(Closed) Weird letter of recommendation request. Any LOR writers or recipients, weigh in?

posted 3 years ago in The Lounge
  • poll: Would you send him the letter?
    No, his story doesn't sound right. Write back and say you can't do it. : (4 votes)
    29 %
    No, don't do/say anything else unless he gives more info to legitimize it. : (3 votes)
    21 %
    Yes, if the letter was supportive to begin with, there shouldn't be an issue. : (2 votes)
    14 %
    Yes, but insist on giving it to him in a sealed/signed envelope : (2 votes)
    14 %
    Other : (3 votes)
    21 %
  • Post # 3
    Member
    1044 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: December 2013

    I’m not sure how much this helps, but whenever I have needed a LOR, the person who wrote it has always let me read a copy, even the ones which are filled out online. Most of them needed to go through me, in a sealed envelope with a signature across the back. I think his request is slightly fishy, but at the same time, it is easily explainable. I think I would wait for further information.

    To be honest, however, if you have these sort of thoughts about the student, I would recommend saying that you are uncomfortable writing him a letter of recommendation. I can’t imagine the letter would be beneficial to him if the person writing it thinks he is untrustworthy. 

    Post # 4
    Member
    42538 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    @Taeyers:  I can’t think of a case where a potential employer would ask that a reference come from the applicant’s hands directly. Even if he has no ill intent, the situation in general would give the applicant the opportunity to amend the reference or, use the reference to apply for other positions.

    I would decline but reassure him that I am happy to provide a positive reference directly to the employer.

    Post # 5
    Member
    830 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: January 2013

    I would probably assume the student was a bit paranoid, but provide a LOR in a pdf’d form. I realize this could still be altered by him, but if I had any question in my mind that he was capable of that sort of behaviour, I probably wouldn’t be writing a LOR for him anyway.

    Post # 7
    Member
    3250 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: May 2011

    I’m also a Biology instructor and it sounds a bit fishy to me too. The student may (or may not) have ulterior motives, but I don’t know of any program that requires the student to print and submit everything.

    You can tell the student that it is your policy not to send ANY electronic recommendations directly to students (I’d use the excuse about not being allowed to release electronic version of the school letterhead to students). If they would like a hard copy of the letter you’d be happy to provide it (in the sealed envelope).

    If the student isn’t able to provide you with the information you requested, you do not have to give them the recommendation.

     

    Post # 8
    Member
    1044 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: December 2013

    @Taeyers:  It sounds like the letter you wrote was really fair, so I don’t think there is anything wrong with sending it, provided his explanation checks out. I’m wondering if he was confused himself about what was needed and appropriate regarding an LOR.

    Post # 10
    Member
    2197 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: March 2013

    @StarryNight2011:  +1

    I think the student might want the electronic copy to make future copies to other places/jobs. It sounds like he wants it for personal use. I’d decline as StarryNight has suggested saying you cannot/will not give an electronic copy directly to a student. 

    Post # 13
    Member
    3222 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: April 2015

    @Taeyers:  I’ve solicited a lot of LORs, but they were either mailed by my professor, or given to me in a sealed envelope (with signature over the flap). In the instance that I had a close relationship with the prof, they did email me a copy to read, but the official LOR was always on letterhead, in a sealed envelope. 

    Now that I’m applying to jobs (I’m in law school), I have three LORs that form part of my application package. I have a scanned copy of each letter in the pdf I send to firms, and they’re general enough that they’re sent to every job I apply for. When I solicited the letters, I let my professors know they were for jobs, but this is de rigueur in law.

    Post # 14
    Member
    6884 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: March 2014 - A castle!

    @Taeyers:  I would send him the same letter you already wrote. 3 people in my office are graduating with their PhDs right now and I was surprised to learn last week that many teaching positions require the applicant to submit the LORs themselves. My labmate had to get LORs from her advisor and 2 others and we were all crowded around her desk reading what they had to say about her. I told her how I thought it was weird, she agreed – but said that that’s just how some job applications are.

    Post # 16
    Member
    6884 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: March 2014 - A castle!

    @Taeyers:  Yeah, the best thing to do is just ask him for the name of where he’s applying or a link to the site so you can verify. It doesn’t sound all that far fetched to me.

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