Applying to Grad schools: Letter of Recommendations

  1. If you don't really have a bond with any of your of Professor's when you were doing your BA/BS, exactly how do you go about asking them to write you a recommendation? I've been wanting to send some of my Profs. an email asking them if they could write me a recommendation, but I have no idea what to say to them.
    Should I just be direct and tell them that I'm applying to so-and-so and was wondering if they could write me a recommendation??
  2. i would go to their office hours and tell them directly. one of the teachers i most admired was the hardest of all...she made me provide a writing sample and an essay about why i wanted to go to that particular program before she wrote the reference. so just be warned that some people might make you jump through a few hoops, but they only do it to get a better picture of you as a person/student to write a better reference
  3. Don't's impersonal. You are asking them for something big! Go to their office hours, or email and ask to make an appointment.
    When you go just directly ask them if they would write a letter of rec. for you.
    Be organized too, tell them how many schools, what kind of schools, what kind of program, etc.
    Tell them you will provide them with your personal statement, and your transcript so that they can review that.

    They probably won't say no! But, remember, schools can tell if it is a weak letter versus a strong letter. So try to pick some professors you've had contact with in the past! Pick ones that you did really well in their class too.
  4. so its highly recommended that I go meet them? I just don't know if I could with work and all.
  5. You definitely need to ask in person, especially since you said the professors and you haven't really bonded. You want them to be able to connect a name with a face. Like twiggers said, you'll need to give them your transcript and SOP. I'd include your CV/resume too.

    Admissions people can easily tell a standard LOR from one where the professor and applicant had a real relationship. The more you can make yourself stand out to the professor, the better letter you're going to get.
  6. You definitely need to go see them during their office hours. When I needed letters of recommendation, I spoke to them during their office hours, and they asked some questions to try to get to know me better. It's not a big deal, most professors have no problem writing a letter of recommendation... at least in my experience.
  7. I think it's more than "highly recommended," I think it's absolutely essential. I would probably decline to write a letter for someone who didn't ask in person.
  8. You're asking them to take the time out to do you a favor, you need to make the time to ask them for it.

    I would go to a professor that you did excellent work for, received a high grade, and/or taken more than one course with. I've only received letters from professors who have known me extremely well. However, I've written for a student who was not even part of my department, but had worked very hard in my class and put in a lot of extra effort.
  9. I agree. I think it would almost be rude to not take the time to meet them face to face, since you're asking them to do you a pretty big favor. Definitely talk with them about your future goals, etc. and make sure they really get the whole picture of why you want to go to a certain program or whatever. It makes a big difference.
  10. If it really matters to you then you'll find the time to meet with them. Call in sick to work or take some vacation time.
  11. What if you are now out of state? Will a letter enclosing work that you did in their class/personal statement/resume suffice? I went to college in Florida but I now live in Illinois. I don't want to fly back there for this (but I would if I had to). I really need to get my butt in gear and go back to school. This para-professional stuff just isn't cute anymore.
  12. How long have you been out of school? Would your professors remember you? If you think they would, then I would suggest a phone call first, and find out what they would need from you to write the recommendation.
  13. I know you're busy with work, but it really is essential that you take the time to see your profs in person. As one poster already said, you're asking them to donate their time to help you. The least you could do is make time to see them.
  14. I'm taking it that you're not applying this year since the deadline is a few weeks away, correct? This is what I would do in your shoes. Start emailing the professors you'd like to receive letters of recommendation from and ask them questions about the programs you're applying to. A polite email, something along the lines of, "Hello Professor X, my name is Jane Smith. I was in your Sociology 305 class a few years ago, and I'm now starting the application process for my Master's in Sociology. I'm really interested in [insert area of interest here], and was wondering if you could recommend any programs in that area to me?"

    This way you'll start a discussion with the professor, and when it does come time to ask for a letter (which if you do the next application cycle, you'll want to ask for a letter in October/November), they'll be able to have a background with you.