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  1. Hey guys, need some help figuring out who to ask to write my letters. I have 5 options. 1. Psych professor I have done quite a bit of research with, knows me well, has taught me in class, and went to my first choice school for his Ph.D. as well (not sure if that holds any weight). No clinical background though. 2. Psych professor (not had me in class) I've only known for a few months but have worked extensively with. I don't know him quite as well, but I know he can speak for my research experience and work ethic. Has clinical background. 3. Psych professor (not had me in class) I work with a lot, not really doing research, but helping him complete tasks such as edit the psych book he is writing. Has clinical background. Can definitely speak on my work ethic. 4. Religious studies professor. Relevant because I'm wanting to specialize in religion/spirituality. I have had him for 3 classes, talk with him frequently. He knows me very well and will definitely write a good letter. Can speak for my participation in classes/discussions and writing capabilities. 5. Supervisor for my job as a general psychology instructor. Not sure how valuable teaching experience would be.
  2. This is my second time applying for PhD programs. The first round, I lived in the same city as my recommendation writers and it was easier to buy them thank you gifts (I graduated and my final grades were already submitted.) I wrote them each a thank you card and bought them each specialty coffee and a nice notebook. For a professor I was really close with, I also bought him an academic book recently released that was in his field. However, right now I am living abroad and I am not sure what to do for my writers that is thoughtful without breaking the bank-- send something wrapped via amazon, flowers, etc. Looking for suggestions!
  3. To start a much-needed thread (in hopes of shedding some light on an aspect of humanities graduate admissions that is truly mysterious): What, in the name of all that is good and decent, are grad programs/ad-comms really looking for in letters of recommendation? Almost all letters surely sound pretty similar right? What sets some letters apart? What makes others bad? If anyone has any expertise/experience in this area, please enlighten us--but everyone feel free to opine.
  4. Hi everyone- quick question regarding LOR requests. Upon filling out my applications, I realized I sent one of my requests to an erroneous email (for simplicity sake, let's say I used .com instead of .edu when typing it in). The program does not allow me to change the email after a request has been sent, so I had to "exclude" that recommendation and subsequently resend a different, correct one. The correct one is now successfully submitted. My question is - will this "excluded" request be visible by those reviewing the application and could it possibly be viewed negatively -- indicating carelessness? If this is the case, should I contact the school and see if there is a way they can manually remove the excluded request from my application package? Or am I being silly and this is nothing to worry about? Thanks for the help!
  5. Hello all! I've had a couple concerns about letters of recommendations and application due dates. I decided to apply to grad school a little later than usual and CSUs have a priority application deadline , which is November 30th (is this possibly only for undergrad?). Four references agreed to write me letters, but seeing I only gave myself three weeks to submit applications, I don't want to force my references to rush to meet a due date if I don't have to. So my questions are: 1. Is there actually a priority application period for CSU SLP grad programs and 2. Must letters of recommendation be submitted by the application deadline or can they be accepted after application submission? Thank you!!
  6. I need another professor to write me an LOR... problem is during undergrad (graduated in 2016) I asked questions in class here and there but I did not attend office hours or go out of my way to speak to my professors after class so that they would remember me. I was under a lot of stress from working and commuting pretty far to my university at the time. How would someone go about asking professors for LOR's in a case where you did not really stand out or develop any kind of relationship besides having good grades?
  7. As a student ( international at that) I had enough concerns and queries keeping me up all night. A friend recommended a book - Donald Ascher's, Graduate Admission Essays. This book encompasses every bit of information a student applying to graduate, professional or doctoral programs require. It furnishes details on what to study and why. By making us question our interests , it helps abate confusion. A detailed section on financing you education and several links to scholarships have been provided. Formats and samples of LORs and SOPs make the bulk of the book. You can gain information on how to write your personal statement and make it unique, insightful and power packed! Just make it a point to write down the answers to every question he asks. Also, dont skip chapters .Make notes and go through the book once thoroughly before proceeding for a detailed second read. Inputs about graduate level examinations amd University selection are also provided in the book. P.S: This book is definitely worth the investment. I applied to 7 MPH programs and was accepted by all of them. Infact 4 of them were in the top 10 ( including Hopkins at 1). I'm sure there are people who accomplished better without this book, but for those in need of some extra boost, do check out the link above!
