»

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!
138540 registered users
First page Previous page 1 ... 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 ... 14 Next page Last page  View All


dunnkc


Mar 7, 2008, 2:57 PM

Post #176 of 333 (8441 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Sibella] Strategies for picking recommenders, timing [In reply to] Can't Post

Here are my thoughts, Sibella:

I applied to Warren Wilson recently, for the March 1 deadline. I applied in fiction.

I can't exactly say which of your recommenders would be best, but I had letters sent from an English professor from my B.A. (which I received in '04) and two workshop instructors. I did have three letters sent, just in case somebody flaked out. It remains to be seen whether it "pissed off the school," but they didn't say anything about it when I called to check up on the receipt of my materials. I assume they'll either read two and disregard the third or go ahead and read them all.

The recommendation letters and transcripts were also sent months before I sent the rest of my application, and it seems everything worked out okay, because it all ended up in my file. I did this because I applied to programs that had December and January deadlines, and I figured the recommenders would rather do everything at once. Same for the registrar -- easier to send everything at once. Warren Wilson sorted it out just fine. I guess they kept the materials together in a file, waiting for the rest of the application. I think they do this a lot, especially since they indicate that they will hang onto transcripts and recommendations for the next application deadline, if you decide to apply a second time.

Good luck to you. I say, get started early, because you may have to remind your recommenders more than once to get it all done on time. I know I did.


Raysen


Aug 18, 2008, 11:44 PM

Post #177 of 333 (8340 views)
Shortcut
gifts [In reply to] Can't Post

I may have anywhere from 15-20 applications and hence, 15-20 letters of recommendations from each of the three recommenders. I'm thinking that a Thank You note would be an insult. Does anyone have any suggestions on what would be an appropriate gift?

$100 gift card? $50 gift card? A fruit/cracker/wine basket?


symmetrical


Aug 19, 2008, 12:32 AM

Post #178 of 333 (8332 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Raysen] gifts [In reply to] Can't Post

I was thinking about this too, but my recommender(s) told me that it's basically the same letter, excepting instances where one of the schools is there alma mater or they know a faculty member personally. I think it all depends on your financial means and how close you are to your recommenders.


spamela


Aug 20, 2008, 6:38 PM

Post #179 of 333 (8256 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Raysen] gifts [In reply to] Can't Post

My hometown is Iowa City, so last year I gave my recommenders t-shirts from the famed Prairie Lights bookstore. I think something local and/or writerly like that is good. I was pretty broke at the time, so I couldn't do anything fancy, but even if I'd had money, I don't think an expensive gift is necessary. Writing recommendations is part of the job of being a writing mentor and teacher (I'm assuming here that your letter writers are academics, but even if they aren't, they're probably not writing recommendations in order to get something back from you).

I think a gift is nice because it shows appreciation, but something very expensive has the potential to feel awkward or inappropriate, depending on your relationship with your recommenders.


HopperFu


Aug 21, 2008, 9:52 AM

Post #180 of 333 (8212 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Raysen] gifts [In reply to] Can't Post

You'd be surprised at how few people do stuff like this. Honestly, even a card simply saying 'thanks' would be nice. Nothing more expensive than a decent bottle of wine ($15) if you want to do a gift.
Remember that if they are your professors, that writing recs is actually part of their job.


moomoocow42


Sep 17, 2008, 2:20 AM

Post #181 of 333 (8118 views)
Shortcut
Question [In reply to] Can't Post

Okay, in an effort to reduce myself into a paranoid wreck, I'm in the middle of cobbling materials together for my recommenders and I've noticed that for the online submissions, emails will be sent to them. For some reason, I can't stop worrying about the emails being caught by spam filters -- after all, I'll be probably sending close to 6-8 emails to three recommenders each. Has anyone else who has used the online submission process for their references had (or not had) this problem? Or am I just psyching myself out?

Also, and I know this has been asked before: if/when I send materials to a school, any school (GRE score, transcript, letter of recommendation) they'll simply make a folder for me, right? No need to worry about that? Sorry for the repeat question, I just want to make sure.

