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Author Topic: Anyone else really nervous about getting LOR's??  (Read 3172 times)

TheNewGuy

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Anyone else really nervous about getting LOR's??
« on: July 14, 2004, 03:37:52 PM »
 I am REALLY nervous about trying to get my LOR's, anyone else?? Mainly because I don't have a relationship with any of my professors. I go to a really big school (top 25 pub), and my upper div classes are all 100+...usually 200+. I'm in a major that doesn't really require me to seek help from the professor at all really (history), so I never really had the need to talk to any of them. Now that I need LOR's, and time is running out (applying this fall), I am starting to get really nervous. The idea of walking into their office, them not recognizing me at all, and me asking them to write a glowing LOR. How the hell do I do this? Should I try to force myself to visit them a few times, make some small talk, then ask them?? Or just ask them straight up the first time I meet them?

By the way, I only know of 1 prof to ask this summer (since I took her other class in the spring), but is it to late to ask a prof in the fall?? My history classes are normally only midterm/final...somtimes a paper or two...but I will have no graded work by Oct....even late Oct. Can I ask someone to write me a rec who I have never written anything for?? Would be ok to provide a writing sample?

nathanielmark

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Re: Anyone else really nervous about getting LOR's??
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2004, 03:43:43 PM »
i didnt particularly enjoy the process either, but its part of the game.  you have to find a way to do it.  ive been out of school for years now and called an old prof who was overseas when i called and headed to another college upon his return, even under those circumstances, he was very receptive to helping me.  i would ask one of the cooler profs, im sure you have one or two.  thats what i did, and he happened to be department head also which probably wont hurt.  hes going to use my resume as a guide, im sure it will be a good letter.

used my manager for the other.

dont_pass_go

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Re: Anyone else really nervous about getting LOR's??
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2004, 04:11:03 PM »
I am REALLY nervous about trying to get my LOR's, anyone else?? Mainly because I don't have a relationship with any of my professors. I go to a really big school (top 25 pub), and my upper div classes are all 100+...usually 200+. I'm in a major that doesn't really require me to seek help from the professor at all really (history), so I never really had the need to talk to any of them. Now that I need LOR's, and time is running out (applying this fall), I am starting to get really nervous. The idea of walking into their office, them not recognizing me at all, and me asking them to write a glowing LOR. How the hell do I do this? Should I try to force myself to visit them a few times, make some small talk, then ask them?? Or just ask them straight up the first time I meet them?

By the way, I only know of 1 prof to ask this summer (since I took her other class in the spring), but is it to late to ask a prof in the fall?? My history classes are normally only midterm/final...somtimes a paper or two...but I will have no graded work by Oct....even late Oct. Can I ask someone to write me a rec who I have never written anything for?? Would be ok to provide a writing sample?

I'm nervous too.  Last semester I made an effort to go out of my way to get to know a few professors, so I'll be asking them.  One professor Iíll be taking again in the fall, so this might be a good option for you to try if you can schedule it.  But, I figure (or hope) that a professor will be flattered by the fact that you thought so much of their class (and them) to ask them for a rec.  However, you should visit them in their office a few times before asking them for an LOR.  Just so they get to know you and can actually feel comfortable writing you an LOR.

The only thing about asking a professor you haven't written anything for to write you an LOR is that they won't be able to say anything about your writing.  However, if you talked a lot in class or have some other positive thing you did in that class it balances out.  I would try to get one professor that knows how you write.

One option you have to get to know a professor (besides making small talk with them) is, if you are doing a senior thesis next spring, decide on a topic that was covered in one of your classes, ask them to be your thesis advisor for next semester, and this semester go to their office a few times with research questions.

jacy85

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Re: Anyone else really nervous about getting LOR's??
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2004, 07:29:57 AM »
Professors at your school should hopefully be sympathetic to the fact that all of your classes are really large.  If you ask for a rec, ask a professor you preferably got an A with, or as close to it, I'd call and make an appointment and just say it's regarding the possibility of a recommendation, so they have an idea as to why you're in their office, and bring with you a transcript and a resume, and flesh out the resume with details that would be helpful for them, and aren't usually there.  Or else, give them your usual resume, and write a "biography" of your life at college, with achievements, activities, etc, that aren't on your resume.  That way, this person that doesn't know you incredibly well will have a wealth of info to work from.

Also, try for professors you've taken for more than one class.  And, as an alternative, if you've had grad students teaching smaller discussion sections (which is how it generally works for where I went, BU, another huge school), you can always ask them.  Interviews with admissions officials in quite a few books have touched on the fact that a TA's rec is generally as valuable as a professor's, since this person has taught you and worked with you academically in situations just like this, where the prof is teaching 200 students and will never get to know all of them.

Kwertee

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Re: Anyone else really nervous about getting LOR's??
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2004, 08:46:30 AM »
I am in your exact position.  I am choosing one prof from each of my majors in whose class I got an A.  However, I didn't much talk to any of them out of class other than an office visit or two for a question.  I was planning on bringing in some of my work from their class along with my other info.  This is actually the part of my apps I have been the most nervous about (even more than the LSAT) because I don't know what I will do if they say no.

mukhia

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Re: Anyone else really nervous about getting LOR's??
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2004, 10:29:57 AM »
I know I should probably search the board to see if someone already answered this, but do I really need to have two recommendations from professors?  I have been out of school for almost four years and can only think of one professor who would know me well enough to write me a LOR.  I can't even remember names of some of my profs anymore!  Can I do two LOR from work and one from school?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

jacy85

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Re: Anyone else really nervous about getting LOR's??
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2004, 11:51:06 AM »
I think exact requests differ by schools.  But generally, since you are applying to an academic insitution, schools PREFER academic recs.  I would definitely think long and hard, and try to come up with a second professor, and then get one from work.  4 years really isn't that long of a time.  If, after trying, you can't track professors down or whatever, then go for the work recs, but I think you'd be better served with 2 academic recs if at all possible.

RockyMtnHighMama

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Re: Anyone else really nervous about getting LOR's??
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2004, 10:58:36 PM »
Being out of school 17 years, I went with non-professor LOR's. One was the local head of the volunteer organization I've dedicated time to over the last 9 years, and the other was a friend who knows and has observed my organization, teaching, research and writing skills in the volunteer setting. Both have 'impressive' letterhead status.

I have since found out that U of Colorado looks for community involvement, so I feel even more confident that these LOR's will do the job.

mukhia

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Re: Anyone else really nervous about getting LOR's??
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2004, 03:18:31 PM »
Well, the only other professor I can think of who could write me a meaningful LOR had vacillating moodswings and although I received A's in the two classes I took with him, I'm kind of worried about what he may write about and how pertinent it may be.  He used to go off into political and social tangents quite often throughout class.  I suppose I should check with the schools I'm going to apply to.  Thanks jacy85 - hope Duke will still love you!

jacy85

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Re: Anyone else really nervous about getting LOR's??
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2004, 03:24:17 PM »
No problem mukhia.  I'd give the guy a call and see what he says.  If it sounds as though his rec may be iffy, then I'd look for someone else.  Is there someone other than an employer?  Have you done any community service or anything?  Church activities?  Something else?  If you can pull a third rec from something not work related, perhaps that can help balance you out.  I think that's what another poster, jeffjoe, did.  If I recall, he got one from his priest, a work rec, and I want to say a lawyer for the third.  Granted, he's been out of school for quite a while, but the varied recs gave him some balance, in my opinion.

(and I hope Duke loves me too!  But I'm not gonna hold my breath!  :))