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[推荐信] [转自老外的博客]教授让我给自己写推荐信,我该写点啥?

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pcdefg 发表于 2015-11-9 15:53:10 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式


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目前自己还在慢慢悠悠地准备材料...眼瞅各个Deadline马上就要到了,自己的Letter of Recommendation还没憋出来一封。好愁人...


原文地址:http://www.howtogetintograduates ... p-and-proofreading/
原文如下:. 留学申请论坛-一亩三分地

Congratulations! You’ve hit the recommendation jackpot– well, sort of.
It’s important that we say this right away: professors are not supposed to do this. It’s a big no no. That said, they still do it all the time. They’re busy and likely don’t remember as much about you as they should, so they ask you to write them a draft.
You spend a couple hours freaking out trying to figure out how you’re going to write a letter of recommendation (which you’ve never done before) without embarrassing yourself (by raving narcissistically) while also making sure it has ‘Wow Factor’ for the admissions committee. Tricky business.
Before explaining the nuts and bolts of how to go about structuring said letter, it might be useful to let you in on a few things that should encourage you to put some serious work into this. Unfortunately many would-be grad students view the LoR portion of the application as more of a checklist item. They often obsess about perceived weak areas (such as GRE or GPA) and spend little time thinking about what their L0R portfolio will look like. You’re in a great spot because you won’t make this mistake–you have to put work into it. Yes writing it yourself will take up some time, but not any more than you should be spending cultivating a good letter with a professor anyway. Don’t let the fact that you’re on your own for the first draft get you down, it really isn’t extra work and may actually speed up the process in the long run. You also have the benefit of getting to cultivate the tone of your total application in a real way. What do we mean by this?
Take this pie chart for example (Note: The importance of each area will vary by school and program, and a horrendous score on the GRE or an awful LoR will impact your application far more than this lets on, but it’s a good rough guide for the importance of each area).
The goal of an application should be that each piece of the pie adds something new. You don’t want redundancy (e.g. if your statement of purpose spends a paragraph going over a research project you did your senior year, you don’t want to spend a page outlining the same facts on your CV). Each element should be unique and should add different (and interesting) information to your total application packet. Visualize someone reading through your application–every time they turn the page they should learn something new about you.
Being able to structure one of your LoR is a major advantage for two reasons (1) you can ensure you don’t have redundancy in this aspect of your application and (2) you have control of about 30% of what your application is going to look like today. Number two is a big deal because it means that regardless of what your GPA is, or how you did on the GRE, you still have the ability to make sure that about 30% of your submitted materials are a home run. YOU have control. Conversely, if you did amazing on the GRE and have a 4.0, you can still tank on close to a third of your application. You worked really hard to get this far, don’t get lackadaisical at the bottom of the 9th!
Now let’s get into how to make sure your LoR is a home run.
Guide to Writing your Own Letter of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation (LoR) can make or break an application, largely because it’s very hard to write a unique one. Most sound painfully repetitive. Ensuring yours are unique and informative is how you’ll get into your dream program.
(1) Grab a sheet of paper and make a list of all your notable achievements associated with that professor in some way. So if it’s someone you took a class with, list all the areas and topics you excelled at in that course. If you conducted research in their lab, list all the equipment you used and skills you learned while working in that lab. Tip: If you didn’t have that much interaction with said professor, add things that are objective, such as graduating early, winning awards, or conducting internships while there. If your program gave you a scholarship while you were in their department, they can speak to that! Just make sure that there is some loose connection to the professor who is “writing” the recommendation.
  • You did an internship somewhere while taking that professors class and still aced it, it’s fair game for them to briefly discuss your internship even if they weren’t your direct adviser.
  • You wrote an app that has gotten half a million downloads while you were working with that professor
  • Awards obtained from their department or university.. From 1point 3acres bbs

