Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Whine Du Jour

Lots of profs are whining on facebook, twitter, blogs and elsewhere about writing letters of recommendation for undergrads seeking to go to law school, grad school, or whatever.  The process has mostly been computerized, so that one gets an invite via email to go to a website, fill out a form and upload a letter.  So much better than the old system of having print out heaps of letters, stuff envelopes (if the students provided them) and perhaps filling out by hand each form for each letter.

But the systems still have bugs--there is no one common web-based form/site, so each one asks somewhat different questions, they usually require inputting information about myself that they don't need (like street address, phone number, etc. when all contact can be and usually is by email if at all). 

I think profs get into this business expecting to do little paper/grunt work.  This expectation then leads to disappointment, especially when the number of students applying to grad school seems to explode (well, no jobs, so why not?) and the number of places to which they apply increases.  Moreover, this current generation of profs is increasingly skeptical about the wisdom of sending heaps of students off to law school or grad school, given the respective job markets.  So, we whine.

Still, it is better than it used to be--I hated all of the paperwork that was actually paper.  Keeping forms and envelopes straight, filling by hand (or stapling business cards--I never did get a stamp) my address info that they didn't need.  We need to remind ourselves that despite the proliferation of aspirants, our side of the process is easier than it used to be.  Sure, it can get more efficient, but we do have it better now than it was five or ten years ago.


Steve Greene said...

I LOVE the switch to all on-line forms. Sooo much easier. It took law schools a while to catch on, but now that they finally have recommendations are much less of a pain. Thanks in large part to search and replace names in MS Word, of course.

SamStanton said...

I actually enjoy writing some of the letters. And am still thankful for all of the letters written on my behalf. I see it as my duty to return this generosity for the right students.