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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:51 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:28 pm
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Has anyone out there ever tried to speak to their school regarding the teacher reference? My DD was shown her UCAS teacher reference today by her school head and my DD wasn't very happy about it. It wasn't exactly bad, she says, but also not as good as she had hoped. She felt the school was using words that were essentially signalling her work was good but not by any means outstanding.
I would agree that she may not be the most academic kid the school has ever seen, but she is incredibly hard working and diligent which has meant that she is predicted AAA*.
I don't think I should be speaking to the school myself but wanted to give her advice on how best to proceed..


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:59 pm 
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Students never saw their references when I was doing them; they are meant to be confidential.

They are also meant to be honest or the school gets 'known' for over-inflating; the final sentence is quite key. If you'd like to PM me what was said I'll 'translate' it.

You shouldn't speak to school.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:53 am 
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I probably shouldn't say this but I am not sure how much notice most universities take of these references anyway. Oxbridge excepted, Medicine etc excepted, but really? I have seen both of the ones DD had (she changed her mind after accepting a place the first time round). One (from a 'top' grammar) was efficient, impersonal, mentioned all the right buzz words etc. She got places everywhere she applied (all RG). Second time around, different person writing it (friend who happens to be a teacher) - warm, personal, probably mentioning all the same buzzwords. Totally different subject area, and got offers from all 5 RG again with a couple of scholarship offers too. I think the bottom line is that what actually matters is the grades (she applied post results) and stressing about the emphasis of words is almost certainly unnecessary.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:56 am 
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I think a good reference can help on a competitive course and if grades are missed in August when they review the applications. Some are very formulaic and, as I said, the conclusion is key. Unis do recognise that certain schools are not accurate with predictions ...


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:06 am 
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I suspect they are looked at less for science & where top notch results are predicted. I know that DS's reference & PS was important in getting him an interview & unconditional offer. This is in a subject where grades are not so important but other skills are. Not a top tier university but one that is competitive for the subject.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:45 am 
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DD got shown her reference, good thing really - one of the teachers who had contributed to thought she was doing an entirely different subject. :oops:


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:48 am 
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My DH (who does these references every year) said exactly the same as G55. He wouldn't show it to the students, they have to be scrupulously honest otherwise they get recognised as such and the school gets a reputation and that there is particular wording that they use.


Last edited by loobylou on Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:03 am 
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The thrust of the Reference and the predicted grades should not be a surprise to the applicant. This is all about the quality of the relationship - and the openness of the dialogue - between school and pupil. Best if the Reference itself is not shown to the pupil.

For many courses, the predicted grades need to be at least the minimum required. (Unfortunately, they aren't in some cases. This will kill the application in almost every case.)

Most Admissions Tutors - and there is one in my family - will say that they know most schools well enough and know which are too optimistic and which are too cautious. They take this in to account. Some university faculties simply ignore the Reference, apart from the predicted grades if they are too low: my old faculty did.


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