Writing your own recommendation?

<p>So, I have a friend in an Asian country. And he's applying to grad schools. But apparently, especially in the case of an English recommendations, many profs there don't want to spend a lot of time writing it, so they ask the applicant to write their own recommendation, and they'll sign it, seal it and send it off to graduate schools.</p>

<p>Do you think grad schools would know this? I'm just annoyed that while I worked so hard to get good recommendations, he didn't have to do anything. He can just go off and write three glowing recommendations, and potentially get into all the school he wants... Of course, there's also the problem of grade inflation in Asia... Their stats just look better than mine, yet I'm so sure I'm more prepared.</p>

<p>It happens here in the US too. :rolleyes:</p>

<p>I've heard rumors that at some institutions in China, low grades are dropped from the transcripts before being sent to foreign schools. Probably happens, but who knows how common it is...</p>

<p>Thing is, a "glowing recommendation" written by an applicant is truly a kiss of death because most of us, as applicants, don't really know what a good LOR would look like and few have the self-awareness to write a single objective-sounding LOR, much less 3 that sound like they're speaking from different perspectives! Your friend is really at more of a disadvantage than anything else.</p>

<p>a) If self-written recommendations and grade inflation are common in Asia, and he's applying to Asian grad schools, he doesn't have any significant advantage over everyone else writing their own recommendations and getting questionably straight A's.</p>

<p>b) If self-written recommendations and grade inflation are common in Asia, and he's applying to American grad schools, he doesn't have any advantage over all the other international applicants doing the same. International admissions are so competitive that even with these apparent 'advantages' it's highly unlikely he'll "get into all the schools he wants," and even if he did, he'll be selling his soul to afford to attend them.</p>

<p>c) Between the two of you, you have a greater advantage if you've lived in the States for years, speak English fluently (as evidenced in personal statements and interviews), and actually have renowned professors who can write good letters on your behalf. This friend can praise himself to the skies, but (1) a non-native speaker of a language will probably not produce a letter that is as impressively flowing as American referees can, and (2) I doubt he will use the opportunity to blatantly lie. He's stuck to recounting the facts and saying useless things like "X was very motivated in his studies and often contributed meaningful insights during class discussions."</p>

<p>This does not mean he, or "they" (those generalized Asians) are getting a free pass to grad school. Honestly, if you're really "so sure you're more prepared" for grad school you should feel sorry for your friend. If he comes over here he's going to have to deal with culture shock, a different approach to academics than he's used to, complete submersion in a foreign language, the consequences of falling short if his undergrad curriculum didn't cover what US schools do, whole classes of undergrads who don't bother to show up to discussion section because he has an accent and fellow grad students who scoff that he didn't have to work as hard as they did.</p>