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  1. I am back with another question! This one is actually relevant to my immediate decisions rather than for applications a year+ in the future. Thanks for being SO consistently helpful, everyone. Did anyone here use a letter from a professor they did not take a class with/a professor who did not supervise them in any formal way? Was this successful? Does anyone not recommend doing so? I ask because I am about to start my 1-year MA and there is a particular faculty member I'm very interested in getting to know because his interests are strikingly similar to mine. I've read some of his work and watched some talks of his and his methodology resonates with me a great deal so far. However -- I'm registering for my fall "elective" course soon and the classes I am most excited about and would be most beneficial to me are taught by faculty members whose work I'm not particularly interested in, and the spring semester looks to be the same situation. The bigger issue, though, is that in my program, we are not able to ask a specific faculty member to serve as our dissertation supervisor; the supervisor is assigned to us by the department. It may be that this person is assigned to me based on my topic, but there are other faculty members whose expertise can be said to cover generally the areas I'm interested in as well, so it's certainly not a given. I guess I have it in my head that a LoR from this person for my PhD applications would be ideal and I'd be remiss not to facilitate that opportunity. If I just form a relationship with this person by going to office hours, would it be reasonable to ask him for a LoR? Would it be better to have 3 LoRs from people who have all worked with me in a formal capacity, observed my performance in class, read my work carefully and graded it? There are actually several courses for both semesters that are really exciting to me, but the ones I am more interested in are not taught by any of the faculty members on my "top 3-5" radar for relevant interests and interesting work. Would it be wise to choose classes I am less (but still somewhat) interested in, that I think I wouldn't get as much out of, and that I think won't look as appealing on a transcript if they are taught by those more "relevant" faculty members? Should I choose the classes I am most interested in and potentially end up with LoRs from faculty members working in different areas from me? Or could I ask faculty members who haven't really worked with me other than office hour discussion for letters? Would that be a risk?
  2. Hi all! I am about to apply for the Post bacc program in Communication Disorders at SUNY New Paltz. Anyone who applied before notice that the app doesnt require a letter of rec? Am I reading it wrong? Just want to be 100% sure. Any tips for writing a good statement of purpose? I have never written one before. Also, any other speech post bacc programs online that allow start in the Spring or late fall? I only noticed Northwestern but that one is too expensive. Thanks!
  3. One of my professors is a foreign national and it shows on the recommendation letter. I wasn't supposed to look at the letter but the school administrator sent me a copy for my reference, not sure if I should be glad I did, or not. Anyway, the letter was already sent to accompany my grad school application and I had absolutely no control over both its content and logistics, i.e. knowing this at this point is too late. Would this affect my chances at all? How do adcom view this situation?
  4. Hi everyone! I'm currently a senior at a tier-2 liberal art college with a double major in mathematics and computer science. My current postgraduation plan is working as a software engineer in a financial company, however, I would love to eventually go back to school to get my master or PhD. My only concern at the moment is my GPA (3.1 ~ 3.2), and I have not taken the GRE yet. I was wondering if anyone has experienced similar situations or expressed similar concerns? If so, please comment below and let's discuss about it.
  5. 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!
  6. Hello everyone, While applying to University of Southern California for a deadline of 15th December 2017, it so happened that I requested for letter of recommendations from three people. There was an entry field where we were supposed to write accepted upload date. But the request for uploading the lor was received by only 1 person. and hence I was able to upload only 1 lor.For quite some time it showed "received 1 out of 3 lors" but then in january i deleted the requests for the other two recommenders. Even though the LOrs were optional for the application , I wanted to ask whether it's gonna affect my application? I still haven't received any decision yet.
