Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Oh, good grief

I've been asked by two students to fill out a form recommendation for an on-campus job. They're not directly in competition since dozens of positions are available.

Problem 1: if the student signs the form, he waives his right to read my recommendation later. If he doesn't sign it, he can read it later.

Student 1, about whom I have the least to say, doesn't want to sign the form, strongly suggesting that he intends to read it later.

I HATE form recommendations. When I write my own recommendation letters, I have control over the amount of information I give and the level of enthusiasm I show. With this form, I am required to rate the student (I'm paraphrasing) "top notch," "good enough," "eh," or "you've got to be kidding" in seven categories. Then I have to justify my answers.

Problem 2: I have to rate Student 1 in categories for which I have utterly no opinion, which is not an option. And apparently he's going to ask to read this later. By contrast, I've spent a lot of time with Student 2. I have a lot to say about him. And he doesn't care to read the recommendation later.

The moral of the story for students: get to know those who teach you and let them get to know you.

The moral of the story for Bitty: next time think it through before you agree to give a recommendation.

1 comment:

Melas said...

Is it possible to just go to the person/people doing the hiring with a verbal recommendation?