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Found 33 results

  1. I got my BFA 10 years ago this Spring, and have been almost entirely away from academia since then. I decided (unfortunately, sort of last-minute - the timing has never worked out until now) that I wanted to try applying to a specific MFA program this year, and because of how long I've been out of school, I'm concerned about professor recommendations. So far, I have 1 current teacher recommendation (I'm taking a class at community college in the field I'm looking to apply for), and 1 former employer (not really related to my field, but we had a long working relationship). My third recommendation was going to be from my BFA thesis advisor. She recently replied to my request email to say that while she'd be (tentatively, from the tone of the email) happy to do it, she recommends finding someone who is more familiar with my work, and with whom I have a more current relationship. (My tendency to not keep in touch with people is now biting me in the butt.) The problem is that aside from the 2 other recommendations, I don't really HAVE anyone that fits the bill. I'm not sure what to do in this case. So far, the options I can see are as follows: -Ask another former teacher with whom I had fewer classes, but have (sort of, ish? we're friends on Facebook?) kept in touch with more over the years -Ask another former supervisor at the same job as my other former employer, so I would have 2 employer recommendations from the same place -Go with this teacher and provide really thorough supplemental materials for the application -Is there something else I'm not thinking of, here? (Besides going back in time to deal with past-me's mistakes?) Advice is appreciated!
  2. Am I doomed?

    Hey all So I'm applying to phd programs in political science and generally think my profile is pretty good, my only concern is with one letter of recommendation. I've been out of school for nearly a decade and kept in touch with and have fabulous letters from two professors but my third LOR is from my employer. I know it's also a great, and very supportive, letter but am concerned that because it isn't from a university faculty member that I will be at a disadvantage. Does anyone have any insight into this? Thanks!
  3. Hey everyone, I am missing my last letter of rec three days past the deadline and my professor is unresponsive. So, I thought I'd share my story and see if anyone had additional horror tales of getting letters from professors to help me calm down. After emailing all the professors I really admired and did well with, I received some great advice. Paraphrasing, it was something along the lines of ask people in your lab, if you've done research with them their opinion matters exponentially more. It just so happens that I worked in two labs, but I had to leave one due to a huge personal crisis that took away time needed to do quality work. Although I did not think the professor liked me as a result, I decided to go for this professor so I would have 3 letters from professors whose labs I'd been in. He agreed to do it surprisingly and I sent my cv and statement of purpose to him 3 weeks prior to deadline. It's worthy to note that this professor is a sweetheart and he did like me until I had to quit. Then, 5 days prior to the deadline, I realized that the email I used for his letter of rec address online was completely WRONG, so he never received a reminder or instructions for submission. He probably thought that i went with a professor who didn't waste time training a research associate. I changed it right away and emailed him, no response. I emailed his other email with some irrelevant content, no response. I legit tracked down his class, waited for him outside his lecture two days later, ran after him, and asked about his letter the day before the deadline was. Said he'll do it this weekend and turn it in early next week. Monday morning is here I haven't heard from him in 4 days and I don't know what steps to take next, but await my miserable fate and denial letters. The horrible part is its mostly my fault. it's really impossible to get a professor to write one last minute too, and my only hope is to get grad student friends, who have offered to write one last minute because they have been there, to help. However, I just in all honesty have no idea where i stand with the last letter, so meh.
  4. Hi, I'm an international student who's applying to PhD programs in English. I'm new to this forum and not sure this is the proper place where I can ask this question, but please allow me. Yesterday, I sent out some of the links for LoRs, accidentally not waiving my right to access them. As soon as I realized this, I sent an email to the grad admissions to ask whether it's possible to undo my mistake. The upside is that I haven't completed the applications yet. The downside, however, is that all of my recommenders completed submitting their letters... I'm worried if there would be no way to undo this mistake. Has anybody had a similar experience? Would it affect the adcoms' decisions if I cannot undo it? Any comments and opinions will be appreciated!
  5. Choosing Letter Writters

    I'm stuck on who to choose to write my LOR. I was involved in helping out a grad student at the University of Michigan. I am not sure if I should ask her or her advisor for a letter of rec. She can speak much more on my behalf because I worked with her constantly and I never really got the chance to see her advisor much, but his name is much more well known in the scientific community. How much does that matter? He is a very busy man, I am a little intimidated by him, and I recently went to a conference where I saw him quite a few times and they were awkward interactions in my opinion. I'm not really sure if I should ask him or not? Also, is it a bad idea to submit 4 LOR, instead of 3? I have been hearing that an extra doesn't hurt, but that it annoys admissions and gives them the opinion that the applicant can't follow directions. Thank you!