  7. All of the grad programs I'm applying for need 2 references and so far I've only gotten one. The other prof I contacted hasn't gotten back to me yet and deadlines are fast approaching. Unfortunately, the two profs I emailed are the only two who know me well enough, so there's no one else I can ask. However, there is also another course instructor I had who I think would have good things to say about me, but she's a Ph.D. student and I've heard we should only get well-known professors to write reference letters. So should I still ask the Ph.D. student to write a reference letter or just wait for my other professor to reply (or email her again)? If I decide to send the second professor another email, is there a way to do so without coming across as impatient? I understand how busy professors are so I'm worried about being a burden or putting extra pressure on them. My application deadlines are 1-2 months away (I stated specific deadlines in the email) and I have one semester left until graduation so I don't think I have enough time to get to know any new professors, unless there's a quick way to do so? I know this is my fault for not asking earlier and/or in person but there isn't much I can do about that now since the holiday started and I don't go back until January. So is there anything I can do between now and January to get the second referee? This is the only thing getting in the way of my grad application. I have everything else - good grades, sufficient research experience, CV, letter of intent - so I'm not ready to give up on applying all together. If there's absolutely nothing I can do, can I get away with one referee? P.S. I'm not sure if this matters but I'm applying to the MA public policy programs at Carleton and UofT, and MA social justice at Brock and Laurier, so if anyone is in any of these programs can give insight into the application process and what the admissions committee is looking for, especially regarding references, that would be helpful
  8. Hi guys, I'm freaking out because my last recommender, the dean of my college (who was also my academic advisor), probably will not submit my letters tonight which is the deadline for the University of North Carolina and Stanford. Luckily, for Chicago I have three recommenders already, but I suppose it will look bad if the fourth I put down on the app did not send the recommendation. I reminder her three times total and each time (including yesterday) she told me she'd do it (asked her back in late September), but I also understand she's very busy (running one of the best honors colleges in the state!) and has had family issues lately. I'm thankful she even accepted to recommend me, really. I'm worried however that those universities won't be as understanding of the circumstances. The websites specifically say all materials must be received by that date to have financial aid consideration. I am planning to send e-mails tomorrow and hope for the best. For anyone who may read this in the future, keep in mind some people are just very busy in general and may be more difficult for them to send recommendations in a timely manner. I was wondering if in anybody's experience submitting a recommendation a few days after the deadline (perhaps one day, not sure if she'll just submit tomorrow) will affect me, or am I worrying over nothing? Thanks
  9. So, I do not plan to apply the grad school next year (2018).. Instead, I am going for 2019 and I want to prepare from now! The situation is really complicating... I finished my undergrad 2-3 years ago in US ... and currently, I am serving the air force back home in Korea.. When I finish my military service, I'd be off from the academics for almost 4 years so would it be possible for me to get 3 letters of recommendation letters from the professors? I'm worried because I wasn't the best student in the classes nor have been close to the professors. I have heard that some Graduate schools (or the graduate program) don't accept the letters of recommendation from academic field if you have been off for 5 years.. Is that true? Or should I reach to the professors for the LoR? The problem is that I can only contact with them through emails as I'm in service... Please give me some advice so I won't freak out!
  10. 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!
  11. I have been researching these and can't seem to find definitive answers. If anyone has some insight, it would be greatly appreciated!
  12. 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.
  13. I immigrated to the US last year but before leaving, I had a one-on-one discussion of my intention to apply to graduate school with the Dean and the HoD (individually), in order to get an affirmation that they would both write me letters when needed. I have As in the courses and class projects that the Dean oversaw. On the other hand, I have Bs in the courses taught by the HoD but he acted as an informal mentor and panelled my thesis presentation, which I had an A in, so he is familiar with my competence in research. Now that I've started my application process, when I reached out to the HoD, he immediately and enthusiastically agreed. The Dean, however, was sceptical of my transition to another field instead of pursuing my undergrad field (I have a Bachelors degree in Economics and am applying for PhD in Organisational Behaviour). He advised me to apply for Economics in a list of schools he thinks are a good fit, and said that only then he would write me a letter. Which I personally think is ridiculous because my choice of program, especially one so closely related to economics, should not be a matter of concern to him. I tried to assure him that I would employ whatever I learned during undergrad and all he needed to do was vouch for my performance in research and competence the subjects he taught. I've had no response since. I would also like to add that one of the subjects he taught in is Econometrics, fundamental to research. Now the deadline is looming ever closer and it's seeming more and more likely that I'll have to give up on the idea of getting a recommendation from the Dean. Should I continue to pester the Dean, who might write me a biased letter, if at all, or should I go with the HoD's letter which will be fair but weaker due to my average performance in his classes? If I go with the HoD, how can I mask my grade to strengthen my letter (I am assisting in drafting the letter so I have some control over what to highlight)?
