Saturday, January 12, 2008

When We Send the Spawn Into The Sea.

It is again that time of year when aspiring graduate students are applying to our graduate programs. As DGS (Director of Graduate Studies), I am the fortunate one who must receive, sort, chart, and comment upon the reams of application materials that arrive daily. As a service to others, I provide this handy guide to decoding letters of recommendation:

"With close guidance, she will do well..."
Translation: Left to her own devices, she will fail miserably.

"He is incredibly eager..."
Translation: He's one of those pests who will haunt your office.

"She has worked hard to improve her writing skills..."
Translation: Her writing still sucks.

"He is a free spirit..."
Translation: He is congenitally unable to meet deadlines or to complete assigned readings.

"She has applied to numerous programs, but in my estimation, yours is most suitable..."
Translation: She has little chance of getting admitted anywhere except your program.

"He is a tireless contributor in the classroom..."
Translation: His monopolization of discussion will drive you batty.

"She provides unique insights on course readings..."
Translation: She understands nothing, but is still compelled to provide idiotic commentary.

"He holds great promise..."
Translation: On which he has yet to deliver.

"She is a once-in-a-lifetime student..."
Translation: She is smarter than her recommender.