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AcademicGround >> Who/How to ask for letters of rec.


2/11/06 9:08 AM
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signaljammer
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Edited: 11-Feb-06
Member Since: 06/25/2003
Posts: 1106
 
I'm a transfer student at my university, and have only been going here 2 semesters... (for math and computer science.) I'm a good student but I've never had the same teacher twice and don't know any that well outside of class participation... I don't graduate for another year yet, but I was wondering about asking for letters of recommendation for grad school. Is there some kind of protocol for this? I've never asked for one before.
2/11/06 11:39 AM
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dracovich
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Edited: 11-Feb-06
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 7898
Well i couldn't tell you about grad school, but i needed two of them to apply as an international exchange student as an undergrad. Basicly i went to two professors that were teaching me at the time, and asked them beforehand if i could get a recommendation at the end of the course if they felt i deserved one and they said sure. Basicly i did it because it's often hard for professors to remember you if it's someone you had a while ago, and i figured if i went to them beforehand they'd take more notice and make an effort to see if i was someone they'd want to put their name behind. I don't know how the system in your country works, but the two i asked both taught me in recitation class (basicly problem solving class), so i made an effort of always having finished my homework before the class and volunteering to do the problems on the blackboard to try and leave an impression. I think it'd be harder to do that with someone who just lectured me. Then when the courses were over and i'd gotten graded, i went back to them and got two great recommendations.
2/11/06 5:03 PM
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Andrew Yao
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Edited: 11-Feb-06
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 3189
Since you still have another year, try to get an independent study or ask them if they need any help with any research(first find out which ones are doing research that interests you). You can usually get class credit, but even if not, it's a good investment. Then they will know you pretty well. You really only need one good letter where the person knows you well. The other two can be just from teachers you have had in a class.
2/24/06 1:39 AM
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FiatLux
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Edited: 24-Feb-06
Member Since: 03/12/2002
Posts: 4077
I found this to be the hardest part of graduate school application in all honesty. Finding 3 or 4 solid teacher to write you a letter can be very taxing. The only advice I can give you is to find professors who you get along with outside of class. If you are involved in any clubs or groups, try to talk with the professors who support the group and build a relationship. One thing I did was meet with someone like that, and eventually I ended up taking an independent study class with him my last semester. Another very basic things you can do to feel people out is to take papers to them and ask for extra help or additonal input on making your work better. Also, look for teachers who are interested in what you are, even though you might not have taken their classes yet. Good examples of this are professors who serve in support roles for honor societies, student journals, or other related activies.
4/24/06 3:52 AM
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FightFan424
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Edited: 24-Apr-06
Member Since: 04/10/2003
Posts: 248
ttt
8/5/08 2:10 PM
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shen
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Member Since: 1/1/01
Posts: 8132
Dracovitch has the right idea.

My brother teaches at Rutgers University and has told me about students --he didn't even recognize-- demanding "letters of recommendation" from him, which of course they need "right away".

That's NOT the way to do it.

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