  14. Hi all and happy application season! I'm currently in the process of doing applications and I've stumbled upon an issue. I'm a distance student at a University that is 1500 miles away and so I've reached out through email to a professor about getting a LOR. I've done exceptionally well in her classes and we have chatted through messages a time or two about my progress in her courses. I sent my initial email about two weeks ago and heard nothing back, so I followed up this past week and have still heard nothing. Should I just drop the idea of her writing the LOR and move on, or follow up with her through another means of communication (CANVAS or BlackBoard)? Thanks for the help!
  15. Hi everyone! So I'm trying to choose the people who are going to write me recommendation letters. One is my current master's advisor, another is a professor with whom I worked as a research assistant, but I'm stuck on the third. Should I ask my first master's degree advisor who supervised my thesis research almost 10 years ago (yes, I'm currently doing a second master's degree) or a professor with whom I have taken a class just a year ago (I got A in the class, but have never worked with him in a research environment)? I have very good relationships with both. The first is from a foreign country/institution while the second is from the same country I intend to apply for a PhD in. Any insight would be appreciated. Good luck to all!
  16. So I was discussing my letter with my recommender and sent him a recommendation request from the UPenn application portal. I was a little late in telling him it was just to see what the recommendation form is like and his letter wasn't entirely ready. However, he thought he should go ahead and fill it all out and upload the letter so he did, without using the new, updated letter. Now the recommendation is submitted but I'd really like to change the letter. Is there any chance the recommender could edit/update the letter or will I have to redo the application? Please help. Thanks.
  17. 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.
  18. astroid88

    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
  19. I am a first-year Ph.D. looking to transfer for personal reasons. I shared my reasoning with my current advisor, who 100% supports my decision and is also writing my letter of recommendation. My question: is there merit in getting two letters from my current institution (and the third one from a previous recommender) OR would one letter from my advisor (and two letters from previous recommenders) be sufficient in offsetting any red flags for the institutions that I'm applying to? I have another professor in my current program who'd be willing to write me a strong letter, but my only concern is that this professor has not known me for as long as my previous professors who wrote my LORs last year. Thank you.
  20. 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!
  21. Pretty much as the title says, but how soon is too soon to ask a professor how their letter is coming? For example, I sent a professor a request for recommendation about 8 days ago (after telling him to check his email and his spam box for it) and he hasn't yet even accepted the request. I figure he might just accept the request and write the whole letter in one sitting when he gets a chance, but when would it be appropriate to check in to see if he received the request?
  22. 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
  23. I'm having a bit of a dilemma in who to ask for a letter of recommendation. I'm currently 1+ years of research in a lab with a PI, Research Associate, and Post-Doc. I did 2 years of research in undergrad with a professor (who I had not taken any classes from). I had been planning on asking for LoRs from 1) my undergrad research prof, 2) the PI of my current lab, and 3) the Research Associate of my current lab. I work a bit more closely with the Research Associate than I do the PI, just due to the fact that the PI is busy doing PI things like writing grants. However, it occurs to me it might seem sketchy to have two LoR from the same lab. Is this the case? I have the sinking feeling it is, especially in a lab as small as this one. My other options are getting a LoR from a professor I had in UG who really liked me and I did well in their course, but that was a year and a half ago (I'm post-grad now). I'm applying for Neuro programs, with a focus on behavioral neuro research. My current lab is not behavioral really, the undergrad researcher was in the psych program but we did biopsych/behavioral neuro research, and the undergrad professor was in the psych program and one of the classes I took from her had to do with animal behavior.
