Before I begin, let me note for the record that I have a very clear and extensive explanation of what I need in order to write the best possible recommendation for a student available online. What follows is not a complaint that is about me being a meanie who doesn't hold her students by the hand with the academic socialization stuff or provide information that students need.
You run into a faculty member sometime in October, announce that you're running off to the City to live with your One True Love and, Oh, yeah, will also be applying to grad schools. Your mentor says, well, you know, do people know that you'll be needing recommendations? Who are you asking? You want to be sure to give people enough time to write you a strong letter, and all of the information that they'll need to do so.....
Disappear into the ether for 2 and a half months.
Pop up during the last week of classes, from out of the blue, with a bizarre email in which you say, "Oh, I totally am almost finished with my SoP, and you're still writing on my behalf, right?" to which your professor responds, "um... ok, but you need to understand that this is a very busy time. Please give me all the stuff listed on my webpage, and tell me where you're applying and what the deadlines are...."
"Happy New Year! Are you writing letters that you don't have any relevant info about? Right at the start of your semester?"
"Here's my SoP and a couple of papers I wrote for you...."
"Oh, and here's a list of schools I'm applying to, but with no information about why I'm applying to them, what the deadlines are, or forms for you to fill out." I received this yesterday.
I know. I should have reneged on my agreement to write for this student at Step Three. I foolishly believed that this student would get it together when I explicitly told the student how to get it together. And now it's basically too late for me to bail on the student. But let's just say that this letter is not going to be the most glowing I've ever written. Mainly because it's very difficult to be glowing when you think a person is an irresponsible, disorganized ninny who can't even follow basic directions or show basic common courtesy.
3 years ago