  6. I am applying to Mechanical Engineering PhD programs. The weakest part of my application is my GPA, which I explain in my statement of purpose was due to being a three-sport, Division I athlete (yes I know I should've spent more time on studying because it's my future and athletics is not, I know, I know). Prof 1: Been in four of his mechanical engineering classes, told me he would give his highest recommendation for me in the letter. This one is a #1 keeper for all my applications. Prof 2: Adviser for a senior design project and was in his mechanical engineering class. Also a very good recommendation, my #2. Coach: Confirm long practice time and commitment to team, varsity 4 years, captain 1 year. (Do grad schools even care about this?) Boss: Industry work consisted mostly of 3D modeling and engineering design but we also gathered data about our process and analyzed it to improve it and make it more efficient. Am slightly worried about his writing skills/this being his first letter. I gave him heavy notes on how to write the letter and suggested a lot of content but he is adamantly and engineer and openly knows he is not great with writing etiquette. Questions: For applications that ask for 2 letters: I will include the two professors. Should I include, as supplementary, the one from my coach, or boss, or both? For applications that ask for 3 letters: I will include the two professors. Which should be the 3rd? Should the 4th be supplementary? Thank you in advance.
  7. LOR issue

    Hi y'all, I have a question about how to handle a specific LOR. I know you all don't know this person and their specific habits, so I'm just looking for suggestions on possible avenues of action. I had a mentor in undergrad who helped me on my senior thesis. I was also a TA for this person. We had a good relationship. This person has written LORs for me in the past. Sadly this professor was just a visiting professor, and their contract ended this past summer. The university did not renew. This did not detour me from asking for a LOR for my apps this fall. Said professor usually takes a while to respond but eventually gets back (might be something like two weeks later). As they do not have an e-mail with the university anymore (I asked other professors who knew them for their new email. They did not know it.), I messaged them on FB them halfway through September, in order to give them time. I did this with all my professors, though only over FB with this specific professor. No response, though the first message is read on FB. I waited a month and then sent another. They did not even open it this time. We've communicated on FB in the past, and I knew through any medium it always takes a bit for them to respond. The messages I sent were generic: "Hey, how are you doing? I'm applying to some schools, etc". I gave them the option to say no, but I just asked they tell me that they can't do it, so I can get a definitive answer and ask someone else. I've always thanked them for their LORs. This LOR is probably my most important, as I was closest to them, they helped me on my senior project, and also taught me in language courses relevant to my research. I was hoping they would cover langauge abilities and research abilities in the LOR. What should I do? I've though of asking my other LORs (who are friends with this person) to message them. I've also debated sending a third, and final, message. I don't know if I contacted too early? My other professors responded, and I like to be courteous and give them a heads up. Any who, some suggestions might be helpful. Thanks
  8. Hi everyone, I'm currently working on finalizing my personal statement and resume to send to professors that agreed to write me a LOR. Last semester I took two classes with a professor that agreed to write me a LOR because I got an A in each class. How do I remind him to write me the LORs without sounding annoying or pushy? I would rather send him an email than randomly show up during his office hours. Thank you in advance!
  9. So I'm applying to Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering Master's Programs for Fall 2018. MY question is about letters of recommendation. Most of my applications ask for 3 LORs. Should I get all 3 of my letters from professors or would it be better to get one of the three letters from an engineer that supervised me at one of my internships? If it helps, I was a mechanical engineering major and the internship was at an automotive plant. My top school, Northeastern, seems to be concentrated on giving grads co-op experience. So I was thinking to replace Professor 3 with my internship supervisor. Let me know what you guys think! LOR candidates: Professor 1: My research mentor for my conference paper Professor 2: Head of ME department; Professor of my research seminar; Head of one of the engineering clubs I was in Professor 3: The professor that I was a Teacher's Assistant for (1 year) Engineer: One of my supervisors during my automotive plant internship
  10. I'm applying to PhD programs in Industrial Organizational psychology, and a few in Human Factors psychology. I have two professors in the Human Factors department of my university who have agreed to write me strong letters of recommendation. As for my third letter, I would like to ask my graduate mentor, as I've been working with her the last few years, and she's directly overseeing my honors thesis project. The only thing her and I are worried about is that she's still a PhD candidate. She's in her fifth year, and will likely have her PhD just as the deadlines for applications are closing. Will this likely put a dent in my application? I've gotten a lot of strong, opposing opinions on this.