  8. Hi everyone! Did anyone submit copies of a general letter of intent to professors, supervisors, etc so it would be easier for them to tailor their letter to mention your strengths, etc? And say good things about you apart from academics? Is sending recommenders a general letter of intent a good idea? I already have a list of the prompts of all the programs I’m applying to.
  9. I am a Masters graduate in Engineering (electrical) and I've been working at a hardware company since my graduation about 1.5 years ago. I'm planning to apply for PhD (US & international). I did not do a thesis for my masters - my degree was coursework based. My question is- can I submit LORs for PhD programs in engineering from some of my supervisors/managers/mentors at work? I've interned at work at a couple of companies in highly technical roles. And since I haven't done thesis in my masters, I have better chances of obtaining strong LORs from work than school. I have this question because, from what I know, PhD program is largely academic/research oriented and I'm worried if the LORs I submit through work will even be valued at all. BTW, my supervisors/mentors are PhD holders as well. Thanks!
  10. I'm mid-30s, career-changing and heading to law school in the fall with academia as the goal. I'm going to be applying to the PhD in History dual degree program wherever I land (all of the law schools I'm still considering offer programs). All are top-10 programs in both law and history, if that matters. I have solid GRE scores - happy to provide more detail, but don't want to be a douchebag - and I'm not too worried about the writing sample or SOP. LORs are another story. Since I graduated a decade ago and most of my professors were one-term-and-done relationships (huge department), I know I'll have trouble finding profs to write non-generic letters. I only got one to respond with what I believe is a strong letter for my law school apps, and one who wrote a very generic letter that I didn't end up sending (sort of relieved she let me see it first). The other professor I had a solid relationship with in undergrad ever replied to my emails. Employer letters won't be a problem, and my job involves nothing but research and writing, but it's not academic-level research and writing, either (marketing copywriting and online journalism - a few steps above BuzzFeed, but nowhere near NYT). I've just started reading up on this and will continue to do so, but I haven't found much addressing this yet so I thought I'd toss it out and see what the cafe thinks. Thanks in advance!
  11. Hello! Looking for advice on getting letters of recommendation when you have few contacts in the art world. I'm considering applying for an MFA in painting for programs beginning in Fall 2019. My problem is that I don't have great contacts for my letters of recommendation. As an undergraduate, I double majored, worked full time, did weekly volunteer work, and had a weekly internship so I never really had the time to develop deep relationships with my art professors. My mentor for the volunteer work (teaching art in local schools) can write me a great recommendation letter as we worked together for 3 years, but my internship supervisors and other art professors each only worked with me for a semester and I don't think they remember me. I graduated a few years ago and moved to Japan to work as an English teacher immediately after graduation. Due to language barriers, I haven't gotten many good contacts in the art world in Japan. My superiors at my current job would happily write glowing recommendation letters about my work ethic and ability to teach English, but that has nothing to do with art. Does anyone have any advice for what to do in this situation? Should I reach out to my old undergraduate professors/supervisors even though we didn't work together for long? Should I ask my superiors at my current job to write my letters? Thanks for any advice!
