Short answer: Say no.
Long answer: Either explain to your boss why that’s inappropriate and would be a violation of ethics for you, and would put your candidacy in jeopardy. Or, find a new recommender.
There are always other options for recommenders.
[A]ll the work in your application should be your own. In the case of the recommendations, they should be the work of your recommenders only. It is a violation of the Tuck Honor Code to submit an application that is not exclusively your work or to submit recommendations that you or someone other than your recommender have written, even if at the request of your recommender.
Which leads us to another point: If your admissions consultant offers to write your recommendation, then run. Run fast and run far. That person does NOT have your best interest at heart.
If they offer to EDIT your recommendation before it’s submitted to the school, that too is a problem. Heck, even offering to READ it is borderline questionable. Admissions consultants should not be directly involved in the process of writing recommendations (and you should not, either – why do you even have that recommendation before it’s been submitted?). Admissions consultants really should not have their fingerprints on these important documents at all.
EssaySnark’s entire admissions consulting philosophy is based on a hands-off approach that empowers applicants to do it themselves. We believe that our consulting practices comply 100% with the guidelines that Tuck has laid out in that article.
When it comes to the writing of recommendations, we’ve heard all the excuses – most vociferously from our colleagues in the admissions consulting industry. We have been shocked by how many of them claim that the recommendations process is so burdensome that the schools should just get rid of it. Who blatantly say that applicants are writing their own recs anyway so what’s the point?
Well, that’s not how we roll.
The most common excuse is, “My boss is too busy, he won’t do it himself.”
But guess what? If you were REALLY the superstar employee that you are claiming to the schools that you are, then your boss would find a way to help you out.
(Ouch. EssaySnark, that’s harsh!)
Let’s be real, people. Most schools are asking recommenders to fill out a simple form, and answer two questions. Two questions. It takes like 10 minutes to do this.
If your boss has ever done a post-purchase consumer survey, sitting at her desk over lunch, then honestly it shouldn’t take terribly much longer than that. (Okay, we’re exaggerating – a good recommendation does require some thought and a little effort – but really, this is not such an onerous task. Not for someone who KNOWS YOU. Who thinks you’re the bees’ knees and wants you to be successful in this thing that’s important to you. Who’s doing more than just going through the motions in saying that they support you. Anyone who will do a good job on their recommendation for you is not going to have a major problem with how burdensome it is. If they are griping about it, maybe that’s a signal that they’re not the best choice? Or that you haven’t prepped them appropriately.)
The other big objection is cultural. “In my country, recommendations are not done like this, and a junior person would never ask for one in this way. My boss simply wouldn’t understand.”
We have more sympathy for this one, but even so, we wonder. You’re saying you want to go to Harvard or Wharton or Kellogg (or Tuck). You’re claiming that you’re a leader, someone with maturity, who knows how to work with your colleagues and influence the organization. You have an interest in coming to the U.S. for your graduate business education, specifically because of the network and the global opportunities that it would open up to you. You want to be hired by an American company when you graduate. By implication, you’re stating to the adcom that you have cultural awareness and emotional intelligence.
And yet you can’t make a case to your boss for why this is important??
As to those admissions consultants who offer to do the work for you: That is not a solution to the problem in any shape, manner or form. You’re outsourcing this incredibly important task to someone who you’ve known for a couple weeks. OMG that is such a bad idea. (Besides the fact that it’s so completely disrespectful of the process, and of the schools themselves. When you have an admissions consultant doing this, they’re pissing all over the school’s application; they’re saying that they know better than the Tuck Admissions Committee on what’s required for a thorough evaluation of a candidate for admission. Like, wow.)
OK, off our high horse now.
We’ll mention the two resources that we do offer to applicants:
- The Letters of Recommendation App Accelerator offers guidelines for choosing your best recommenders based on their relationship to you and the purpose that they can serve in advancing your candidacy, and lets you submit your plan for who you will select so we can give feedback to you on the appropriateness (and optimality) of your choices
- The Recommender’s Instruction Sets is a customized packet of “How to write recommendations” that you can distribute to your recommenders, which explains the importance of this task and helps them simplify the process, specific to the exact schools you’re applying to
There are also plenty of posts here on the blahg about the topic of recommenders, who to choose, how to get them on board.
Yes we have an opinion on this. You don’t have to agree with our opinion, but if you don’t, then this is likely one more area where we’re probably not the ‘Snark for you.