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Statement of Purpose + Recommendation Combo

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Hi all,

I'm applying to Human-Computer Interaction Masters programs. So far, the only one I've confirmed as being on my list is at the University of Michigan's School of Information. I have co-op work experience from my undergrad years that is perfect for someone going into HCI studies. I can describe my work and discuss it in great detail, and I'd like to in my Statement of Purpose. There's just one problem: it's likely that none of my recommenders will be from the company in which I did that work. It actually went out of business (nothing to do with me, I hope) and I haven't been able to track down a single person I worked with; they're all on LinkedIn but inactive so they haven't responded. In addition, it's been 5 years since I worked there so memories may be hazy if I do get in touch with someone.

What do you think -- should I mention this experience even though I can't substantiate it in a recommendation letter? All I really have from that company is a W2. It's the only HCI work experience I've had, so I was definitely banking on it for my SOP.


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Yes, of course you should mention it.

It's too bad you can't get a recommendation letter out of that experience, but there is absolutely no rule that says you have to have every experience you talk about backed up by a letter. If the school won't just take your word on these things, that is a problem all its own. But if you can talk about the specifics of your work there, why should anyone not believe you?

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