  12. Hey, I'm trying to get my letters of recommendation all wrangled up for my desires to get a PhD in philosophy I'm freaking out right now, mainly because I only ever did like one course with most of my professors. Out of the two I worked closest with, one of them has been kind enough to work like pretty closely on the process, and the other one has been dead silent because of a bunch of things going on in their life, and am in the process of trying to re-open that communication channel. The other big hurdle is that for financial reasons I am on the opposite end of the United States as I could not find a stable job near my college that could pay DC / Northern Virginia levels of rent. Currently, due to this, I only have like one real letter of recommendation on lock-down. I am thinking of going to get an MA to try and drum up two more, but the issue there is that it seems like all the MA programs for Philosophy in WA require 3 of em. I also was part of an Accelerated MA program for the college, used it to take Graduate level work, but due to the move that the family was making I kinda had to ghost out and am concerned that might lead to bad blood with one of the professors I want to get into contact with but I'm worried that if I broach the subject that'll create that bad blood by bringing it up. So, the question becomes: 1. Should I reach out to the professors I only did like one course with, but who seemed to respect the general cut of my jib? 2. Should I look to other sources for possible letters of recommendation? Both in other departments, my English classes for instance, or outside of academia proper? Working a normal job right now and am thinking of asking one of them to give me a generic one, if that might be of use? 3. Any tips on trying to get the conversation started and not feeling like a miserable and selfish bastard for taking up a lot of their incredibly busy and precarious schedules?
  13. Hello All! Hoping you could help me out. I have decided that I want to go back to school and pursue a Masters in Public Health. Problem is, I went to undergrad for chemical engineering and am now working in an engineering field. I had a 3.0 GPA and am relatively confident that I'll do well on the GRE (practice tests have gone well and I'm a strong test taker). However, I am concerned about LOR. I have already been out of school for 2 years now, and have another 2 years or so before I am ready financially to go back. I am planning on asking a professor that I worked with as a TA when I was an undergrad for a letter, and have been volunteering with Planned Parenthood and am considering asking the volunteer coordinator for a letter. I'm not sure what else to do though. I don't really have any strong relationships with professors, and they all taught engineering. I did really well in an unrelated class (history/women's studies) and might reach out to that professor, but at least it might show some academic progress? I don't know, I'm kind of at a loss and I don't want to leave this off until right before I'm ready to submit applications. With 2 years or so, that gives me some time to rectify this issue and I would appreciate any suggestions or comments.
  14. Hi guys, sorry if this question has been asked a million times and is a little dumb, but I worry about things and would really appreciate some insight. I'm planning to ask teachers for LOR sometime in the next two weeks, and have (I'm hoping) two of my letters coming from faculty in my school's Speech Pathology department. However, I'm a little torn on who to ask for my third LOR. I took a lot of my classes with adjunct professors who have since moved on with their careers, or in one case retired. While I could ask them, I don't think they'd even really remember me much. As such, my options are a little limited and I'm torn between two people to ask. My options for my third LOR are: 1) My advisor for my Spanish major, who I think would write me a strong LOR. I've had several classes with her and I've done well in them, and we've developed a good relationship outside of the classroom. While still able to attest to my academic strengths, I'm worried that the letter won't hold the same weight as letters from in-field faculty. However, I'm interested in working with multicultural/bilingual populations and feel like having some one who can talk about my Spanish abilities from first-hand experience could help me stand out. 2) A teacher I am currently taking a class with for the first time this semester. I feel like I'd only get a generic LOR, but she's at least in the Speech Path department? I also really enjoy her class, actively participate in discussion, activities, etc. which will maybe help me stand out to her by the time I need the letter. The class is my capstone and for part of it I get to be a clinical assistant in my school's speech clinic, so if I do well I feel like she'd be able to talk about my ability as a potential future clinician. 3) e-mailing one of the adjunct professors I've had and asking for a LOR. It'd definitely be a little generic but it'd also be in field. Idk at this point if there's a "better" option, or if I'm just overthinking the entire thing. I apologize for how long this is lol. I'd really appreciate a fresh perspective on the issue!