The important thing in this stage is to come up with specifics. This is never easy. It doesn’t matter how much you did or how well you know this professor–it’s not easy for anyone. You need to let yourself think about this list for awhile, perhaps a week or more. It’s likely things will keep coming to you as you try to remember what you did with your time. There are two absolute rules to follow in this process:
  • DO NOT leave out stuff just because it didn’t take up much of your time or doesn’t seem important. This is a very common resume mistake that bleeds into a lot of other areas. Let’s say you spent 9 months perfecting an algorithm for simulating the solution to a triple integral, but it never worked properly. That same year you spent a couple hours taking some blood samples and cleaning data for a clinical trial one weekend, and that research ended up being published. Your natural tendency will be to focus very heavily on the project you put your heart and soul into, and much less emphasis on the thing that only took you a day or two. Why is this the wrong approach? Because it neglects the importance of outcomes. That long project absolutely should be included in your application (on your CV), but resist the temptation to have it dwarf other achievements you’ve downplayed in your head simply because they felt easy. Admissions committees will be looking for solid proof that youdid something. If you contributed to research that was published (even if your name isn’t on it formally), that should be highlighted with the same (if not more) emphasis as a long project with no tangible proof it existed. Resist the temptation to associate hours clocked with importance.
  • SPECIFICS, SPECIFICS, SPECIFICS. You’re going to be tempted, particularly if you’re having a hard time coming up with things to add, to write generic statements. Phrases such as: one of the best students, hard working, really smart, naturally gifted, and very passionate are going to want to put themselves on that piece of paper. DON’T. The only things that are allowed on this list arespecifics. If you’re not sure about something (say, where you ranked in the class), go ahead and guess for now. Your professor will be able to edit it later if they need to.
(2) Once you have your list, decide which items you want the letter to focus on keeping in mind both what you want your statement of purpose to say and what items that professor was the most involved in. If you know you’re going to emphasize your teaching experience in your SOP, plan on using the LoR to focus on research aspects instead. If most of your substantial research was conducted with a different faculty member, instead use this letter to discuss how well you performed in classes. The trick will be to create a balanced application packet where each piece proves you have a necessary trait of a successful grad student.
(3) Here is where you’ll go old school. Well, high school to be exact. It’s time to make an outline. Yes, an outline. Literally make an outline. Decide what order you want to discuss which items, and start adding details. Try to add as much detail as you possibly can, even if the details seem innocuous. The more specific and thorough your examples are, the better the letter of recommendation will be.
(4) Once you have an outline detailing exact accomplishments and specific skills you’re ready to put this into letter form. It should be noted that this is where your situation (writing the letter yourself) diverges from a standard LoR. We always advise students to make up an outline identical to this one to attach in an email (with a current copy of their CV) when they ask for the recommendation in the first place. The only extra work you’re actually doing is to put this outline into compelling prose.
To polish off our above example, we could write something like this:
“While acing my course, Jennifer also took the time to independently organize a study session for the rest of the class (~35 students). These study sessions, which I had the pleasure of attending several times, were incredibly well organized. She made custom review sheets to hand out in each session and regularly worked with graduate level TA’s to learn about additional resources and improve her teaching skills. She created this extra resource herself, and took on the responsibility voluntarily, averaging an additional 15 hours of work a week. This extra work did not impact her performance in any other area. After the course was completed, I found that the distribution of grades shifted upward so dramatically that we are now implementing a formal recitation for the course. We still utilize her original review sheets for the class.”
This is an example of what the letter should sound like. It should list example after example of how you implemented change, outperformed your peers, and balanced a large workload. You should resist the urge to use sentences like:
“Jennifer is very passionate about teaching and contributed many hours to helping her classmates.”
Certain words are so overused that even seeing them can initiate a gag reflex from the admissions committee (Most Common Statement of Purpose Mistakes), so only use them if absolutely necessary. If you find yourself really wanting to use a particular cliché, go back to your outline and see how else you could add details to convey the word you’re dying to use (e.g. motivated), withoutactually using it. You will convince the program to accept you by articulating examples of your self starting nature, not by having a professor blandly tell them you’re motivated. This is also how you’ll make your application stand out. Trust us, after 700 applications rambling about how passionate and motivated all the applicants are, the admissions committee will be excited to see someone prove it to them instead.
(5) Once your draft is done, be sure and give it a good proofread. Technically it should be a draft, but you can’t guarantee the professor won’t just skim it and send it off that way–so it’s best make sure there are no typos or glaring errors before sending it to them. This is also a good time to go back to all the statistics you’re not sure about (highest grade in the class, tutored x number of students, etc) and highlight them in Microsoft Word. In your email mention that you’re not sure where exactly you stood, and that they may want to edit those portions. This is a great way to keep their trust (you’re not trying to get them to lie for you) and ensure that they proofread the letter before sending it off. It’s also is a nice way to buffer any guilty feelings of narcissism you may be having. If you think you did really well on something, but hate having to say it yourself–simply highlight that sentence. You can make note of it in the email:
“I spoke extensively about my contributions to the study sessions, if you feel that I discuss that element too much, you may want to edit some portions.”
This acts as a kind of safety net for both you and the professor. You avoid an awkward conversation later on by addressing all the uncomfortable elements straight away. You also acknowledge that you spoke really highly of yourself in that area, which should make you feel less awkward about it.

