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AcademicGround >> letters of recommendations


11/17/07 2:30 PM
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turtle9uard
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Edited: 17-Nov-07
Member Since: 01/27/2006
Posts: 4002
 
Hello all, I am currently an undergraduate majoring in sport and exercise science. I plan to go grad school to further my education. Perhaps get research experience in exercise physiology. My overall GPA is pretty damn mediocre at ~ 2.78 as of this post. The schools I am interested in say that a 2.75 will look at my entire application I will still try to apply for grad because some schools will look at your grades from the major. I had As and Bs in my classes that apply to my major. However some things about the process makes me anxious. Asking for letters of recommendations can help you or break you depending how much your prof think of you. According to my peers, it is a matter of sucking up in addition to the solid work done in class. I am quiet and reserved in real life... any tips on this issue of letters of recs? Do I go around and ask for letters from professors who I think like me? help please.
11/19/07 3:56 AM
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Seul
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Edited: 19-Nov-07
Member Since: 09/18/2002
Posts: 819
I'm right there with you.... I made amazingly little impact on just about all of my professors (they don't like it when you miss class a lot and skirt by on the exams, i have found); additionally, my GPA is about 2.2, though i am fortunately not interested in grad school for my economics major. I'm starting on an exercise science degree next spring, I'm very excited (something I wanted to do before I started with economics, but I was afraid of switching tracks at that point). Hopefully I can apply the lessons I learned while fucking myself over the last 1 1/2 years and do well. Have you tried talking with them during their office hours? Not necessarily about assignments, just about the subject in general (anything that interests you). Generally a professor is interested in their subject of study; provide a willing and interested ear for their thoughts (and spend some time with them to establish a rapport on a one-on-one basis, i am similarly reserved and i find this an easier venue than a full classroom to share my thoughts) and they'll probably come to think pretty well of you, regardless of your performance in their class. Best of luck.
11/19/07 2:59 PM
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FiatLux
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Edited: 19-Nov-07
Member Since: 03/12/2002
Posts: 4974
Basically the only way to show professors that you're serious is to see them for some reason outside of class. If you hadn't already been doing this for a semester (or longer) with 3-4 professors you might be in trouble.
11/19/07 3:44 PM
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winnidon
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Edited: 19-Nov-07
Member Since: 11/30/2002
Posts: 224
To my knowledge, most universities have a faculty of Graduate Studies that sets a minimum GPA in order to be accepted into any graduate program. I've never heard of one being below 3.0. In any case, some departments tend to be more concerned with your GPA in your last 2 years of fulltime classwork as well as classes in your major. So, I would approach professors that (a)taught senior classes in your major and (b)where you got a grade of A or better for a recommendation. When doing so, be sure to ask if they would be willing to write you a GOOD letter -- as a mediocre letter will, most likely, seriously hurt your application (especially if your GPA is not high). Also, keep in mind that letters from professors that are well-known in their field tend to carry more weight. If you've recently written an A paper, you might want to give that to the professor(s) you ask so they have further evidence of your awesomness to write about. Best of luck!
11/22/07 9:34 PM
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thesleeper
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Edited: 22-Nov-07
Member Since: 08/31/2007
Posts: 325
And if you can't get good letters of recommendation, take some graduate courses at your uni with the specific aim of establishing relationships with the prof and getting good grades of course. Good luck and research what your job prospects are before you borrow money for a masters or Phd.
12/4/07 11:42 AM
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Ted Bennett
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Edited: 04-Dec-07
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 7850

Good luck - not to put too fine a point on it, but asking about how to get good letters of rec right before applying to grad school is like asking the day before a BJJ tournament what you can do to help your cardio - it's something that should have been in the bag by that point.

If you *do* have the time, take a couple classes that you're likely to enjoy, get the prof to know you, ask questions but don't be an obnoxious shit, talk to him/her before or after class, etc. Make them think you're interested in the class material as well as how cool of a person you are. It also goes without saying to bust your ass in the class and get a great (not just good) grade.

I've written letters for folks when I taught, and that's what I looked for. Not suprisingly, that's how I approached it when I was trying to get into grad school, too - picked out a few classes ahead of time, got to know the prof, was sociable before/after class, asked some questions to show I was interested, and made damn sure I got the highest grade in the class. I still have the letters they wrote for me, and while they're all over the place in terms of style (e.g., one talked about how smart he thought I was, while another completely skipped over anything academically related and talked about how I was "an honorable man," that was kinda weird but cool, while another mentioned how I wasn't afraid to debate the teacher on picky issues and seemed genuinely curious about the info, another said I seemed like a good guy to have as a colleague because I was fun to talk to and not an arrogant prick, etc.).  :-P

3/31/08 5:02 AM
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turtle9uard
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Edited: 31-Mar-08 05:08 AM
Member Since: 01/27/2006
Posts: 4582
Thanks all. Sorry it took so long to reply but I appreciate everyone posting their inputs. The school (SJSU) I am applying to is only asking for a 2.75 GPA. Yeah strange. They are not even requiring the GRE or any letters of rec. (thought they told me it could change in the future). But it's the location, the school itself, and the MMA/judo/MA around the area. Great school for me.
3/31/08 4:05 PM
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Polaris
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Edited: 31-Mar-08
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 2323
"additionally, my GPA is about 2.2, though i am fortunately not interested in grad school for my economics major." lol, you sound kind of like me. I'm a Finance major, I really can't say I like it too much. I have zero passion for it. I feel I very much made a mistake more and more. Luckily I went to a community college (easy as hell) for the first half so my GPA is pretty padded, but it's been on the decline since I transfered to Uni. I don't know what the future holds for me.

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