  15. I am a current MA student in School Psychology and will be applying for PhD in the same stream this fall. I need two academic references for most of my applications. I am guaranteed with a good reference letter from my MA supervisor, who can comment on my academic (two grad courses that I did well in) and research abilities (working on my thesis with her right now). My question is who to ask for my second LOR, out of the following two options: 1) My undergraduate supervisor, who is in the field of Clinical Developmental Psychology. I worked in her lab for more than two years and she was also my thesis supervisor. I am still working closely with her right now on publishing results of a project to which I contributed. I have gotten really strong LOR from her previously for my MA and scholarship applications. 2) Another professor from my graduate program. She taught two of my courses, where I did okay in the fall-term one (mid 80s) and better in my winter-term one (low 90s). I did really well on both of my final papers, but not so well on presentations (she has pretty high standards and presentations are definitely not my forte). Overall, I have a sense that she doesn't think of me as one of her top students. My first instinct was to ask my option 1 for the LOR, but she replied with the advice that reviewers of applications would expect more recent assessments of my graduate work. This has led me to question my choice - any thoughts/advice on who I should choose as my second reference?
  16. Hi everyone, So, I am currently in the process of applying to graduate school, and while I feel very confident about my application, I'm super nervous about asking for letters of recommendation. To provide you with some information, my overall GPA is a 3.7, and the GPA of my minor (the field I want to go into) is a 3.9. Further, I am currently executing two relevant research projects which will make my application stand out. I have already decided on two of my recommendors. One is going to be my work supervisor who has known me personally and professionally for three years. I feel like she can speak to my abilities as a professional, and her letter will nicely complement those of two professors. Another letter will be from a professor in my major with whom I took two classes and received A's in (I selected him because he's very, very nice and I think he would say wonderful things about anyone). It is my final letter which I am struggling with. I need this letter to come from someone in the department which I intend to pursue my master's in (the one I am minoring in). Unfortunately, I feel like I haven't been able to develop strong relationships with these professors as I have only taken 1 class with any of them, and their main focus is with graduate students so there are no research or teacher's aide opportunities with them. Two years ago, I took two classes with the same professor in the department and got A's in both. I participated a lot in class and did quite well, but I feel as though by now she will have forgotten me. Also, there is a professor that is my advisor and is also the advisor of the club I am president for, but she's never taught me in a course and is only now beginning to get to know me. In general, I feel like I am a very independent learner and have not cultivated strong enough relationships with any professors to get particularly good letters of recommendation. Has anyone else been in a similar situation, and what have you done to overcome it? Thank you so much for your input!
  17. Hi guys, I would love to hear some advice from you about who to ask for letter of recommendation. About Me: I worked a year in an undergrad research lab, and I started working in my current lab after I graduated 2 years ago. I'm applying to biomedical PhD programs soon for the 2018 admission cycle (Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Yale, etc.) My dilemma: Most of the programs I am going to apply to ask for three letters of recommendation, while there are four people that I want to ask! 1. My undergrad research PI, who was also my biochemistry professor - I think this makes sense because he could speak to my performance in a class environment as well as a research environment, although I stopped working with him two years ago and since then my research abilities have greatly enhanced, so he probably does not have the most up-to-date information about me. 2. My current research PI - He definitely makes sense because he is a big name in the immunology/immunotherapy field, and I have worked for him for 2 years now. During this time, I started a research project from the ground up and wrote a manuscript as the primary author; this project has now also gained a lot of industrial interest, so it is rapidly expanding in scope. Therefore, I think he would be able to provide quite strong recommendation for me. 3. Another PI - he is relatively junior (assistant professor), but still a faculty member. I have worked with him very closely in the past year when I was writing my manuscript. I believe he can speak well to my research abilities. 4. My immediate supervisor in my current lab (non faculty member) - I work with her closely and she can certainly speak about my research abilities and personality/work ethic. I would say she knows me quite well personally. So I think #1 and #2 are obvious choices, but I am struggling to choose between #3 and #4. #3 is a PI/faculty member so his letter might carry more weight? He is a junior faculty member though so I don't know how much of a difference it makes. #4 is my current supervisor and she thinks quite highly of me. However, she is not a PI/faculty member so is this less ideal? I would feel a bit weird though bypassing her and asking #3 for recommendation. What do you guys think?