Thanks in advance!


My MFA Blog -- Watch me slowly lose my sanity.


HopperFu


Sep 17, 2008, 7:35 AM

Post #182 of 333 (8107 views)
Shortcut
Re: [moomoocow42] Question [In reply to] Can't Post

With the spam question, you can check the status of your letters through most online systems, which should help with some of the uneasiness. Assuming your referees know the emails are coming, it shouldn't be an issue.
And yes, schools will make a folder as soon as they get any material and then put anything that comes in into the folders.


SevenFreckles


Oct 11, 2008, 2:33 PM

Post #183 of 333 (7967 views)
Shortcut
Re: [HopperFu] Question [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm thinking about using InterFolio, a credential file service, for my letters of recommendation. Has anyone on here ever used anything like this before? My biggest concern figuring out if doing things this way means that I don't need a customized letter for each school from my recomenders. I've tried looking at Interfolio's website, but I find it a little confusing. I suppose I'll just have to wait until Monday to call them... but I was wondering if anyone here has had any experience with this approach. Thanks!


bighark


Oct 11, 2008, 10:24 PM

Post #184 of 333 (7931 views)
Shortcut
Re: [SevenFreckles] Question [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know, Freckles. I think you should just keep your money.

Most applications ask for electronic LORs nowadays, so services like InterFolio don't make a lot of sense--at least not for MFA applicants.

Because the electronic submission methods allow you to see when your recommenders actually submit their letters, I don't know why you'd want to put one more step between your letters and their final destination.


unsaid78


Oct 11, 2008, 10:48 PM

Post #185 of 333 (7925 views)
Shortcut
Re: [Raysen] gifts [In reply to] Can't Post

As far as gifts for recommenders go, I took classes recently with each of my recommenders so I'm getting them something that is related to the class and hopefully useful.

For example, we read Bastard Out of Carolina in one of my recommender's classes. She mentioned that she'd never seen the movie. She showed movies of other books we read. I'm giving her the DVD of the movie as a gift so hopefully she can use it in future classes.

My British Lit professor loved to use supplemental multimedia things in class. So I'm getting her something like that. A CD of maps or something. No more than $15-20 either.

My third recommender is getting a scarf because she wore the best scarves, so I'd think she'd appreciate a snazzy new scarf...from Target. Again $15-20.

I didn't have to put much thought into these ideas, they were just observations I made during class. It's always nice to add a personal touch when gift giving if you can (and now I sound like Martha Stewart).

Just some ideas.


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


Tabby


e-mail user

Oct 13, 2008, 3:01 PM

Post #186 of 333 (7846 views)
Shortcut
Re: [sharonlouise] letters of rec from non-professors [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey,

I had been out of school for fifteen years. I had a college prof who remembered me, then I had an editor write a rec, and then...my yoga instructor. I asked her to attest to my ability to focus, attend to a practice everyday and to improve. Believe it or not, I still got in a few programs. Really, (again) it's the writing sample. From what I can tell recs are mostly there to satisfy Grad School requirements, and because if people can't find three relatively sane, literate people to relay a few nice words...then you have to wonder. My profs told me maybe once in a while a rec had some sway, but rarely. One fellow MFAer of mine didn't even send IN recs, but they loved her writing sample so they let her in, and then she (literally) had someone she babysat for write off a letter. Okay, granted he was an Oscar winning filmmaker, but he had never read word one of her writing. I'm not saying I recommend this practice...but it shows how much the sample is the thing.


http://www.kellykathleenferguson.com


HappyCianci



Oct 13, 2008, 3:37 PM

Post #187 of 333 (7833 views)
Shortcut
return address [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm sending my recommenders a packet of stamped envelopes addressed to my schools- should I put a return address on them?

Should it be their return address or mine?

If it's theirs, should I write my name on the envelope somewhere else, so the people at the graduate office can file my letters without opening them?

