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Peer Recommendations for Dartmouth

valerietvaleriet 1 replies2 threads New Member
Dartmouth encourages you to send in a supplemental peer recommendation, and I was wondering:

Is it bad if my boyfriend writes me a peer recommendation and I write one for him?
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Replies to: Peer Recommendations for Dartmouth

  • rdeng2614rdeng2614 1736 replies82 threads Senior Member
    Why would it be bad? I think that's fine, because being in a relationship really shows another more caring side of you that might not be obvious from your application.
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  • valerietvaleriet 1 replies2 threads New Member
    Ahh, but I thought it might look a little suspicious.
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  • anxiousenior1anxiousenior1 1074 replies57 threads Senior Member
    It clearly says on their website they don't care who writes it, whether it be a classmate, boyfriend, sibling, etc.
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  • T26E4T26E4 23243 replies1031 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2015
    My caution would be: are you a good choice for him and is he a good choice for you? Dartmouth's peer recommendation (an oddity) seeks to divine some inner spark about the applicant. The fact that each of you have a very strong vested interest in the other's success (beyond another, more neutral yet supportive peer rec writer) may have unintended consequences.

    Would his anecdote or gushing about you come off as trite? Or yours for him? I dunno. Just be careful. Good luck.
    edited December 2015
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  • GrativityGrativity 72 replies50 threads Junior Member
    Yes, I do agree with @T26E4. I actually asked two of my classmates to write the peer recommendation, unsure about who would write the "best" letter about me. One was a valedictorian, all-A student who got a full-ride to a local university, she was liked by many teachers. The other - whom I'll call Jim - was a friend of mine, who procrastinated on some homework, didn't care excessively about upcoming tests, etc. The second student obviously was less hyped about colleges, and did not care that much about colleges and grades. I was worried a bit that Jim might write a good - but not great - letter of recommendation, while there was a chance that the valedictorian would sympathize with me (who was, like her, obsessed with getting all As and about how teachers perceived me) and spend time writing a great letter.

    BUT Jim did have - and still has - a great passion in history. He was like the guy who knew pretty much everything about history (particularly wars, empires, etc. in Western history) and who would watch Youtube videos about history for fun. He didn't really care how teachers perceived him, but he was honest in his feelings. The great thing about having Jim was that I could share my passion in mathematics with him, and he could share his historic passion with mine. We both understood the exhilarating quality of academic passion. Also, Jim was the only person in my high school who really knew my true self.

    Who did I choose? I chose to trust Jim. It turned out very, very, very, very, VERY well. Jim asked if I wanted to read the final copy of his letter, and I said sure, though I trusted his writing. Notwithstanding very few grammatical errors, the letter was sincere, heartfelt, and elucidating. He really emphatically stressed my academic curiosity in math... and other intangible personal qualities that I wished to - but couldn't - convey in my personal essays. I found out later that he went through four separate rough drafts before coming up with the final great letter.

    While I did not get my decisions yet, I will be grateful to Jim regardless of the college decision.

    The lesson here is that you should choose a person who really knows you! If you feel like your peer recommender will write an essay filled with trite anecdotes that try to elucidate on qualities that you know you don't have, don't ask him/her. I know that Jim didn't say anything about my "leadership," and that was completely fine (because, let's be honest, the word "leadership" is very likely very overused in recommendation letters). If you believe that you are a leader, or if your peer recommender believes that you truly exhibit qualities of a great leader, go ahead! That leadership quality, if genuine, will shine on the letter. But there needn't be anything that try to dress you up like a doll (reference to A Doll's House by Ibsen, a great play by the way, recommend you to read it).
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