  11. I'm just starting the process of getting ready to apply to grad school for my masters and the requirement for the letters of recommendation has me a little worried. I haven't been a student in over 10 years, and I've been out of the full time work force for a little over 6 years. I did some consulting work part time for my old firm since I've had kids, but I've also moved since then and my company was bought out twice. I'm currently the PTO (parent teacher organization) co-chair at my kids' private preschool, but that's all I've got. Any ideas?
  12. I know grad schools usually need three recommendation letters, and I think I have a good three from my department lined up (I haven't asked yet though!). However, I could also add a 4th one, as the professor offered to write me one (more as a character reference though, and not really speaking to academics/research) - is that okay and not overkill? Some more info: the 4th recommender is outside of my university (and outside of my field), but he is a fairly recent Nobel Laureate and is a well-respected researcher in his field! Thanks very much!
  13. Hey all! I am a junior at CSU Fullerton and I'm just wondering when is the perfect time to ask for Letters of Rec? I am planning to apply for Fall 2018 (my estimated graduation date is Spring '18) and I already have 2 professors in mind to ask but I just don't know when and how to go about it. Do I ask this ongoing Spring semester? Do I ask in the upcoming Fall semester? It seems to be something that no one really talks about or explains clearly, so I'm a bit confused. Any advice or tips will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
  14. Hey guys, I just need some opinions about choosing a final LOR writer. My first two are basically set in stone: 1) My thesis supervisor (for obvious reasons) 2) A prof for a class that was very quantitative, and I'm intending to send in my final project (expanded and with edits) to try and get it published. I'm pretty torn about the last one. I have two options, as of now: 1) A previous adviser under whom I did an undergraduate literature review with. Their work is somewhat relevant to what I intend on investigating for my graduate research. However, I haven't spoken with them since 2013/2014. 2) A joint letter of recommendation from the professor of two of my more recent courses, which involved field work and a paper, and the lab instructor for one of said courses. This would be valuable in that I TA one of her courses and work with the lab instructor. My struggle here is that, by asking my previous adviser, it would show that I was interested in my field of study for a long time. However, the second recommender would allow me to show more facets aside from research skills. Any and all advice would be appreciated.
  15. HELP! Has anyone else had this same problem??? I am applying to the same grad school that I attended for undergrad, which means that I will be potentially having the same exact professors that I have had for the last four years. All of my professors for my undergrad program are on the board of admissions for the graduate school program. Asking them to write the recommendations seems like a conflict of interest, because they are also the ones determining whether or not I will be accepted into the program. Although I have good grades in most of my classes, I'm not sure that any professors I've had in my gen. ed courses would even remember me, or know me well enough to write a strong recommendation. Has anyone else applied to the same Master's program as their Undergrad program? How did you handle this situation?
  16. Late LOR

    I'm applying for several Microbiology programs that have deadlines on November 30th or December 1st - all of which require 3 letters of recommendation. I've gotten two in already, but the most important one from my Honors senior research faculty advisor has not been submitted. I asked him well in advance (in September-October, and he knew I'd be applying to grad programs anyway) and my college is very small so there is no way he would forget who I am. I also am one of the two people doing honors research with him. He has always been hard to contact through email, and I sent him a reminder three days ago, but he has not replied to any of my emails asking for confirmation that my LOR is complete. While he assured me before winter break that he would write the letter, I am starting to really panic. There's only one day before the first deadlines begin, and my dream is to continue my education. Not to mention all the money and time I spent on this application process. Would it be too forward of me to call him? He gave me his cell number when I started doing lab work with him, and I figure it is my last resort. I know that some programs may offer leeway when it comes to the deadline for LORs, but he is the most important recommender because he can testify to my lab experience/capabilities. Hopefully I don't explode from all this stress.