Last year I did all this stuff online, so I'm a little bit lost.

Thanks!


moomoocow42


Oct 13, 2008, 4:16 PM

Post #188 of 333 (7813 views)
Shortcut
Re: [HappyCianci] return address [In reply to] Can't Post

Hey HappyCianci, I can't speak for the people who've gone through this before -- they'd probably know better than me -- but I'm about to send off my packet of envelopes for my recommenders, and I'm definitely putting the return addresses as mine. I figure that if there's any problems, I'd like to be the first one to know, and I'd especially like to make the process as painless as possible for my recommenders; don't want them to get those letters back if something goes wrong! Though I'm also a bit of a control freak... I'm sending a big packet to my recommenders, and having them mail the letters, sealed and signed, back to me in another packet, just to make sure I have full control over the distribution and receipt of every single letter. I even have a spiffy checklist. So I'm a little crazy.

But I am also very curious about your last question too. My envelopes currently just have the program addresses and my return address on them... should there be any kind of identifying print on it, like "Recommendation One"?


My MFA Blog -- Watch me slowly lose my sanity.


wcpoole


Oct 31, 2008, 6:13 PM

Post #189 of 333 (7704 views)
Shortcut
Re: [MissEsquire] A sticky situation [In reply to] Can't Post

Does anyone know if an application will not be processed if there are only two instead of three letters of recommendation? I've had some trouble getting hold of one of my old professors who provided me with a letter last year. With less than two months until my first application deadline, I'm a little worried about finding another person to submit a letter of recommendation in time.


HopperFu


Nov 1, 2008, 8:44 AM

Post #190 of 333 (7661 views)
Shortcut
Re: [wcpoole] A sticky situation [In reply to] Can't Post

If you make it to the point where they look at letters of rec, many schools will contact you to ask where your third letter is.
There will be some schools who won't even look at your application until it is "complete," however, so you need to start working on that third letter from a different person. Friends who write? Other former profs?


srohrbach
Shawn Rohrbach
e-mail user

Nov 12, 2008, 5:48 PM

Post #191 of 333 (7527 views)
Shortcut
Re: [HopperFu] A sticky situation [In reply to] Can't Post

HopperFu's remarks here are good. As for gifts, as a former Associate Dean, I felt it was a conflict of interest to accept them because I would choose to either write a letter or not depending on the kind of academic career the former student chose to have in my insitution. Ask the prof ahead of the gift if there is a conflict. I would gladly write letters for students who took their studies seriously and who contributed in some positive way to the academic community. If the request came from a C average student with no history of involvement, I would kindly decline the offer to write a letter. Someone in this thread wrote that it is part of the prof's job to write the letter. I disagree. As their boss, I advised profs to write letters for those former students they felt were going to make good use of the advanced education. In my MFA program, there were three students who had come with flagship, five star academic and artistic letters and would routinely miss assignment deadlines, give paltry and useless critiques on peer work and in fact one of them had to leave because of a substandard GPA. My other caution to profs was to choose their opportunities to recommend carefully and to know the student well before writing them.


Shawn Rohrbach
www.shawnrohrbach.com



unsaid78


Dec 2, 2008, 4:19 PM

Post #192 of 333 (7406 views)
Shortcut
Re: [wcpoole] A sticky situation [In reply to] Can't Post

I just had to send a gentle reminder to my last recommender. I let her know that I want to send the letters out with my application materials by Dec. 9th at the latest. I also let her know that another professor wrote me one letter on letterhead and had me color copy it, stuff the envelopes, then return them to her to sign the seals. I told her that I'd be available to assist her in any way. I hope that was gentle enough lol.

Yeah, so, I'm freaking out.


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


Mae Fields



Dec 2, 2008, 8:28 PM

Post #193 of 333 (7357 views)
Shortcut
Re: [unsaid78] A sticky situation [In reply to] Can't Post

Don't worry, you're not the only one. I'm also still waiting for one rec.!

<<fingers crossed>> Tomorrow, I hope!


