Should You Waive Your Right to See Your Letters of Recommendation – Making an Informed Decision

should you waive your right to see your letters of recommendation

Should You Waive Your Right to See Your Letters of Recommendation

Applying for college or a job can be nerve-wracking, especially when it comes to letters of recommendation. It’s one thing to sell yourself in an application or interview, but what about those letters? The question at hand is: should you waive your right to see them?

Now, this might seem like a no-brainer. After all, why wouldn’t you want to see what’s being said about you? But it’s not as simple as that. There are pros and cons with either decision, and the choice isn’t always clear-cut.

In essence, waiving your rights means that you won’t have access to the letters written on your behalf. This can be beneficial in some ways – it shows trust in your recommenders and could lead to more honest evaluations. On the flip side, not knowing what’s included may leave some applicants feeling uneasy. So let’s dig deeper into this subject and uncover if waiving these rights is the right move for you.


Understanding the Letter of Recommendation Process

Let’s dive right into the letter of recommendation process. It’s a critical part of many applications, whether you’re applying for college, graduate school, or even certain jobs. Typically, the process starts when you request a letter from someone who knows your work and character well—often a teacher, mentor, or employer.

Now here’s where things get interesting: after they’ve written this letter on your behalf, do you have the right to see it? Well, under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), I indeed have that right. But should I exercise it? That question isn’t as straightforward as it might first seem.

In most instances, you’ll be asked if you want to waive this right when submitting your application. If I choose not to waive my rights—that means I wish to review the letter—it could potentially raise some eyebrows. Why? Because admissions officers or potential employers may wonder if there was something in that recommendation that needed policing.

On the flip side, waiving my rights sends a confident message: “I trust my recommender to advocate effectively on my behalf.” Plus—and let’s just put it out there—most recommenders will write more honestly if they know their words won’t be scrutinized by the subject of their praise (or criticism).

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