  18. Hello, I have a huge dilemma that I have to figure out. A professor who had informed me earlier in the summer that she would write a letter of recommendation for me changed her mind because she said she has a huge load this coming semester as in she is teaching 15 units, working her currrent job as a SLP and helping her daughter with her wedding stuff for her wedding in January. I am reapplying for Spring and Summer 2018 and she would not have a write a new letter for me. I informed her about this but she still said no. So now I am stuck. I just need her as I already have 2 others who said yes. I have to find someone else and quick. I have one other professor in mind but I got a B in her class. So does the grade matter when asking a professor for a LOR? Or should I just ask professors that I got A's in their class? And do the LORs to be from Communication Disorders professors only? I received an A in a developmental psychology class which fulfills one of the pre-requisites that some schools are asking for. Thank you
  19. I have completed my master’s degree. I’m currently working on research projects with a professor. I may be able to get a positive letter from him addressing my research ability and potential. I am also considering one from my undergrad professor. I took his classes four times and he gave a strong letter for my MA application. I am worrying about whom I should ask for the third letter. I think that my third letter will not be strong, maybe a DWIC letter. Option 1: A big guy in the field. Took one class (got A) and got advice from him about my research paper for MA graduation requirement. Last year, I talked to him about PhD application and asked for a rec letter (This was time before completing the research paper). He said his letter wouldn’t be that helpful because he may not be able to tell much about my research ability because we didn’t do research together but he could write the letter only based on my class performance. He suggested me to do research if possible. I followed his advice. My concern is a DWIC letter from a big name may hurt my application. Considering his previous response that his letter wouldn’t be helpful, should I not ask him for a letter? Option 2: Took two class (got As). The professor is from another field. I asked questions pretty many times but class size was big and there were no class projects and only exams. It may be DWIC letter. Which one is the better option? Will it be okay that not all three letters are strong?
  20. What is an appropriate gift for Letter of Recommendation writers?? I'm planning to give them a small gift prior to decisions from schools coming in. Also, when do you plan to alert your letter of rec writers when you get decisions about admission? Do you let them know when you've made the final decision?
  21. Hello, I'm looking for some general advice on applications, letters of recommendation, etc. I graduated about 5 years ago with a Bachelor's degree in English Lit, during which I focused mostly on creative writing. After a few years regretting that choice's limitations, some wandering, lots of strange jobs, and a few personal crises, my own experiences in therapy have helped me to realize that I want to pursue a Master's in Counseling or Social Work, with an eye toward working as a mental health counselor. I understand that most programs in this field accept students who do not have a Bachelor's in a directly related field, but I'm wondering what I should focus on in order to be a competitive applicant. I've gotten pretty good at selling my Bachelor's degree as having imbued me with powerful critical thinking skills, and have gotten a few jobs on the basis of my writing ability, but I'm new to the grad school thing and I'm not sure how to sell what feels to me like a career change. I think I can use my personal experiences with therapy to make a pretty compelling case in a personal statement for why I want to take this path and why I would be right for it. But one thing I'm really unsure about is letters of recommendation. I didn't take any psychology classes in undergrad, and most of the professors and instructors that jump out in my mind as people who would happily write me a letter are creative writing instructors, and I'm not sure how relevant their letters would seem to the programs I'm applying for. Any advice on how to frame myself as a competitive candidate (and especially who I might consider asking for letters of recommendation) would be much appreciated! Thanks!
  22. Hey all - just finished with my master's and I am now applying to PhD programs in History. My question is whether I should get Letters of Rec exclusively from my thesis committee, or if I should branch outside of that. I have others that I could certainly ask, although they are all within the history department at my master's institution. Thanks for your input!
