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Author Topic: Help get me started!  (Read 584 times)

Harper

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Help get me started!
« on: May 05, 2006, 04:35:21 PM »
Any help with this would be much appreciated.  Here's my situation:  out of school for 5 years, applying in the fall.  I'll have a couple good recs from work, I'm pretty sure, but my advisor suggests that at least one academic rec would be nice.  As an undergrad, I never thought I'd be applying to ls, so I never lined up any recs back in the day.

There is one professor in particular I really enjoyed; I was in her junior tutorial, and she advised me on my senior thesis until I decided to drop it (personal reasons, not academic).  But it was a pretty big school, and she has since moved on to Washington & Lee - nowhere near where I live.  I feel awkward emailing her after this long to ask for a rec.  I did well in her class, but the truth is she probably doesn't remember me. 

Following a lot of previous good advice read here, I'm ready to send to her copies of any and all of the work I did for her, including my junior paper (I even still have her comments on it).  I'm also prepared to explain to her what I'm doing now, and why I want to go to law school.  In other words, I know more or less what I have to do.  I just am having trouble getting started!  What's the appropriate way to start my email to her?  "Hi!  Remember me?"?  "You may not remember me, but I got an A in your tutorial a few years back..."?  "Hey, what's up?"? 

I know this is a lame thing to ask in a post, but I'd love to hear any suggestions for how to open up a request email like this.  I've never been good at asking favors of people. 

Thanks!

   


juliemccoy

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Re: Help get me started!
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2006, 04:37:08 PM »
Don't email her. Call her.
Vanderbilt 2010

queencruella

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Re: Help get me started!
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2006, 04:40:18 PM »
I'm not sure I'd call. I think it's best to write her an email that refers to your previous work with her and send her the text of your PS to pique her interest. If you just call her without warning, she may not remember you and the call could be awkward. If you email first and give her a little reminder and then call to follow up a few days later, hopefully that will yield a good result.

The Dread Pirate Roberts

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Re: Help get me started!
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2006, 04:42:09 PM »
Asking for recommendations is always uncomfortable, which makes this a very reasonable (and common) question.  I'd second emailing for the reasons queencruella gave.

It's going to sound a little awkward no matter how you write it, but keep in mind that writing letters of recommendation is part of college professors' jobs.  They expect to be asked, even if the student wasn't their bestest friend or research assistant.  

I'd go with something along the lines of "Hi,  I hope you're having a good semester.  I was in your X class and Y thesis.  I'm now applying to law school and was hoping that you'd be willing to write me a recommendation.  Blah blah, what I've been doing since college.  I've included some of the work I did in your class in case you'd like to take a look at it (if you have something of the sort)."

Basically be polite but don't worry about the wording too much; your request is extremely reasonable.

Good luck.

Alamo

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Re: Help get me started!
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2006, 05:12:24 PM »
I did the same thing - I hadn't talked to my undergrad advisor in 5 years and then got in touch by email.  You'd be amazed at the memories most professors have.  This is a good time of year to be doing it too, right as finals are ending and professors have some free time opening up.  I'd email, and make sure you include your phone number in the email so that she can call you if you'd like. 
I must admit that I may have been infected with society's prejudices and predilections and attributed them to God . . . and that in years hence I may be seen as someone who was on the wrong side of history.  I don't believe such doubts make me a bad Christian.  I believe they make me human . . .

Harper

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Re: Help get me started!
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2006, 11:23:11 AM »
Thanks for the encouragement, y'all.   :)  It helps alleviate the awkwardness to think that recs are a typical part of a professor's job.  I'll write her early next week.