In your case for work, school, gym, etc or some other type of network, would you write badly of someone expecting you to put in a good word to someone else?
Recently browsing on metafilter and came across this.
It brought a really good argument, it was about a professor who agreed to write a letter of recommendation for a prospective grad student and ended up writing really terrible stuff.
What do you think of the situation?
How do you handle a poor recommendation from a professor you still have to take classes from? - recommendation Education negative | Ask MetaFilter
How do you handle a poor recommendation from a professor you still have to take classes from?
Asking for My SO: My SO is applying for graduate programs and sought the recommendation of a professor that she had taken three classes from. For the first class she received a C, the second a B and the third a B+. While these were not the most stellar grades, however; the course was challenging and she worked hard to earn the grades she did. She often sought out the professor during office hours, took on additional academic work to improve and generally put in extra hours to achieve the higher grade in the second and third class.
She thought the professor would make a good recommendation because she had not only shown improvement in a subject that was challenging for her; she worked closely with the professor during office hours and the instructor understood her struggle.
Last month she was applying for a graduate programs and asked for the recommendation, it was to be sealed and delivered from my SO to the programs she was applying to. Fast forward to now. Through a non related twist of events my SO is now holding off on applying for grad schools for a year. The dated recommendations that she had received were no longer going to work and she will have to seek out new ones when she does apply.
Tempting fate she decided to open the recommendation (all the other recommendations had been left unsealed for her to read before submission.).
Turns out the recommendation was awful, not just poorly written and addressed to the wrong schools, but actually recommending that they do not accept her. The letter was full of thinly veiled insults and went as far as to list the lowest scores for all assignments completed during her course. It was more then what I would say in polite company.
Apart from being generally upset about receiving a dress down from a tenured faculty member, the letter would have sunk her applications; applications that would have cost thousands of dollars and countless hours. Not to mention being unable to attend the universities. I also have concern that she might be doing the same thing to other students. My SO narrowly missed the stream of rejection letters that would have come from this; I can’t help but wonder if someone else didn’t.
While I respect the professor’s opinion (I think she was wrong) I see no need for her to do this. She could have just turned the request down. I can think of a myriad of options that would have been much nicer, and would have saved my SO huge amounts of time and money. Even if her recommendation is that my SO does not attend grad school the professor could have said “I do not think you are ready for grad school” rather than letting her believe she was getting a positive recommendation.
Here is the real dilemma; she still has one class left that must be taken with her professor. She is now (rightly) dreading class and has a distinct feeling like the professor is “out to get her” I am inclined to believe her.
So the TL;DR: What to do when a professor (at a California school) writes a sealed extremely negative recommendation and you have to take a class with them. Was the professors letter within reason, or was she acting out of line, and how would you handle it?
posted by anonymous to education (39 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite