What is the letter of recommendation?

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  • #1
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Hi guys.
My question is, what is the letter of recommendation ?
Is basically a letter wrote by a teacher for a student that want to go to the university?

How it works?

I noticed that if I want to apply for Uk universities I need one.

Thanks.
 

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  • #2
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Is basically a letter wrote by a teacher for a student that want to go to the university?
Yes. Teacher/supervisor/more senior co-worker/... (I'll use teacher now)
How it works?
It depends. In all cases you should ask the teacher first, and do it with sufficient lead time (>2 weeks before deadlines). If they know you well, they can write the letter based on that, otherwise it might help to give them some more information what you did in the past. Tell them where you apply, because a good letter is written based on that.

Sometimes you apply and the place you apply to asks the teachers to send them letters, sometimes you have to ask the teachers to send the letters on their own, sometimes they have to send them via some web form. In all cases it is your responsibility that everyone knows what is supposed to happen when.
 
  • #3
f95toli
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It might be worth checking with the university if they have any guidelines for the letter of recommendation. The system for this in the UK (or at least at my sons school) is somewhat formalized and there is some information that should be in the letters. At my sons school all letters are written by the same person (after consulting the relevant teachers, looking at school records etc) for this very reason (and yes this does mean that the vice head in question will have to write a LOT of letters).
 
  • #4
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supervisor/more senior co-worker
Which kind of workers are those one?
Are them in the high school?

It depends. In all cases you should ask the teacher first, and do it with sufficient lead time (>2 weeks before deadlines).
The problem is that I don't have teachers that speak english.
The letter should be done by a specific teacher?
For example, I if I will apply for Math, I need a letter wrote by the math teachers?
It is legal to translate by myself that letter or should be done completely by a teacher?

If they know you well, they can write the letter based on that, otherwise it might help to give them some more information what you did in the past.
Basically they have to write about how is my behavior at school ?

The system for this in the UK (or at least at my sons school) is somewhat formalized and there is some information that should be in the letters.
In general is this system only in the UK?

Thanks.
 
  • #5
Vanadium 50
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My question is, what is the letter of recommendation ?

And when you typed that into Google, what answer did you get? What did you not understand?
 
  • #6
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And when you typed that into Google, what answer did you get? What did you not understand?
Since is something that doesn't exist in my country I wanted more explication from someone that had to deal with it.
 
  • #7
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Since is something that doesn't exist in my country
I don't believe this. In several of your threads, you've made a blanket statement about something not existing in Italy that commonly occurs in many other countries. Because you are very young, as compared to many of us here at PF, I question whether you have enough life experience to make these claims.

In any case, whether or not the concept of "letter of recommendation" exists in Italy, why didn't you do some research on your own before coming here and asking us? I've been a college teacher for about 25 years. I've always been much more willing to help students who come to me, saying, "I don't understand XYZ concept. The textbook describes it like this, but I'm having trouble understanding this part of their explanation."

In other words, I've always been a lot more willing to help my students who have done at least a minimum amount of legwork beforehand.
 
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  • #8
Vanadium 50
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Since is something that doesn't exist in my country

Bull...ony. I have written several letters for Italians.
 
  • #9
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I don't believe this. In several of your threads, you've made a blanket statement about something not existing in Italy that commonly occurs in many other countries.
I don't know if the letter of recommendation exist in others countries outside UK, I just find on the UCAS portal and I need one to apply, I hope it's not necessary for US universities.
I basically don't understand why is this letter useful and necessary if I post on the application my marks from High school.
UCAS says that if I don't have one, I will probably have low change to be accepted, thats what I know about.

Bull...ony. I have written several letters for Italians.
For Italians that have to apply for italian universities?
For which one?
 
  • #10
StoneTemplePython
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I don't believe this. In several of your threads, you've made a blanket statement about something not existing in Italy that commonly occurs in many other countries. Because you are very young, as compared to many of us here at PF, I question whether you have enough life experience to make these claims.

In any case, whether or not the concept of "letter of recommendation" exists in Italy, why didn't you do some research on your own before coming here and asking us? I've been a college teacher for about 25 years. I've always been much more willing to help students who come to me, saying, "I don't understand XYZ concept. The textbook describes it like this, but I'm having trouble understanding this part of their explanation."

In other words, I've always been a lot more willing to help my students who have done at least a minimum amount of legwork beforehand.

It seems like we may need to make something like a special homework template for @Grands to show his work before he lobs in questions like this...
 
  • #12
symbolipoint
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Since is something that doesn't exist in my country I wanted more explication from someone that had to deal with it.
Let me ask a really dumb question: Are you sure? Are you sure that something like that does not exist in your country?
 
  • #13
symbolipoint
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I did not check the link yet, so some details there may be important depending on different situations.
Not every university requires letters of recommendations for students to apply and be admitted. Maybe letters needed to get into a graduate program, but often enough not necessary to get into undergraduate programs at local public colleges and universities. If a student is not academically ready right from high school, he has the option of a few semesters attending community college and then can usually transfer very successfully to a university. Many students do this (but obviously for undergraduate programs).
 
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  • #14
symbolipoint
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Grands, maybe this concept can be explained very plainly based on something you said in another topic earlier: That often in "your country", a person gets a job based on another person associated with the company, such as a friend of both the company and the person wanting the job. Now instead of "mutual friend" of both the company and the job-seeker, extend this to "supervisor or manager or administrator" who knows the talents, skills, and behavior of the person seeking the job. Now, further extend this such that the supervisor who knows about the job-seek candidate IS NOT acquainted with the company and IS NOT acquainted with any managers at the company, and nobody at the company knows the supervisor or manager of the job-seek candidate.

