Write recommendation letters for students you barely know?
Write recommendation letters for students you barely know?




In our newest “how can we help you?” thread, a reader asks:

Should you write letters of recommendations for undergraduate students who took you for a 300-student lecture, whose work you didn’t personally grade and with whom you had no interaction?

I’d have thought the answer is obviously no, but then I wonder whether this disadvantages students, who need the letters and who can’t always find a way to get to know professors… Is refusing at least a decent thing to do, or is it unfair to vulnerable, shy or otherwise struggling students?

Good questions. I’m not sure that I’ve encountered this kind of situation before, so I’m not sure exactly what I think. I suppose you could always ask such a student to provide you with some of their work to review, and then go from there. But again, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered this situation. To the best of my recollection, I’ve only been asked to write letters for students who have taken multiple courses with me, and all of our courses are 25 students or less and we have no TA’s, so I always feel well-positioned to decide whether I can write a good letter.

Anyway, what do you all think?

Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More