know that the writing sample is the most important thing. Perhaps I was hasty in sending the letters back to her. I just get nervous about things like this because the application process is so extremely labor-intensive (not to mention expensive!), and I don't want to take any chances with any aspect of it. I'm upset that I seem to have offended her, because that certainly wasn't my intention, and I will be paying for her to ship the signed letters back to me. I guess she reacted that way because she thought I was telling her how to do her job...

Thanks to both of you for your input. It is much appreciated!


bedefan


Dec 12, 2007, 8:38 PM

Post #163 of 333 (6480 views)
Shortcut
Schools wanting different things in rec's [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello all. I've been lurking for a while, and like many other people, am applying to a zillion programs right now. Poetry. Solidarity, poets. Anyway.

Question. Arkansas and Kansas both request that recommenders speak to my teaching abilities. I just found these suggestions buried deep in the bowels of each school's application instructions. I sent my recommenders their instructions a while ago, and I haven't taught for any of these people before. To be honest, my recommenders are all nice people and are very busy with grading, etc. right now so I don't want to bug them and tell them to insert a paragraph about how they think I would do as a teacher. What I want to do is say to myself, "Kansas and Arkansas, I love you, but you've just got to understand that my recommenders are writing like 50 rec's each for me, and they can't touch on everything. You'll just have to deal."

But my question is, is the collective wisdom that I'll be frozen out of TAships because of this lack on my recommenders' part (assuming I even get in)? I have taught before, and am mentioning this in separate statements of teaching philosophy (short ones) that I'm sending to these two schools, and I'm listing the chair of a department I used to TA for as a reference in those statements. What do you all think? Will this cut the mustard? Or should I go to my recommenders and ask one if he could doctor his Kansas and Arkansas recommendations before they get sent?

Thanks.


bennyprof


Dec 12, 2007, 9:32 PM

Post #164 of 333 (6473 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bedefan] Schools wanting different things in rec's [In reply to] Can't Post

It might not matter a whole lot either way, but yeah, I'd ask your rec. writers to modify those two apps. Another few sentences isn't too much to ask, I don't think. Especially if the programs explicitely request comments re: teaching. Better to err on the side of safety.


Glyph


Dec 14, 2007, 1:22 PM

Post #165 of 333 (6387 views)
Shortcut
Thank you gift? [In reply to] Can't Post

Is it appropriate to give small thank you gifts to recommenders? If so, any ideas on what to give them? (Should be tasteful but inexpensive - I've already gone into debt with all the application fees, postage, etc.!)


bennyprof


Dec 14, 2007, 1:29 PM

Post #166 of 333 (6382 views)
Shortcut
Re: [adoten] Thank you gift? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know, a gift might be taking it a bit too far. Then again, it depends on the person and their relationship to you. Still, I think a simple thank you note might be more appropriate.

Not sure, though. I'd be interested to hear what other people think.


jaywalke


Dec 14, 2007, 2:01 PM

Post #167 of 333 (6376 views)
Shortcut
Re: [adoten] Thank you gift? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Is it appropriate to give small thank you gifts to recommenders? If so, any ideas on what to give them? (Should be tasteful but inexpensive - I've already gone into debt with all the application fees, postage, etc.!)


I think it's entirely appropriate. After being accepted, I sent small gifts along with the news. I gave one a potted plant for her office window and the other a book from his Amazon wishlist.


Aubrie


Dec 14, 2007, 2:02 PM

Post #168 of 333 (6375 views)
Shortcut
Re: [jaywalke] Thank you gift? [In reply to] Can't Post

Last year I sent bottles of wine which went over quite well - though you have to know a little about their taste!


DMiller


Dec 14, 2007, 2:51 PM

Post #169 of 333 (6361 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Aubrie] Thank you gift? [In reply to] Can't Post

Any thoughts on how much to spend on wine? I was also considering this route, but then I thought... too little, and I'll look cheap, and too much, and well, I don't really have too much to begin with.


jlgwriter
Jeanne Lyet Gassman
e-mail user

Dec 14, 2007, 5:06 PM

Post #170 of 333 (6339 views)
Shortcut
Re: [DMiller] Thank you gift? [In reply to] Can't Post

Wow, now I'm feeling a little Scroogey! All I sent were thank you notes. Bottles of wine, huh? Really? I have no idea if my recommenders even drink wine.

Jeanne


http://www.jeannelyetgassman.com
http://jeannelyetgassman.blogspot.com


bedefan


Dec 15, 2007, 1:21 PM

Post #171 of 333 (6291 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bennyprof] Schools wanting different things in rec's [In reply to] Can't Post

bennyprof,

I suppose you're right. I asked the one recommender who hadn't finished yet if he could fit something in, and he said yes but seemed a little peeved. Probably because I wasn't very organized at getting him his instructions in the first place, and am now asking for a last-second change... Oh well. He's a good man.

