Letters of recommendation and a bonus end-of-year tipPosted: December 7, 2011
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.