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• 12/22/2020 at 07:22AM

Is there any way to see what my teachers wrote in my letters of recommendation?

I signed the FERPA waiver which waived my right to know what was in my letters of recommendation from my teachers. However, I really wish I knew what they had written about me to give me a better idea on what my chances of admissions at the schools I'm applying to are. Would the only way to find out be to ask the teacher themself? If that is the only way, what would be the best approach? Should I wait till after all of my applications are in to ask? And specifically how should I ask them? Thank you for any insight you can provide.

rec-letters
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3 answers

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• 12/22/2020 at 07:46AM

Since you waived your rights to know what they submitted as letters of recommendation, it's really in poor form that you press them to learn what they wrote on your behalf. If you had any doubt in your mind that they would write something harmful or damaging to your chances, then you should not have asked them to advocate on your behalf, to begin with.

At some point in your life, you will have to accept that some things are out of your control and you should trust those you ask for help.

Rather than trying to control everything, you should be buying them thank you gifts and writing them personalized thank you notes for helping you.

That would be a better-mannered way of returning the favor and making them feel good about themselves.

Aiyah!

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• 12/23/2020 at 07:01AM

So besides violating the spirit of FERPA and potentially the letter of it you shouldn’t ask a teacher that you aren’t 100% confident will give a positive rec-letter. And if caught violating FERPA your acceptances may be rescinded and blacklisted from applying to schools. Also if really need some insight you MIGHT be able to ask them what they referenced in the letter but that’s a very very big if.

In general FERPA exists for the very reason that you are in right now and as Lily said you have to accept what ever happens.

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• 12/23/2020 at 11:57PM

Hi there, as other users have said, you really can't ask since you waived your rights.

If it's any reassurance, rec letters are a very small factor in admissions. Combined with interviews and relationships, they only make up 10% of your application. If you asked teachers you trust, then there should be no need to worry!

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