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« Hugo Black Courthouse | Main | Teaching Evaluations and Student Voices »

June 27, 2011

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Orin Kerr

What makes a letter "worthwhile"? Do you mean worthwhile to the student, in that it will get her a job, or do you mean worthwhile to the employer, in that it accurately informs the employer about the pros and cons of the student?

David S. Cohen

Both. The goal is to get the student the job, but to also accurately inform the employer. If I thought that doing the latter would not get the student the job, I would (and have) told the student that I won't write the letter.

Archana

Fascinating - from my perspective in graduate admissions, it's very helpful to see well-crafted letters about the applicants.

Stew Young

The best one I saw written, for a student that did not have a particularly good work ethic, was: "If you get this person to work for you, you will be lucky indeed." That doesn't seem like damning a student with faint praise...

Chris Fabricant

Clinical professors are probably confronted with this issue more often than doctrinal professors. We are frequently asked for recommendations because we know students' work in a "real world" context quite well, and that may or may not be beneficial to our ability to write glowing letters. (Insert solution to quandary here.)

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