Letters of recommendation and a bonus end-of-year tip

It’s the end of the year and many profs are writing letters of recommendation.  Here are a few links.  First, know that there are differing codes (also some discussion at orgtheory on this).  And, biases (e.g., linked to the attractiveness of the student) may play a role in receiving a positive recommendation (but don’t worry, being attractive isn’t always a good thing – sometimes it’s a disadvantage).  In short, the signal from letters of recommendation is hard to read. Here’s a piece on the Big 5 personality characteristics and letters of recommendation.  Here’s a paper that says letters of recommendation are helpful for medical school admission.  This paper says no.  And, no, I haven’t read all of the above papers (they were published in journals of varying quality) – I just quickly searched google scholar for various papers related to letters of recommendation.

And an off-topic, end-of-year bonus tip: if you’re already behind on grading student papers – the ol’ staircase method can quickly fix things.


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