  17. Hi Everyone, I'd like some opinions on letter of recommendation trouble I'm having. (Asking here so I can get a humanities/English Lit perspective.) I've done a little digging around the forums, but still thought starting a new thread could be helpful. For some quick context, I was originally planning to apply to PhD programs last year, but for a myriad of reasons decided to postpone to 2016. I reached out to 3 letter writers last year, all of which responded to me at least once. Two had agreed to write letters, but did encourage my decision to wait on applying. The third, let's call him Prof. 3, sent along a series of requirements needed before he could agree to write a letter, but then never responded to my follow up question about meeting on campus. Fast forward to now - I reached out to the same three professors again. Two have responded enthusiastically/agreed to write strong letters and Prof. 3 has, well, not responded. I reached out to him during the last week of October for applications due the 1st full week of December (similar to last year) and sent a follow up on Nov. 6th. With two unanswered e-mails, do I keep bumping Prof. 3 for a letter? I live in a different state from where I got my MA, so while I can get to the college for a face-to-face visit, it'd be a 30-1hr drive depending on traffic. His office hours are all during the morning/afternoon (I work full time) and, since I've been out of school for a few years, it may a bit strange for me to show up unannounced. Should I just call (which also feels a little strange)? How many follow-ups should I send before giving up? What do I even say at this point? :/ If I can't get a hold of Prof. 3, how much would my application be hurt by getting a non-academic recommendation? The other professors I would even think of contacting have both retired and I don't have their contact information. Plus, I'm pretty sure my old boss would be more than happy to write a letter for me. Any thoughts...?
  18. Hi all, I was very excited when I got the idea of asking one of my clients to write a recommendation letter (I assist people facing legal issues with food stamps and public assistance). When I spoke to a previous professor, however, she immediately cautioned against that because she advised me to get two academic letters of recommendation to demonstrate my abilities in an academic setting. She said that I should just ask my supervisor to quote the client in her letter of recommendation. What do y'all think of this? Thank you!
  19. Hi, I'm planning to apply to MPP programs this fall but I have a problem with the 3 letters of recommendation requirement. I have been out of school for 6 years (2 short internships after graduating which were 3 months each, one three-year job, current job has been 2 years) Letter 1 - current employer (will be a solid letter) Letter 2 - professor who is at the policy school of my undergrad institution (will be a solid letter) Letter 3 - Executive Director from one of my 3-month internships (would be a solid letter if I ask him...) Please be honest with me: will letter 3 be a problem? It would make the most sense to have Letter 3 come from my three-year job, but for reason XYZ I don't want to do that. Do you think this will hurt my application?
  20. Fall 2017 thread

    Hi grad cafe, I didn't see a thread for fall 2017 applications in the Linguistics forum yet, so I figured I'd take the initiative. I'm looking to study linguistic identity and language policy as they relate to social, economic, and political inequality, so I'm applying to a couple different types of programs. Relevant for this thread are the programs in Sociolinguistics at Georgetown, as well as Educational Linguistics at UPenn and Second Language Education at Minnesota. One of my former linguistics professors, who is writing an LOR for me, highly recommended that I apply to the latter two programs based on my research interests, although I'm not 100% sold on the education bent. She spoke highly of Prof Nancy Hornberger at UPenn and Prof Kendall King at Minnesota, and they're researching exactly what I'm interested in, but I don't want to pigeonhole myself as strictly an educational language policy person. I'm also applying to the joint Ph.D. programs in Sociology & Social Policy at Harvard and Princeton. Does anyone else have thoughts on schools? I studied psychology and linguistics at a top 3 university and graduated in summer 2015 with honors. Since then, I've been working as an analyst on fair lending issues, particularly for folks with limited English proficiency, at a financial regulator in DC. My GRE (167 V, 161 Q, 5.0 W) and GPA (3.72/ 4.00) are both solid, but I'm still worried that I'm not going to be competitive. I have 2/3 professors confirmed to write me letters, and I think they'll write strong ones, but I'm still trying to nail down a third and I'm getting worried. Does anyone have thoughts on applying to PhD programs with 2 academic LORs and 1 non-academic? I'm sure my supervisor would write a strong letter about me and my work ethic, but I thought it would weaken my application. I also have no idea if my SOP is solid. I think it looks good at this point, but I don't have anyone in my field to ask for advice. What resources are you all using to polish your materials? Anyway, thanks for the support, even if indirect, from this thread. It's nice to have a community of people working toward a common goal!
  21. One the professors I asked for a letter of recommendation has not yet responded to my request. It has been three days since I sent it her the email (I live in a different state, so couldn't ask in person). I haven't seen or spoken to her in three or four years, but I felt like we had a fairly good relationship when I was in school, I got an A in her class, and she advised me to apply for a distinguished majors program in my department (which I was accepted to), and she's written me a number of recommendation letters in the past for internships, etc. I don't necessarily think this is her subtle way of saying not to ask, but I am getting paranoid... I am going back to my university soon to visit a friend who is in law school there. Would it be weird if I just dropped in to see her during office hours to ask? In my first email, I asked if she would be willing to meet with me when I was in town… If I can’t (or shouldn’t try to) see her in-person, how long should I wait to email her again? And how many times should I email her before I give up? I would prefer to use her, because the other professor I wanted to ask no longer works at any university and (if I can even get in contact with him) would be writing from a gmail address.
