Sanjay Pulipaka’s article on not asking applicants for academic posts to submit references was spot on (“A humble request: don’t ask for letters of recommendation”, Opinion, 4 August).
I had a similar experience with one of my supervisors at university. He requested my undergraduate grade records prior to giving me a reference and in another email he warned me that the PhD I wanted to apply for was very competitive. Having known him for four years, my mind translated his comments directly as I wouldn’t have received a positive and helpful reference or recommendation from him.
I turned instead to a company that I previously volunteered for. They did not ask me for my undergraduate history; they knew what I was capable of and agreed straight away to provide me with a recommendation should I need one. In the end, I did not pursue the PhD programme, but not many people have the plan B option that I had and looking for one can be a very frustrating and undermining process for people’s aspirations and goals.