And I WILL be getting him a gift now as well.


bedefan


Dec 15, 2007, 1:26 PM

Post #172 of 333 (6292 views)
Shortcut
Need to wait for online rec's before submitting? [In reply to] Can't Post

Hello all, I know this question might probably best be directed to administrative assistants in admissions or the departments I'm applying to... BUT it might be this is obvious and I don't know. So: for my (many) online applications, do I need to wait until the recommenders upload their recommendations before I pay the fee/submit/finalize the application? Or can I go ahead and pay/submit/finalize, assuming that as those final rec's come rolling in they'll just be appended? I'm getting a little paranoid about all this and just don't want recommendations to get frozen out or something. But I also don't want to be on my computer at 11:59 on january 4th waiting for a last-second rec to be submitted. Thoughts?


bennyprof


Dec 15, 2007, 1:46 PM

Post #173 of 333 (6284 views)
Shortcut
Re: [bedefan] Need to wait for online rec's before submitting? [In reply to] Can't Post

I had that same question about a week ago re: Wisconsin. I called the program, and the secretary told me I could go ahead and submit with no problem. My electronic application would remain available for recommenders to upload their letters. I'm assuming most schools use the same basic type of online system to handle their apps, so I think it's a pretty safe bet they all do it this way.


(This post was edited by bennyprof on Dec 15, 2007, 1:47 PM)


Glyph


Dec 15, 2007, 11:57 PM

Post #174 of 333 (6227 views)
Shortcut
Re: [adoten] Thank you gift? [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks to all for your suggestions!


Sibella
Pam, that is.


Mar 7, 2008, 2:48 PM

Post #175 of 333 (6092 views)
Shortcut
Strategies for picking recommenders, timing [In reply to] Can't Post

Greetings.

I know I'm out of sync with most of you; I'm working toward an application for Warren Wilson's low-res program (poetry) for a Sept. 1 deadline.

Looks like I need two letters. All other things being equal (which I realize they're not), how would you rank the best letter-writing choices from this list?

A. Writing professor I studied with in college 30 years ago, as well as recently in three classes in a non-credit program. Fairly renowned poet/educator. Just recommended me for a reading. Seems willing, albeit busy and potentially a little scatterbrained (I might have to lean on him, and that makes me a little uncomfortable).

B. Editor at a magazine where I've written (nonfiction) and proofread for nearly 20 years. Has seen me fluff deadlines and experience a few personal crises. Hasn't seen my poetry and might not quite be inclined to "get it." Nevertheless, will do a good letter in a timely fashion, I believe--though I don't know whether she'll mention the negative bits. Is someone I consider a friend, though I think she can manage the personal/professional distinction for this purpose.

C. Singer/songwriter who taught me in a couple of workshops (in singing and "creative process") at a music-oriented weeklong program last summer. Relatively famous name in her field, which probably won't impress Wilson either way. Has known me since I was a music critic and wrote favorably of her work (conflict of interest?). Has seen a few of my poems and a good bit of my nonfiction and "creative process." Was extremely enthusiastic about writing a letter for me when I asked, informally, a while back. In the middle of some serious personal complications that might make her a deadline-meeting risk.

D. Fellow workshop student who is about to graduate from the Wilson MFA program (not sure exactly when); consequently, she's very busy, but she's been very helpful. Has seen my work and will undoubtedly be positive about it. I don't know whether the fact that she's a student at the school to which I'm applying will help me or hurt me.

E. Another instructor from the non-credit program where A taught and D was a fellow student. Likes what he's seen of my work, though he hasn't seen much of it. Like C, he's someone I initially met when I was in journalism, and I wrote favorably about him and his book back then, so I have some misgivings about conflict of interest-type stuff. Doesn't have the clout of A, and I fear that two recommenders from the same program might not show enough "variety," though I have no basis for this.



Also, would it hurt to line up three (or even more) of these people to send letters, just in case one of them doesn't follow through? Or will this piss off the school?

And would it be crazy to get these letters going, seriously, right now, even though I haven't sent Wilson anything else resembling an application? (I'm a little worried about being too early, since Wilson's previous deadline was March 1 and they'll be in the middle of reviewing stuff that came in for that deadline.)

Thanks in advance.

- - -


"What I wanted to hear didn't exist, so it was necessary for me to go out and create it." --Richard Thompson

First page Previous page 1 ... 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 ... 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