  22. Hi All, I'm planning to send my LOR requests soon, but I'm struggling over the email. I've gotten input from so many people, but I feel like there's still something missing from this email. I'm hoping that you all will be able to help. The draft email is below, personal information redacted... Please let me know what you think! Hi Professor Awesome, I hope you are doing well! It’s been too long since we last spoke! I believe it was when you helped me get my current job at X by acting as a reference. I’ve been at X for three years now and have learned a lot there. Thank you again for your help with that application and all the other letters of recommendation that you’ve written for me over the years. You have been instrumental in my success, and I greatly appreciate your support! I was hoping that I might be able to impose upon you once again for a letter of recommendation. I am applying for eight masters’ programs in international relations for the Fall 2017 term, along with the X and X Fellowships—most of the applications are due in early-to-mid-January. I would be very grateful if you could write a letter of recommendation for my applications. On another note, if you’re available the weekend of Month, day, I will be in Collegetown, and would love to buy you coffee and catch up if you have a free half-hour. Thank you again for your help and for considering this request. All the best, First Name
  23. Hello, I am a junior in college and I plan to pursue a PhD in Computer Science. I have a question about obtaining a Letter of Recommendation from an employer. Let me begin by saying I am aware PhD admission committees prefer letters from academic faculty, and I apologize if this is a repeat question. Here's my dilemma: So I interned at a robotics startup this summer, and they want to me come back next summer. However, I explained to them that I want to do a research internship under a professor next summer for grad school. They told me that they would give me some research-like robotics/ML project to work on and that the CEO, who happens to be a very well known name in robotics industry and academia, could provide me a letter of rec. I am not sure if a letter from her would be as good as a letter from a professor or research scientist and if my experience there would count as undergrad research experience. I'm on the fence about whether I should accept the offer, only since the employer is well regarded in academia. Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you very much!
  24. Hello! This year I am taking pre-reqs for the master's program and I am also applying right now to master's programs. I've heard that other people have asked my current professors (in the classes that started yesterday) for letters of rec and were successful in doing so. However, I want to ask people who are my current professors. Should I wait until after the final when I have received my grade or right before the final which gives a little more time for the deadlines? I know to attach a resume and statement of purpose and all that, but I need advice on when to ask for a letter of rec from a current prof?
  25. Hi there! So I'm in a bit of a conundrum, and would like to hear your ideas for solutions. I'm aiming to apply to JHU's SAIS MA by Nov. 1st for a fall 2017 entrance (I know-- I want that early deadline advantage!) I need two letters of rec, and at least one from a professor. In February of this year, a professor who I was a research assistant for as an undergrad, reached out to me to help her edit her trade dispute assessment paper to make it more agreeable and clarify complex ideas in preparation for publication at an American law journal. My job was basically to provide an educated layman's perspective on her paper. Having been her research assistant in the past, I assume she believed me credible enough to help her edit her paper. I was stoked, to say the least. Due to some complications on her end, the research assistantship was put on hold for a few months. In July--after those issues were resolved-- we reconnected to start the work again. The work went fine. Or so I thought. I prepped for each Skype date (I'm living abroad and she's stateside), we discussed and made changes levelheadedly, and it continued this way for the length of the assistantship--which was to my disbelief only a few days. In exchange for helping her, she agreed to write my letter of rec, and pay $10/hour-- above the going rate for RA compensation. In the end, she asked me for a quote on the amount she owed me. I gave her the quote--which was based on my preparation time, Skype time, and brief work done in February. I ended with a humble call to action for the letter of rec. My quote drew a sour response from her-- to the point where, out of left field, she expressed harbored frustration with the work I did, refused to acknowledge any work done in February, and discussion ultimately ended with me apologizing for misunderstanding the time I would be compensated for, and laconic, single-noted responses from her. However, in her final email, she was confusingly cordial. Short, but cordial. But no mention of the letter of rec. As an alternative recommender, I've thought to contact my French professor-- who I took a majority of my upper-division French classes with, and who has written a letter of rec for me in the past-- but it's been about 3 years since I last contacted her, and 7 years since I studied under her... and honestly my Korean is probably better than my French at this point. My questions: Is it worth trying to repair the relationship with Professor A (either for a letter of rec or just for the sake of not burning bridges)? Can a recommendation from a professor from so long ago really strengthen my application? If so, how? Thanks in advance for your insight!