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Letter to your adviser

PicassoPicasso Posts: 42Registered User Junior Member
edited August 2010 in Brown University
So, as all incoming Brown freshmen know, we have to write a letter to our adviser based on the book The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat. I thus have a few questions to ask any fellow to-be Brunonians.

How long is your letter?
My current draft is 1700 words long, aka 3 pages on word. I'm afraid this is too long, and I have a few sections I could edit out, but I feel like there are some interesting points there which I'm rather recalcitrant about removing. My dad said my adviser might not read the whole thing, if it's too long - but do you think that's true? Should I shorten it for the adviser's benefit and to avoid undue fatigue?

Did you talk more about the book, or more about yourself?
I thought there were quite a few interesting aspects in the book on which I expounded in my letter. However, they don't really relate to me or my goals at Brown. Should I chop those, or keep them in for interest's sake?

Please give me some pointers, I'm a bit at a loss here!
Post edited by Picasso on
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Replies to: Letter to your adviser

  • chsowlflax17chsowlflax17 Posts: 941Registered User Member
    Truth be told, over 30%, and last year I'd say the majority, of your peers probably won't have even read the book through. Write what you think you need to, but if your letter is boring, then yeah, it's going to be skimmed rather than read. But really, this whole letter and advisor thing is the last thing you should stress over.
  • thefunnythingthefunnything Posts: 267Registered User Junior Member
    Most people wrote informal letters. The point was largely to contact your advisor, and, if need be, have basis for discussion at your first advisor meeting. My advisor read my letter, but she was most interested in what I said about myself (as is presumably the case with most advisors... they are advising you your first year, after all. The book is just one of many you're going to read during the coming year). So don't worry about it. As long as you do the assignment and it's well-written (doesn't have to be essay-caliber, but don't write sloppily), you'll be fine.
  • hollyerthollyert Posts: 801Registered User Member
    I wrote about how much I hated the book we had to read. Most people put the letters off to the last minute. I am almost positive my (deadbeat, abnormally useless) advisor didn't even read it.

    To really help your advisor out, tell them how you think (by explaining your reaction to the reading), tell them how the subject of the book (or even the book itself) relates to what you want to be doing.
  • harvard17harvard17 Posts: 549Registered User Member
    Is this letter read only by the advisor and the Wring Center staff, or does our Meik go through it as well? Although this does not impact the way I would write the letter, I am really confused about this. In an earlier mailing, Brown asked us to write this letter to the advisor and a separate one to the Meik. Now, in the last email, Brown changed the deadline by four days, and informed us that it will be addressed to both the the advisor and the Meik!

    Also, since I know who my advisor is (CAP course), is it okay to address the letter to her? Or will it be wiser to address it to an anonymous entity?
  • thefunnythingthefunnything Posts: 267Registered User Junior Member
    The advisor letter is read by your advisor and the Writing Center only.

    You write the Meiklejohns a separate letter. Our letters are released to you in a few weeks, and then you respond to that one online.

    Yes, since you know who your advisor is, feel free to address the letter to her. I was in the same position last year and did the same thing.
  • harvard17harvard17 Posts: 549Registered User Member
    Thanks you very much 'thefunnything'!

    The letter, as I see it, is a means to 'break the ice' with the Advisor. But, can anyone just mention the important points that we must keep in mind while drafting such a letter? Should we focus more on the interpretation of the book or on our future academic plans? Should the letter be bearably long or appreciably short? Should I concentrate more on the future or give a snapshot of what happened in the past?

    I am way too confused about what to write, and what not to when it comes to this piece of self-expression. Can somebody please alleviate the situation?
  • xmobilexmobile Posts: 146Registered User Junior Member
    This really isn't difficult...just write the letter about the things you care about, who you are as an individual, etc etc...a lot of people really don't read the book and the letter certainly isn't meant for you to show how great of an English student you are...keep it short, sweet, and personal.
  • 3andout3andout Posts: 79Registered User Junior Member
    So I just reminded my daughter that this was due soon, and she told me she hasn't been told who her adviser is yet. Does everybody else already know who their adviser is?
  • aleph0aleph0 Posts: 238Registered User Junior Member
    You won't know your advisor until you arrive at Brown for Orientation, unless you are already enrolled in a CAP course. Just address the letter "Dear Professor" or something similar.
  • 3andout3andout Posts: 79Registered User Junior Member
  • PicassoPicasso Posts: 42Registered User Junior Member
    Thanks for all your help! I just submitted my letter.
  • harvard17harvard17 Posts: 549Registered User Member
    Thank you everyone who dropped in to share their experiences, and helped us better ours!
  • hollyerthollyert Posts: 801Registered User Member
    Hey, Harvard. Look into a new username :P
  • harvard17harvard17 Posts: 549Registered User Member
    ^I was thinking about it 'hollyert', but then it is always better to have the best and the dearest of your 'dreams' by your side, eh?
  • HannahKaileyHannahKailey Posts: 120Registered User Junior Member
    Yeah, I realize that this is extremely last minute, but I am really struggling with this letter. For no apparent reason, I might add. I read the book, but I really don't know what to say about it or how to relate it to myself. Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated, as I am in a bit of a panic at the moment.
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