Thankfully, this year, I come prepared. Whatever distant family member has the guts to ask me about my future this year, will receive a full thirty minute presentation on my master of choice, including the different subjects, an extensive list of arguments for choosing this master and a highly specific prognosis of my chances in the job market after completing this particular master.
There’s just this one tiny problem: I still have to be accepted.
Of course, I couldn’t just pick any master, I simply had to go for one where my chances of getting in are shockingly small. I suppose it wouldn’t be the academic world if my eligibility wasn’t tested extensively in several different ways. Next to lists of grades and my own motivation, this master requires not just one, but two letters of recommendation. Genius! Why take my undeniably subjective self-praising words, when you can have the objective word of academia’s finest?
I think this type of rigor only speaks in favor of my university of choice. No self-respecting academic would accept the hypothesis that I am indeed a highly eligible prospective student on the basis of such little evidence. And so these true scientists look for different sources. Or so they think.
Let us take a look at the general procedure of having a member of the academic staff, your academic advisor for example, write a letter of recommendation for you. Generally, said academic will ask you to send them a draft of this recommendation letter, which will then be discussed and corrected where necessary.
This means that if the two people I ask to write my letters of recommendation do not have many corrections in my letters, this oh so prestigious, highly selective and rigorous admission committee will receive three letters of me telling them how great I am, except they will be signed by different people. Goodbye rigor. Goodbye objectivity. Hello three pages of highly subjective self-promotion presented by Me. Isn’t that just the best Christmas present of all?