Pam, that is.
Mar 4, 2013, 11:54 AM
Post #328 of 336
If my issue isn't unique, it's probably unusual.
reference letter conflict of interest?
[In reply to]
I have taken a lot of workshops with Dr. A. Dr. A is the head of the creative writing MFA program at a big university.
Dr. A really gets my poetry--more so than anyone else I've ever worked with. He's been very kind and supportive. We're not exactly friends--he's very busy, and my only way to contact him is via e-mail.
I applied to his program and used him to write me a recommendation. I was accepted a few days ago.
Here's the issue: Between the time I started applying to Big U. and my acceptance, I became very interested in a particular low-residency program. I'm pretty sure that I'd rather go to this low-res program (or another low-res program) than the program at Big U., mainly because of the low-res vs. traditional format. (The chance to work further with Dr. A was the only reason I applied to Big U. in the first place.)
I have not yet told Big U. my decision; if I don't get into Low-Res U., I'll go ahead and attend Big U.
If you were me, would you ask Dr. A for a recommendation to the low-res school?
His recommendation would carry a lot of weight; on the other hand, I feel very awkward about this whole situation and don't want to complicate it further or leave him ill-disposed toward me. I feel awkward because (a) I'm asking for yet another recommendation letter (I'm beginning to think that the worst part of being a poet is having to get people to recommend you for schools, classes, retreats, etc.) and (b) I'm in effect telling him that his own school is not my first choice.
I have gotten the requisite two people to recommend me for Low-Res U., but I fear that one of them might not come through; I'd love to have Dr. A as a backup.
Dr. A has written recommendations for two of my friends to attend a different low-res program, and they got in. It's not like he's irrationally loyal to his own program; he understands the strengths of low-res programs for some people. I just wish I'd started by asking him for a recommendation to Low-Res U. in the first place, but it entered my radar rather late in the process.
In other news, I quit my full-time job about 2 hours ago in preparation for this whole odyssey. I've had a few false starts with grad school; this time, I'm determined to go for it.
"What I wanted to hear didn't exist, so it was necessary for me to go out and create it." --Richard Thompson