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 Message Boards » » how to ask for letter of recommendation? Page [1]  
gz390
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How do you ask for one from a former professor by email, not in person?, what is the right way to ask, how much do I need to write, etc? Also would it be normal to ask from a teacher whose class you took like a year ago? I am sure they remember me though. this is for graduate school and I graduated recently by the way.

1/12/2012 3:47:35 PM

EggNogMan
New Recruit
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Is there a particular reason you can't do it in person?

1/12/2012 6:24:42 PM

bbehe

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or a phone call?

1/12/2012 6:56:02 PM

gz390
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I believe by email would be the most efficient way because the letter only needs to be forwarded by email to the recipient and it is very short, there is no need for forms or mailing papers. wouldn't they be annoyed you are wasting their personal time just to ask for a letter? and it would be a little weird to do it in person since right now I'm not a enrolled student anymore and I'm not sure if they would even allow me on campus?...phone call--I'm just a lot more comfortable asking by email but I'll consider it. thanks for the replies though.


[Edited on January 12, 2012 at 7:50 PM. Reason : ]

1/12/2012 7:43:56 PM

bbehe

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Wait, what campus is this that wouldn't let an alum on school grounds?

1/12/2012 7:51:47 PM

1985
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you sound like me, you probably didnt keep up good relations with professors and now you need to get a review but you dont think the prof will remember you or whatever. They get asked all the time, they don't care, give them a call.

1/12/2012 11:06:02 PM

simonn
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an email is fine. don't worry about it, just keep it short and tell them you had them for class and would like a recommendation if they'd be willing.

if you're not even sure they'll remember you though, that's not good, so you might get declines based on that. but the email part is fine.

[Edited on January 13, 2012 at 1:42 AM. Reason : .]

1/13/2012 1:42:19 AM

InsultMaster
Suspended
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Mine was 77 words.

1/13/2012 2:29:58 AM

gz390
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well i appreciate the replies. i hope the professor still remembers me and i believe he should..i took the class in Sp 2011, it was an upper level (400) course in my major and I was one of the few A's in the course. we greeted each other in the halls and he wrote on my final project something like "good work this semester, we should talk about your career plans". I never did speak to him though since I detested graduate education at the time and wasn't graduating yet but now that I look back on it I probably should have anyway.

1/13/2012 9:19:50 AM

Byrn Stuff
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1) It won't really matter that he remembers you if it's a general endorsement/review and not an actual, formal letter of recommendation. As long as he has no real reason to deny you, he probably won't mind filling it out.

2) This is a great opportunity to improve some of those professional relationships you may have let fall. Several professors from State have written me numerous recommendations over the years for grad school applications and jobs. Just the occasional hello is often enough to keep up the relationship.

Out of curiosity, what program are you looking to enter?

1/13/2012 10:08:02 AM

gz390
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I'm just unsure because I did not ask them while I was a student in their class but after I graduated. It only needs to be a short letter though so it should not be a big deal. but you are right I should have made more of an effort to keep in touch with professors. I do believe they still remember me, I did go to all classes on time, turned in all work, etc. If you want to know, the program is Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysis at MSU.

1/13/2012 11:16:14 AM

wdprice3
BinaryBuffonary
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if the professor actually knew you well enough to really write a recommendation, than a simple email asking for one would be fine.

if the professor sort of knew you then find another source.

1/13/2012 5:04:08 PM

skywalkr
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I didn't do the best job of keeping relationships with my professors throughout undergrad but I still got a few to write rec letters for me and apparently it paid off because I got into all the grad school programs I applied for. I just sent an email reminding them what class I took with them, when, if there was anything special about it, etc and asked for a rec letter. They all seemed happy to do it. Pretty easy really.

1/13/2012 7:33:16 PM

Klatypus
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did you ever have any volunteering/internship/outside project or research where the person in charge got to know you. Even if they aren't a professor, I still used one person who was a character reference for my hard work and reliability etc.

I am shy about just walking into a professor's office without contacting them first. So I usually tell them when I worked with them, also they usually want to see your resume if they don't know you well so they can make the letter relevant to you. Then I explain to them my future goal and essentially why I am contacting them, and making an offer to meet them in person at their convenience if they would prefer discussing such a topic in person. As long as you are concise, direct, and courteous in the email then you should get a good response. If after a week they do not respond, then call their office and leave a message if you have to. You can also resend the email, you do not want to be obnoxious, but sometimes if people are busy, then they can overlook your email, so it helps to remind them.

1/13/2012 10:50:19 PM

gz390
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Well I sent them a email and did pretty much exactly what the few above posts said. Yes I did have a few jobs, volunteering, internship, etc. but its recommended that I get some recommendations from a tenure-track professor from my university who can comment of my ability to 'withstand the rigor of graduate education'. I was polite and courteous in the emails and concise to the point. I said why I wanted to get a recommendation from them, etc. I will probably email some other professors I had in mind in case I don't get a response though anyway thanks for the advice.

1/14/2012 10:31:57 AM

gz390
All American
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well I got a yes and now I guess I need to start on writing the personal and academic statements

1/15/2012 12:08:44 PM

Klatypus
All American
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I went to the undergrad tutorial center for writing to help with my personal statement. It is an easy way to get many revisions by someone, but I would also say you would want to have another person look at it. I didn't think I would want that many people reading it because I am a decent writer and I wanted it a certain way, but I actually got a lot of good advice and suggestions.

1/15/2012 12:19:02 PM

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