Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Can't compartmentalize from Facebook

Writing a recc letter for professional school for a student who did OK in my classes. He/she made Facebook friends with me and constantly posts about how glad he/she is to be out of classes, is tired of school, is doing something fun instead of studying. After several years of frequent posts on this theme, I'm afraid that I'm having trouble thinking of him/her without the impression left by Facebook and writing a letter based solely on his/her performance in my class. I'm very close to writing the "is not reaching full potential" sentence, but can't distinguish whether I have that impression from Facebook posts or from his/her above average but not stellar grades. Your thoughts?


  1. I'd say 'unfriend' him/her (and anybody else for whom you might need to write a recommendation letter at some point of time). I'd also talk to this person to gauge how serious he/she is about higher studies. If I still feel that the facebook impression is getting in the way, I'd honestly admit to this person that I can't give them a good recommendation and suggest they ask someone else.

  2. If a student is daft enough to fb friend a prof, post about not enjoying classes, and then ask said prof for a recc letter, I would say s/he is definitely not "reaching full potential"...

  3. Since you "know" this person outside of a class setting, I would say that puts you in a better position to write a letter him. If you interacted with him in a setting other than Facebook outside of class, would you incorporate that information into your letter?

    Regardless of the what you choose to write for this student, you may want to point out this problem that you are having, so that he can be aware of the implications for later points in his life.