Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Cautionary Tale

Well, something told me it wouldn't be that easy. I recommend everyone sends this post to fellow applicants, as it should provide a cautionary tale about application risks.

I asked my manager and another person I work with to write my recommendations. Both were very enthusiastic, and I asked them two months in advance. As soon as the UCLA application went live, I put their names in, sent them the information, and put together packets about my goals, my essays, resume, everything. I sent follow-up reminders, put it on their Outlook schedule, called them, went over in person. Both assured me they were well on track. My manager emailed me to say he finished his several weeks ago. My second recommender said she was well on her way.

Applications were due October 9th. My manager again said he was done. My second recommender became harder to find. Monday the 6th, she said she was about done. Wednesday, she said she'd upload it that night. I wake up on the 10th, and neither of them submitted theirs. She hadn't even started. Even worse, she is now actively dodging my calls and emails. My manager said the system must have made an error, and I contacted the admissions department at UCLA to check. Their response was to wait until the 24th of October for the system to "catch up." I'll take them at their word for now, but something tells me my application will sit there until January, with me unable to further edit my essays or application.

Here's the crux of this tale: be sure to select recommenders who not only will accentuate your positives, but will also actually DO your recommendations! Needless to say, I will not be selecting her for any future applications (more to follow).


theincarnated said...

That is so unfortunate.... If I'd be in your place, I would have some serious talk with the recommenders.... jst to ensure timely submissions at other schools....

trystwithmba said...

Ya the reccos suck. Even one of my recommenders went under hiding and stopped responding to my mails or calls, but I had the time to realize and replace him with another recommender. This despite his earlier promise to do the reccos for me.

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Vitaly Kartsev said...

I feel your pain, Omne. It is particularly tough to choose because unless you're a reapplicant, you don't know how a given person will respond to having to do a recommendation.

For instance, one of my recommenders is a lot like me -- got everything in at the last minute, but did get it done. They have been absolutely reliable, but I was biting my nails. :-) It is hard to tell this kind of person from someone who procrastinates but will actually submit late, after the deadline. Sometimes you have to go on faith, which is not reliable. :-)

All the best with your apps going forward -- I am sure you will do great!