Somehow, the hiring company looking for someone to hire, is supposed to trust the supervisor of the job-seeking candidate and to accept a letter of recommendation from that supervisor for the benefit of the job-seeking candidate. Yes, this does seem strange, Why should the hiring company care about what the supervisor of the job seeker writes in a letter. The hiring company and the supervisor of the job seeker do not know each other. This seems like a cheap political stunt - BUT this practice of using letters of recommendation occurs in employment and in educational graduate programs.
 
  • #15
CrysPhys
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I basically don't understand why is this letter useful and necessary if I post on the application my marks from High school.
UCAS says that if I don't have one, I will probably have low change to be accepted, thats what I know about.
Remember, unlike the situation you previously described in Italy, a student typically needs to apply for admission to a university (at least in the US). And often, more students apply than there are openings. For some schools, a lot more students apply than there are openings. For example, for the 2017 freshman entering class at MIT, the number of students that applied was 20,247; the number accepted was only 1,452 [http://mitadmissions.org/apply/process/stats]. So, many applicants will have high grade-point averages from high-school, and many applicants will have high scores in entrance exams. Other factors are then needed to determine who should be admitted. Letters of recommendation provide some additional input for evaluating applicants.
 
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  • #16
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Remember, unlike the situation you previously described in Italy, a student typically needs to apply for admission to a university (at least in the US). And often, more students apply than there are openings. For some schools, a lot more students apply than there are openings. For example, for the 2017 freshman entering class at MIT, the number of students that applied was 20,247; the number accepted was only 1,452 [http://mitadmissions.org/apply/process/stats]. So, many applicants will have high grade-point averages from high-school, and many applicants will have high scores in entrance exams. Other factors are then needed to determine who should be admitted. Letters of recommendation provide some additional input for evaluating applicants.
Ok, this is helpful, and a student that is refused can send another application to another university ?
 
  • #17
russ_watters
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I don't believe this.
And irrelevant, unless there is an Italy-only Google I'm not aware of...

In either case, the recommendation requirements are generally specified by the entity asking for the recommendations and can vary widely.
 
  • #18
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Grands, maybe this concept can be explained very plainly based on something you said in another topic earlier: That often in "your country", a person gets a job based on another person associated with the company, such as a friend of both the company and the person wanting the job. Now instead of "mutual friend" of both the company and the job-seeker, extend this to "supervisor or manager or administrator" who knows the talents, skills, and behavior of the person seeking the job. Now, further extend this such that the supervisor who knows about the job-seek candidate IS NOT acquainted with the company and IS NOT acquainted with any managers at the company, and nobody at the company knows the supervisor or manager of the job-seek candidate.
Do you want to say that in the USA, in order to avoid the fact that people find a job just because is a friend of someone that already work in that company, the recommendation letter exist?
 
  • #20
russ_watters
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We have www.google.it
Let me rephrase: irrelevant unless Italy has a firewall that blocks you from being able to search for sites outside of Italy.

The point stands either way: you really need to become more resourceful at finding answers on your own, at least as a starting point for a discussion.
 
  • #21
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Let me rephrase: irrelevant unless Italy has a firewall that blocks you from being able to search for sites outside of Italy.

The point stands either way: you really need to become more resourceful at finding answers on your own, at least as a starting point for a discussion.
Ok, I will try, I asked just because it's something I never heard about, and also my teachers aren't aware of the letter of recommendation, which is probably a trivial topic for most of the students.

When we finish High School we are free to do what we want, there are no rules, you just go to study where you want ( if you have the money to do it).
This means that it doesn't matter how good you are at high school, no one will pay attention on it, I know people with the maximum grades that didn't go to the university.
 
  • #22
CrysPhys
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Ok, this is helpful, and a student that is refused can send another application to another university ?
In the US, a senior in high school typically applies to a number of universities at the same time. I don't have any statistics, but I think about 6 is common, but some will apply to 10 or so [by the way, most schools charge an application fee, so that tends to limit the number of applications any student sends out]. One strategy students use is to apply to universities in 3 bins: "reach" schools, such as MIT or Harvard, that are hard to get into, "possible" schools that they are likely to get into, and "safety" schools that they are almost guaranteed to get into (often a large state university near their home). In the US, most universities' application and admission schedules are about the same. So the student then waits, see which schools have accepted him, and then decides which one.

It's not a good practice to apply to only one school. If you don't get accepted, you typically need to wait another year before applying to another school. There may be some schools that take late applications (not sure), but most major schools run admissions only once per year with set deadlines. Again, this is US practice.
 
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  • #23
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The point stands either way: you really need to become more resourceful at finding answers on your own, at least as a starting point for a discussion.

Ok, I will try
Yoda said:
No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.
Or at least, try harder. You're wasting a lot of people's time on questions that you should have done some research on before you posted them here.
 
  • #24
CrysPhys
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Or at least, try harder. You're wasting a lot of people's time on questions that you should have done some research on before you posted them here.
??? If I consider a particular post to be a waste of my time, I simply ignore it, rather than responding. We all have that choice.
 
  • #25
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??? If I consider a particular post to be a waste of my time, I simply ignore it, rather than responding. We all have that choice.
Certainly that's always a choice. But on the other hand, if a poster does some legwork first, the odds are that more people will be inclined to chime in. A thread titled "What is a letter of recommendation?" doesn't show even the minimal amount of research, as has been pointed out in this thread.
 

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