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Chatting with professors as a source for LORs?


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Of course, it's preferable that you get your LORs from a prof you did research with.

But many people can only get one LOR from research. They still need two other LORs.

Of course, those LORs can preferably come from classes where the student did well in. Okay, like, there was one class where I got a 4.0 in, and where my grade was a clear outlier compared to those of everyone else. But I didn't talk to the professor much, and there will be a 2 year-gap between my taking the class and my asking for a recommendation. (although the professor is one of the contributing authors of the famous Cosmic Variance blog - she doesn't have much time for chatting though). There are other professors who I probably fraternize better with, even though they taught classes where my grade didn't swamp the grades of everyone else. Anyways, I really LIKE planetary science, and can chat with professors on hours about it. But I didn't do exceptionally well in those planetary science courses (3.7 in one of them - didn't do better since I was intensely focused on harder classes and was too complacent for midterm [though final was among top scores in class], 3.6 in a grad-lvl planetary atmospheres one). The professors in those courses are also quite famous (one's a member of the National Academy of Sciences), and they seem to have more time for chatting.

Alternatively, one could seek for LORs from professors who one didn't even take a class in.

So what is the preferred option? You should seek LORs from professors who think that you're exceptional. But it's hard to demonstrate that you're exceptional in a class, unless your grade swamps the grades of everyone else (and that can be said in one sentence), in which case a 4.0 doesn't just say enough.

Edited by InquilineKea
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