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Thread: Recommendation letters

  1. #1

    Recommendation letters

    What is the best way to ask a professor if she/he will write you a good rec. letter for grad. school, especially if you’ve been out of school for awhile and haven’t done much? Should I write a sample letter for them or tell them what points to make? Any experiences/suggestions for the request process and what the admissions committees are looking for?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Well.....

    I'm sure your graduate school has a special form that is required, so I don't think you'll be able to customize it much. I would suggest a personal visit to each professor, along with an update of what your plans are and to remind them what a great student you were (or tried to be)
    “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    - See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-ph....r7W02j3S.dpuf

  3. #3
    The One: Thank you for your prompt response. I have obtained a few letters in the past and I am familiar with the request process a bit. Yet, I have been reading about planning school rec. letters and after a gap in education "good" letters seem to be the way into high ranking schools (along with work experience etc).

    Obviously, the hard part is to obtain "good" letters. How do you know if someone will actually write a stellar letter and how can you tell if they won't, is basically my question. I am pretty sure my professors will not reject my request, but how can I be certain they are interested in writing about me in the first place, especially since I haven’t seen them for while.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    what if I apply for 10 school or even more? will it be annoying for the recommender to write 10 letters?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    I'd say telling them what points to make or giving them a sample letter would not be good ideas.

    I think you want to ask someone who knows you relatively well and who you have reason to believe has a positive impression of you and your abilities. If you're not sure, then I probably wouldn't ask that person unless there aren't any better options.

    I think the best way to do this is to tell them what your plans and goals are, try to fill them in on your background and accomplishments, refresh them on which classes you took with them. Just basically have a conversation with them.

    Even if it's been a while since school and their memory of you is a bit hazy (they have lots of students over the years) this should help them remember and get a sense of what you're trying to do.

    I'm sure they'll be willing to do it, but this will help them be a little more specific in what they write.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Well......

    First I would make a point to visit my old professors and provide an update about what I've been doing since school. I might even try to take them to lunch or breakfast or at least bring them starbucks But I'm sure your grades were so high that you don't need to stoop to such levels

    Sending out 10 applications could be viewed as a weakness in my opinion. It kind of say's, yeah, I don't really have a clue where I want to go, so I'm going to shotgun it and see what sticks, or who gives me the best deal. Just out of curiosity, have you even visited every one of the 10 schools? Pick three, one long shot, one maybe and one for sure then go with what you get.
    “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    - See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-ph....r7W02j3S.dpuf

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    Sending out 10 applications could be viewed as a weakness in my opinion. It kind of say's, yeah, I don't really have a clue where I want to go, so I'm going to shotgun it and see what sticks, or who gives me the best deal. Just out of curiosity, have you even visited every one of the 10 schools? Pick three, one long shot, one maybe and one for sure then go with what you get.
    This pretty much nails it. I applied to 10 grad schools, had visited maybe two, and chose a school based on the best financial offer. On one hand, I didn't pay a dime for my master's degree... but I also had no clue what I was getting myself into and ultimately went to a place I didn't care for, with a program tailored to a type of planning I'm not interested in .

    I don't think it's a big deal to ask for 10 different letters, as I'm sure the Prof's won't be altering them much individually, but just be advised of what you are getting into. I definitely regreted not having a more focused grad school application process.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by The One View post
    First I would make a point to visit my old professors and provide an update about what I've been doing since school. I might even try to take them to lunch or breakfast or at least bring them starbucks But I'm sure your grades were so high that you don't need to stoop to such levels

    Sending out 10 applications could be viewed as a weakness in my opinion. It kind of say's, yeah, I don't really have a clue where I want to go, so I'm going to shotgun it and see what sticks, or who gives me the best deal. Just out of curiosity, have you even visited every one of the 10 schools? Pick three, one long shot, one maybe and one for sure then go with what you get.
    Well, I would very much like to visit all 10 schools, or maybe more. but I am an international applicant. it's impossible for me to fly all the way to the US just for visiting a school. even if I could, how much can I get from a visit?

    What I did were to talk to my professor, go to forums like cyburbia, browse the website of each school, the profiles of faculties, courses they offer and student profiles they offer online, etc.

    Another problem is the chance of admission. It is very difficult to evaluate one's chance of getting admitted. MIT, Cornell, NYU and Berkeley match my interest best, but you never know the chance.