SevenFreckles


Dec 2, 2008, 8:41 PM

Post #194 of 333 (7355 views)
Shortcut
Re: [unsaid78] A sticky situation [In reply to] Can't Post

Gah, these letters of rec have definitely been the most stressful part of this experience for me. I feel like I have no control over something that's hugely important. Right now I only have one letter. My second recommender has said that the letter is done, but has since disappeared and I still don't have the letter. And then to top it off my third recommender (a college professor who I've been really close to for the last three years) has completely fallen off the face of the planet. He won't return any emails and the last I heard from him was that he was doing pretty poorly health-wise. I'm not in the same state even as any of these people so there's no way I can conventionally stalk them. And I have the slightly strange circumstance of my undergraduate college closing the year after I graduated, so I really don't have any resources left to tap. I'm sure I can get my employer to write me a letter, but it will be nowhere near as helpful as someone who knows my writing. Sigh... there's got to be a limit to how much it is smart to pester someone who is writing on your behalf. I guess I'm going to have to find out what it is.


germericanqt


Dec 3, 2008, 12:04 PM

Post #195 of 333 (7291 views)
Shortcut
Re: [SevenFreckles] A sticky situation [In reply to] Can't Post

Last year, one of my recommenders didn't respond at all until January. After I had sent him several increasingly frantic e-mails and talked to all of the schools, he finally got back to me. Turns out his mother had died. I had to turn down my urgency quite a bit. His letter missed all of the school deadlines, but it wasn't a problem. Lesson: don't stress too much. Let the schools know what's going on; they know it's often out of your hands.

This year I had one recommender who was a little behind schedule. I happened to catch her while out running by her house (not intentional, I swear!) and she had the letters to me within three days. I just thought of that when you said "conventionally stalk" and it made me laugh.


Raysen


Dec 3, 2008, 4:23 PM

Post #196 of 333 (7246 views)
Shortcut
Re: [SevenFreckles] A sticky situation [In reply to] Can't Post

This past summer, I worried so much about the reliability of recommenders, I came up with a plan to make sure all my bases were covered. I dug up three former college professors, two former writing group buddies, and two former creative writing teachers. I also took two creative writing courses at the local college so that I could get two more potential recommenders in my pocket. Out of these nine people, I asked three to write recommendations for me -- they agreed. Just in case, I schmoozed with the others and let them know my MFA plans. If any of my main recommenders died or couldn't be relied upon, I already had backup people. It was a lot of effort to maintain the social connection but, better safe than sorry.


silkentent
Margaret DeAngelis

e-mail user

Dec 3, 2008, 5:25 PM

Post #197 of 333 (7222 views)
Shortcut
Re: [germericanqt] A sticky situation [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Last year, one of my recommenders didn't respond at all until January. <snip> This year I had one recommender who was a little behind schedule.

OK, what really intrigues me in the MFA application threads is all the references to "last year I did this" but "this year I did this." Is being an MFA applicant a lifestyle???


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


flobelle


Dec 3, 2008, 5:34 PM

Post #198 of 333 (7217 views)
Shortcut
Re: [silkentent] A sticky situation [In reply to] Can't Post

Apparently, for some.


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Dec 3, 2008, 5:41 PM

Post #199 of 333 (7215 views)
Shortcut
Re: [flobelle] A sticky situation [In reply to] Can't Post

I feel left out. I was only an applicant for about five weeks. (Rolling admissions, only one application.)


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


HopperFu


Dec 3, 2008, 6:02 PM

Post #200 of 333 (7207 views)
Shortcut
Re: [silkentent] A sticky situation [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
OK, what really intrigues me in the MFA application threads is all the references to "last year I did this" but "this year I did this." Is being an MFA applicant a lifestyle???


While it is easier to get into an MFA program than it is to get accepted for publication at most journals, it is still quite difficult, and it is not unusual for writers to need to apply more than once. I only applied to one program my first year, and I found myself applying to programs again the following year.

First page Previous page 1 ... 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 ... 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