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Is it ok to ask for a change in grad school recommendation?


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Old 10th November 2009, 7:52 PM   #1
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Is it ok to ask for a change in grad school recommendation?

So I am currently applying to a few doctoral schools for my PsyD. I recently asked my clinical supervisor for a letter of recommendation and he said he was very glad to do it and would make it "stellar" so that i would be sure to get accepted.

So today he came to me with the recommendations filled out. He asked me to take a look at them and if i needed something changed to tell him. He said he would put anything i needed so to go ahead and review them.

AS i was looking at them i realized the recommendations were rather mediocre, especillialy when it came to the percentage ratings (as in what percentage he puts me in) He put me in a couple of top 2%, a few in the top 10%, and a few in top 25%.

Now....I was shocked to see the 25% rating, as he is always telling me how great i am and how i am the best intern he has right now. I would have been ok if it had been 2 or so, but he gave me 5 ratings of 25%.

When i was looking at the recommendation i know he saw i was dissapointed because he emphatically told me to take them home, look them over and ask him to make any changes. I am thinking on asking him about the 25% rating and if there is any possibility that these ratings can be moved up to 10%.....Ive asked a few people, including my parents and they say that since he offered, and any little help can make a difference in whether im accepted or not, I should ask him to make this changes in a polite way.....yet, i feel that is pushy and i dont know...weird..

What do you guys think? SHould i take him up on his offer and ask him to change the ratings or just let it go?
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Old 10th November 2009, 10:07 PM   #2
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I would suggest asking him/her how he/she came up with that statistic and if its a true and accurate statement, then regard the recommendation.

I learned long ago , never piss in the drinking water. Sorry to be blunt but when I read your story I was plum pleased for you that your clinical supervisor was taking the time and effort to create the document, then to have you come back with its not good enough...based solely on supportive comments of "doing a great job!, etc". From a purely outside point of view I think the supervisor did a decent gesture and its NOT going to be the straw that breaks your entry .....They do access other things beside the recommendation letter when considering your entrance.
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Old 11th November 2009, 3:20 AM   #3
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Sorry to be blunt, but you probably overestimate yourself. He gave you what he thinks that you deserve. As for general "you are doing great" etc, that's standard support - not something you should read that much into.

He sounds like a nice guy and he said that he will change his recommendations to be polite. If you ask him to, he MIGHT end up doing it, but it will leave a bad taste in his mouth. Now you can argue that you don't care what he thinks and want to push for it. If that's the case - go for it. I am just giving you his prospective.
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Old 11th November 2009, 1:42 PM   #4
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Also keep in mind that his recommendation reflects on himself as well. If he puts you in the top 10% and you really are only 25%, that reflects badly on him.
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Old 12th November 2009, 3:17 AM   #5
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So i decided to instead of asking him to change it, Im going to ask him how to improve in the areas that he marked me as 25%.

At best he would rethink that and mark me up, at worst he would help me figure out what I can do better to get to the 10%
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Old 12th November 2009, 4:34 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4givrnt4gtr View Post
So i decided to instead of asking him to change it, Im going to ask him how to improve in the areas that he marked me as 25%.

At best he would rethink that and mark me up, at worst he would help me figure out what I can do better to get to the 10%
That sounds like a great idea.
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Old 12th November 2009, 9:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4givrnt4gtr View Post
So i decided to instead of asking him to change it, Im going to ask him how to improve in the areas that he marked me as 25%.

At best he would rethink that and mark me up, at worst he would help me figure out what I can do better to get to the 10%
I went through this several years ago myself when I applied to graduate school. I typed up myself and had my profs sign it. Most did, some did not. In some cases, I had to change the numbers.

I like your idea above. Also, highlight the areas where you think you are in the top 10%, 2%. It cannot be in all the areas, you know that.

Also, you need more than just anecdotal evidence. You have anything to back your claim that you are in the top 2%, 10% ? If so, present them as your evidence. Focus on your strengths. Think about what you did in your Masters that stood out. Put that in your reco.

Arm yourself and negotiate. You want a win win situation for both yourself and your prof.

Last edited by 65tr6; 12th November 2009 at 9:44 AM..
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Old 21st November 2009, 10:48 PM   #8
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Well I asked him about what could i improve to raise the ratings he gave me and he said that he actually thought i was much higher than that but wanted to make it believeable. I explained to him that since it was a recommendation Admissions assume I asked recommendations from people who would rank me as high as possible. He agreed with that and he changed all the rankings. He actually ranked me much higher than I expected. Im so glad I asked
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Old 21st November 2009, 10:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4givrnt4gtr View Post
Well I asked him about what could i improve to raise the ratings he gave me and he said that he actually thought i was much higher than that but wanted to make it believeable. I explained to him that since it was a recommendation Admissions assume I asked recommendations from people who would rank me as high as possible. He agreed with that and he changed all the rankings. He actually ranked me much higher than I expected. Im so glad I asked
did he give an idea as well as to how to improve your performance in any areas of weakness? we all have our strengths and weaknesses... if no one ever points them out - we never recognize how we can improve in the areas that need attention.
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