    What do you suggest?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    after asking for a letter of recommendation..

    just a general question to anyone.....

    How long did it take for your professor to answer you back (if you asked about recommendation via email) ??

  10. #10
    I asked via email late in the week and heard back from my Prof. early the next week. He was on vacation so I didn't receive the recommendation until a few leeks later but I gave him plenty of time to complete it so this was not a problem.

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    Quote Originally posted by krbxtigerz View post
    just a general question to anyone.....

    How long did it take for your professor to answer you back (if you asked about recommendation via email) ??
    I would highly recommend visiting your professor(s) in person to ask about a letter of reference. I spoke to each of my profs in person (one over a couple pints of beer) and I felt much more comfortable that I made the right decision after I left.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    I would but.....

    Quote Originally posted by sinewave View post
    I would highly recommend visiting your professor(s) in person to ask about a letter of reference. I spoke to each of my profs in person (one over a couple pints of beer) and I felt much more comfortable that I made the right decision after I left.
    I would visit my professors in person, but I can't since I'm in a different country.........
    I wrote an email 2 days ago, but my professor has not responded to my email yet....maybe it was too early to ask? it's only October......;;;; but I wanted to inform her early.......;;;;; ahhhhhh

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    how long more should I wait?

    so..I wrote an email to a professor asking about getting a recommendation letter from her last Thursday...
    it's Monday afternoon and I still have not gotten a response from her......How long more should I wait? should I write her another email?
    It's possible that she's really busy with school things and she put off answering an email like mine for later......
    this is kind of stressful lol....any advices?

  14. #14
    The Professor has probably already contacted you by now, but if not call him/her instead of sending another email.

    To the rest of the forum:
    Is it rude to ask for a copy of the rec. letter?

  15. #15
         
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    Quote Originally posted by ToPlanIsMyFuture View post
    The Professor has probably already contacted you by now, but if not call him/her instead of sending another email.

    To the rest of the forum:
    Is it rude to ask for a copy of the rec. letter?
    Standard practice is to waive your right to review letters of recommendation. I would be hesitant to ask for a copy of the recommendation letter. If you think you're going to get anything less than a top-notch recommendation letter from a professor, then it's probably not smart to ask that professor in the first place.

  16. #16
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    I had similar concerns, since I graduated several months before the application process and only had one class with one of the Profs I asked. So, I included a copy of my personal statement with the paperwork for the letter of recommendation. It seemed to help a lot, especially because I did my undergraduate work in a different discipline (political science). They better understood my goals and why I felt that the school was a good fit for me. He also gave me really good feedback on the personal statement too! Win win situation for me.


    If you're going to rely on snail mail, make sure your prof has access to a postage meter, or drop it off with a self addressed stamped envelope just in case.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    possible?

    is it possible that the email I sent (used my gmail account) went into the professor's spam folder?
    or it might be that my email got buried b/c she gets way too many emails??

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    Call her office phone and leave a message.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian
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    sending three even if only two is required?

    is it a bad idea to send three recommendation letters even if only two are required?

  20. #20
    Cyburbian
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    any thoughts?

    thank you very much!

  21. #21
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by krbxtigerz View post
    is it a bad idea to send three recommendation letters even if only two are required?
    I think it is. It's just like writing a 4-page paper when the instruction said max 2 pages.
    If you feel that a third one would complement the other two well and show the diversity of your skills and knowledge then mention your experience in a cover letter.
    The last thing an employer wants is someone that won't follow directions even before he's hired.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Plus kalimotxo's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by krbxtigerz View post
    is it a bad idea to send three recommendation letters even if only two are required?
    Schools will let you know in the application if you have the option of sending more than required. One of the schools I applied to - can't remember which one - required one academic and one professional reference each but left the option of sending a third if I thought it could help my case.

    If a school explicitly says to send two, I don't think it would be a great idea to send three. Most applications are pretty straightforward; just follow the directions.
    Process and dismissal. Shelter and location. Everybody wants somewhere.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian
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    thanks~

    I guess It'd be best to follow the direction lol.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian
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    which rec. letter to send?

    NYU requires 2 rec. letters and I already got one taken care of from my professor.
    I have two other rec. letters to choose from, one from another professor and the other one from my boss during my internship. Which one should I choose to submit? is it better to have one academic rec. letter and one non-academic rec. letter??

  25. #25
    It depends which recommender wrote a better letter about YOU not where they work.

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