  24. Hello, So a little background. I am looking to apply for the 2018 cycle for a Ph.D. in Biology/Biomedical Sciences. My PI I did undergrad research with (and got an A in their class) and I have been talking since 2015. About a year ago now, I expressed my interest in applying for the Ph.D. I asked him if he would be willing to write me a letter, he said yes but did have reservations in earlier meetings on me going for my Ph.D., period. Anyway, I took a gap year and worked in industry which further solidified my route to grad school. I have recently e-mailed him again for a meeting to talk about the LOR he said he would write. The last time I had e-mailed about it, I visited him when I didn't receive a response and he said he never got it which was strange because I sent it to both of his e-mails and he seemed to always get my e-mails just fine in the past. Anyway, so I recently e-mailed him again (I am out of town so can't visit) and I haven't gotten a response yet which is fine but I'm wondering if it would be acceptable to follow up with a reminder/nudge on his LinkedIn account (which he has messaged me on before) and message him, just in case he didn't get my e-mail again? Is this acceptable or no? He is my best bet at grad school admission because I did research with him AND did well in his class so I really need his letter. If it's ok to contact via LinkedIn, is this an acceptable way to go about it? "Hello Dr. X, I just wanted to let you know I am applying to grad school for this upcoming cycle. I sent you an email regarding a request I had for a meeting along with additional information. Please get back to me at your earliest convenience. Thank you deeply for your time. Respectfully, Annoying Student Y" I don't ever want to come off as annoying or disrespectful to him so I am getting really anxious about this and wanted to ask you all to see what you thought. Thank you in advance!!
  25. Hello! I'm looking to get myself ready to apply an Econ or Applied Econ Masters program for Fall of 2019. The goal of this is 1. to make myself competitive for at least a T100 Econ PhD program, and 2. To enable me to move into a career in policy if I decide I'm not cut out for the PhD route. Being 2 years out of grad school in kind of a dead end job though, I'm struggling to see what I can do to make up for some deficiencies in my undergrad. I'm desperate to switch careers to a subject I've been passionate about my whole life, so I'm hoping somebody here can help me. My full background info is below, but I'll just start out with my 2 primary weaknesses/concerns. Lack of research experience. This is probably my biggest weakness, and I have no idea how to remedy it. I'm not in undergrad anymore, I can't easily ask a professor for an RA job, and I also have responsibilities now (I'm getting married soon) which make it much more difficult to immediately upend and move across the country if that's what it takes. Not sure if my goals are achievable if I can't overcome this problem. Shabby letters of recommendation. Not much I can do about this, as it's tied to the first problem with research experience. Maybe if I'm lucky I'll hit it off with a professor at the U through these math courses who can write a letter as well, but I don't know that I can count on that Schools Applying To: I'll apply to the best schools I think I have a shot at. Something like the Duke MA is likely beyond my reach, but I'm looking strongly at the University of Minnesota MS in Applied Economics and similar programs. Interests: I have some wide ranging interests, but urban and labor economics are particularly interesting to me Undergrad Institution: No name liberal arts college (unfortunately) Undergraduate GPA: 3.72 Undergraduate Major: Economics, Computer Information Systems GRE: 170 V, 164 Q, 4.5 AWA (will take again if necessary, which I suspect it will be) Quantitative Courses: Outside of the standard Econ courses (intermediate micro/macro and an Econ department statistics course, all of which were A's or A-'s I believe), I also took econometrics and Calculus 1 and got an A in those. I know that's inadequate, so I'm preparing for grad school by taking more math courses at the local U (University of Minnesota). Specifically, I plan on at least finishing the calc sequence and taking linear algebra, but hopefully I can do more than just that. I'm assuming I'll get A's or A-'s in those, because, well, I kind of have to. Years of Work Experience: 1 1/2 years as an Application Developer at a financial services company, and around half a year as a Business Intelligence Specialist at the same company (my current position). Probably not too helpful for my application, as it's mostly reporting and pretty basic work with financial sales data, not any super interesting analysis or research. Age: 24 LORs: Here's where it gets dicey. I have 1, maaaaaybe 2 undergrad econ professors who I can get to write for me, but I didn't really do much in the way of research in undergrad so they won't be able to speak to that. I tutored for stats and for intro Econ courses, so one of the professors can mention that, but that's about it (other than just saying I was a bright student). For my third letter, I'll likely have to rely on a former manager, or a third professor who may or may not remember me well. And honestly, even the Econ professors who I'm counting on might not have that much to say (after all, I've been out of their class for a few years, and I don't know how well they'll remember me). Any advice would be appreciated! I know I'm in kind of a rough spot, but I'm willing to make sacrifices if necessary to make this happen, and I don't necessarily have to get into a top tier Masters program either, as long as it can still accomplish my goals. Thanks!

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