For graduate schools admission, universities generally require students to submit 2 to 3 letter of recommendation.
Recommendation letter should be given by professors, lecturers, managers who had a chance to work with you, observer your skills and provide recommendation based on their observation. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen always.
HSB reader asked the following question via email.
I want to know how the universities check the authenticity of recommendation letter.If someone write recommendation letter by himself with giving his own phone no. and e-mail address,how Admission office will catch that?
Letter of Recommendation – Authenticity
First we have to figure out percentage of students who write their own recommendation letter vs those who follow the rules and get it written and signed from lecturers/managers/professors.
- 10 Step Guide to Write Effective Recommendation Letter
- Sample Recommendation Letters (for those who write the letter)
Last year we did a survey among HSB fans to find out whats going on. Guess what?
About 52% of prospective students write the letter and get it signed from recommender.
We don’t know what percentage of 52% got admission, but from real life experience, universities assume the authenticity of the recommendation letter. Probably very few (less than 1%) might check the authenticity.
How to Fix the System
Students can very well create an email id, get a letter printed in letter head resembling university’s letter head sign and seal it. Most of the colleges don’t give official email id to their lecturers (even if they give one, do professors and lecturers use it?).
You will run into situations where lecturers will give their personal email id (gmail, hotmail, ..). I wonder how many universities take time to email them to check verify the authenticity.
It is very easy to fix the problem.
- Don’t accept hardcopy of recommendation letters (any one can sign and seal it)
- Accept only online recommendation letter
- Students should provide OFFICIAL email id of the managers/professors
- Example – [email protected]
So, it above steps will can lower number of students trying to write their own letter. But, there are flaws in above method too.
What if recommender asks student for a copy of letter and they can just paste the reply to the email? It’s tough (or impossible) to do such stuffs with professors in US Schools. Its not ethical and doesn’t solve the true purpose of requesting recommendation letter.
When recommenders don’t have the required skills or willing to learn how to write a letter, students don’t have a choice but to write recommendation letter for themselves.
Over to You?
What do you think about those who write their own letter? Can you think of any other way to solve this problem?