(6) The last thing to put in your email (with the draft letter) is a request to see the final version before they submit. This is easily the most controversial advice we’ll give, because many professors believe it is their right to submit whatever they wish without you seeing it. The truth is that it isn’t (in fact there have been lawsuits on this issue, which is why you get that “Waive My Right” prompt when declaring recommenders).
This is your future and your application. If they don’t want you to see what they’re going to submitfor you, ask yourself why that is. It’s likely that they plan on adding a few things you may not be so fond of, such as pointing out that you missed a lot of classes or that you struggled in a particular area. They’re people too, and even if you did great in the class they could still submit something wishy-washy if they don’t like you. More often than not this will get your application thrown out. It’s a good idea to formally waive your right to see the letter on the application (to give the university and professor legal coverage), but you should see a final copy from them personally prior to that anyway.
If they can’t write you a letter of recommendation (recommending you to another professor), they shouldn’t tell you that they can, it’s that simple.
Why would a professor lie in this way? Because they’re human, and humans hate feeling uncomfortable. They may also feel guilty because they worked with you for so long but still don’t think you can handle grad school. They may just be painfully arrogant and from a different generation, so they think that you have no rights in this whole process. Perhaps they just don’t like you, even if you did well. It doesn’t really matter why they would lie to you, the point is that if they aren’t willing to cultivate a letter together–they’re not telling you something, and gambling on grad school applications is dangerous. Every year thousands of scathing letters of recommendation get sent to admissions committees. Not one of those professors told the student they were going to submit something awful.
Keep this in mind: you spent 4 years of your life (and tens of thousands of dollars) working on your GPA, months (and hundreds of dollars) studying for the GRE, and you’ll likely spend upwards of a thousand dollars applying to graduate school. Do you want to throw all that time and money away because you weren’t assertive enough in the final stretch? It may be uncomfortable (particularly for female students who have a tendency to follow social etiquette more often), but it’s worth it.
So what do you do if your professor responds and says they aren’t willing to show you the final draft?  You have to decide whether or not you still want to use that person. Just remember what’s at stake when deciding. Here’s an example of an email declining their letter if that’s the decision you make. It’s a difficult position, so use your words carefully.
“Dear Professor Hardigree,
Thank you for taking the time to proofread the draft for my recommendation, I realize you’re busy and appreciate your time. Because you’re not comfortable showing me the final draft, I am concerned that you may feel I underperformed in some areas. I’d really like to use this opportunity to improve on any areas you feel I’m lacking, so if you’d feel comfortable sharing those elements, it would be very beneficial to my academic development.  Because I am still very serious about going to graduate school next year, it may be better for me to obtain a letter from someone who doesn’t have any reservations and knows me a little better. Again, thank you for putting as much time into this as you have, I appreciate your mentorship and hope you’ll let me know how I can improve as a student.”
Need advice for your other two letters of recommendation? Or are you moving on to yourStatement of Purpose? We’ve got hundreds of resources, from common mistakes to how to get an NSF fellowship. Feel free to browse around!
“Professor asked me to write my own letter of recommendation”

. 留学申请论坛-一亩三分地补充内容 (2015-11-9 18:59):
原文链接是这个:http://www.howtogetintograduates ... -of-recommendation/. 1point3acres




appliang 发表于 2015-11-9 17:05:35 | 显示全部楼层
谢谢分享~.不过这网站不便宜呢 帮改 ps 收费$225还是折后价...
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 楼主| pcdefg 发表于 2015-11-9 19:00:01 | 显示全部楼层
appliang 发表于 2015-11-9 17:05
谢谢分享~.不过这网站不便宜呢 帮改 ps 收费$225还是折后价...


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zoezhang 发表于 2015-11-9 19:30:22 | 显示全部楼层
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IllegalUserName 发表于 2015-11-9 21:15:47 | 显示全部楼层
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appliang 发表于 2015-11-10 11:45:15 | 显示全部楼层
这个 blog 里面其他文章也蛮有用的 但是发现好多都不太完整...
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 楼主| pcdefg 发表于 2015-11-11 20:53:21 | 显示全部楼层
IllegalUserName 发表于 2015-11-9 21:15
. 留学申请论坛-一亩三分地

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■隐藏内容方法: [hide=200]你想要隐藏的内容比如面经[/hide]


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