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juliep
11-29-2010, 06:39 AM
Excuse me if I am asking an obvious question, but what do you need to choose when asked if you wanna waive your right to have access to the LOR? And why? What does that mean?

For instance I am doing Berkeley right now, my first application.

THank you!

tsimonoce
11-29-2010, 07:12 AM
It means you are waiving the right to be able to see your LOR at a later time. Some ruling or law determined previously that unless waived, people should have the right to see these things.

However, you absolutely want to waive the right, as your professors will probably be annoyed if you don't, and adcoms will treat your letter much less seriously.

Galoisj
11-29-2010, 05:16 PM
Will professors see our option?



It means you are waiving the right to be able to see your LOR at a later time. Some ruling or law determined previously that unless waived, people should have the right to see these things.

However, you absolutely want to waive the right, as your professors will probably be annoyed if you don't, and adcoms will treat your letter much less seriously.

rsaylors
11-29-2010, 05:38 PM
I doubt that anyone professional would care one way or the other!
I don't want to know because I am using people that, if they felt like I shouldn't be a Ph.D. student, then I agree with them and want to fail to be admitted.

azure86
11-29-2010, 06:42 PM
Will professors see our option?

Yes. A friend of mine applied last year, indeed forgot to indicate in the system that she waived her right. Prof sent email back asking her to click "Yes" on that option, saying that it's his policy.

Elliephant
11-29-2010, 07:23 PM
Will professors see our option?

Yes, they will. The email request they receive will read something along the lines of, "Dear Prof. XXX, Galoisj has indicated that you will be submitting a letter of evaluation in support of his/her application to Program XXX at School XXX. The student has waived his/her right to view the recommondation. To submit your letter, please use the following login information..." and so forth.

Cuak2000
11-29-2010, 08:12 PM
It's a nice move...you comply with the law by allowing the option, but you make every effort to make that option ineligible.

OneMoreEcon
11-29-2010, 08:31 PM
FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) requires universities receiving federal funds to allow students to be able to see everything in their educational records. Thus, schools ask you to waive your right to view the letters, as they are intended to be confidential. I would never be surprised if a professor refused to write a letter or a school ignored any letter that you didn't waive your right to read.

One school - I think Caltech - has a funny way of doing things that they state on a website. Basically, it's "FERPA requires us to allow you to read the letter if you are a student at our school. Therefore, we destroy all letters prior to you enrolling, so you never have the option to invoke your rights under FERPA while a student at our school (at least with regard to recommendation letters)."

Elliephant
11-30-2010, 04:38 AM
"FERPA requires us to allow you to read the letter if you are a student at our school. Therefore, we destroy all letters prior to you enrolling, so you never have the option to invoke your rights under FERPA while a student at our school (at least with regard to recommendation letters)."

I rather like that approach. Saves everyone the trouble.

enginecon
11-30-2010, 11:07 AM
I rather like that approach. Saves everyone the trouble.
Which trouble? Clicking on the waive/not-waive mark? That is not a big trouble, as far as I can see.
The approach of destroying the letter (which some schools indeed use) is worse... if the letter is kept on file it may eventually be relevant in the future for a reason or another... for example, in the event that some sort of legal procedure starts for some reason, as far as I know, a judge/jury could look at the letter, even if the student cannot do so... it may perhaps be possible for judge to grant the student or a legal advisor access to the letter under special circumstances. What the waiver remove is the possibility that the student simply walk into the concerned office and say let me see all the LOR in my file (which the student could do, without the waiver).

Team3
11-30-2010, 11:53 AM
Let's put the law aside for a moment. When you waive your right to view the document, your recommender has a single audience: the admissions committee. When you don't, he or she has two audiences: the committee and you. Now let's imagine that your recommender would write the same letter in either case. The trouble is that admissions committees are heterogeneous entities and will read those identical letters in different ways. Maybe a reviewer won't care. But maybe he or she will: by simple human behavior, many will view the "I don't waive my right letter" as suspect and assume that your recommender might not have had the freedom to be as candid as possible. It is thus less credible. It's probably sound advice to put your effort into finding good recommenders and then trusting them fully.

rsaylors
11-30-2010, 05:20 PM
I applied to UMD and they simply said I would not have access to the letters.