If i meet you, I may take the opportunity to ask you about your experience as a student at the U of T, for example, just because I am curious about what life is like for our students and I have few opportunities to find out.
The reason I do this is that, in submitting recommendations, faculty members
are typically asked to check boxes on an online form, indicating whether the
student is in the
by various criteria, such as research potential, communication skills, etc. I am told that more or less everyone lies all the time in doing this, so that if a student is in the top 15% of MAT357 (very good!) and I therefore click "top 20%" in all the boxes, then the student will be rejected by all grad programs. So my policy is to allow myself a little dishonesty in clicking these boxes -- what I judge to be the standard level of dishonesty, so that adjusted for universal exaggeration, it will give an accurate impression of the student's abilities -- but, because I don't like to lie, I also give honest figures in the letter, where I can put them in context.