  23. Hi fellow linguophiles - I am interested applying to a PhD program in Romance Linguistics. I have already secured my 3 letter writers and the deadline is 12/8, so ~3 weeks from now. This morning I was asked by my French professor (my primary speciality is Spanish) if I had all of my letters in and he was very kind in offering support of my thesis, phd work, etc. (Unsure if this means he was offering to write letters if I wanted or what, but I digress.) Due to the nature of the program, I was thinking of asking if he wanted to be a fourth writer (the online app allows max 6, program site says "three"), since he is a French professor that can speak to my abilities in French and not just Spanish, and one of my writers only knows my skills in English linguistics. Do you think it could help or hurt the application to ask? And is it within an appropriate amount of time, or even warranted after our talk? Disclosure - I read fuzzylogician's post on this in the LOR section, which was helpful for sure, but since this is more language-specific I was wondering if the suggestions were different? Thanks!
  24. Hi! I plan to apply to Master's of Education programs (I have done no previous grad work), with a focus on education policy and in particular the issue of increasing the post-secondary enrollment of those from low-income groups, with a sub-focus on how post-secondary institutions can facilitate this. As an undergrad I mainly took political science and psychology classes, with very little coursework relevant to education. My interest in education is something I developed independently of organized academics and have continued to develop professionally, and now I am looking to pursue a Master's of Education. I have chosen two letter of recommendation writers who I believe are well suited to the task, but I need one more and am struggling to find a suitable writer. Pretty much every professor (I already have a professional reference) either taught me in something unrelated to education and/or had essentially no involvement with assessing my work (the joys of huge class sizes). This leaves me in a tough spot, and I'm wondering if anyone could give me their opinion as to which of the options (listed with some pros and cons) sounds best. 1. A professor of a childhood and adolescence psychology course I took -I finished first in the class (120+ people) -Loosely tied to education in that we talked about how cognitive abilities change from birth to adolescence, as well as how this impacts learning (this is one of the professor's interests). -I had very little contact with the professor (all assignments marked by TA). Our conversation was limited to brief discussions about the material on exams and an error that resulted in incorrect final marks originally being assigned to each person in the case. 2. A professor of a policy making course I took -I got a high A, though I was not first in the class (about 45 people) as was the case with the above course -We discussed certain attempts at K-12 education reform in the US, although this wasn't a major part of the course and no assignments were tied to this. The professor also got their PHD from one of my goal schools. -TA marked most work. I had more discussion with the professor in this course than the above course, but don't feel that I came across as particularly impressive. 3. A professor of a history course I took -I earned an A+ in this course and what was supposed to be an 8 page term paper turned into a 36 page pager with the instructor's permission (the paper discussed the role of formal education in shaping the ideologies of civil rights leaders, though the focus of the paper was broader than education). Following the course they sent me an email suggesting that I look into honors history programs. -On the other hand, I took this course about 6/7 years ago and it was a first year course (one of my LOR is already coming from someone I only took a 200 level course with) 4. A professor who I took two political science courses with (intro to comparative politics and the politics of immigration) -A+ in both classes and the professor knows me the best out of any of these options. They actually wrote me a letter a few years back for another program; admissions results were solid, though I eventually chose not to pursue that. -Material was, for the most part, not tied to education (their interests are in immigration policy), but there was minor discussion in one course about how early education outcomes have a long lasting and pervasive impact. -Professor has a reserved personality (I don't know if this is at all linked to how highly they praise students in LOR) and I worry that they may be annoyed that I'm now asking them for a new letter to a different program.
  25. Hello everyone, I'm attempting to apply to graduate school in the fall and I've reached a bit of a predicament. I've been working as an Audiology Assistant for a few years, and I've been out of school for a while. The requirements for the three letters of recommendation state they must come from a professor who can vouch for my abilities as a student. However, I'm 100% sure none of my old professors remember me. How do I go about obtaining quality letters of rec. from professors who don't have the time or are not willing to do so? This is literally the last piece of the puzzle and any insights you may have would be appreciated. Thanks!
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