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LOR from a professor of an online class?


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I need 3 recs for my applications, and I have 2 set up...I was struggling to decide on my final rec, because there was no other professor that I felt would really remember me. Almost all of my classes are huge lectures and for a lot of them, the grades were solely MC exams (so there is no work for them to really go back to look at). For that reason, I decided that my best option was to ask a professor for an online class that I am currently in. My reasoning is that we do a lot of discussion posts in that class, and I can tell that she likes mine and that they stand out from the rest of the class. We also have a lot of additional writing assignments and she has always has nice comments about my work. I have also e-mailed with her a few times, because I am hoping to specialize in grad school in the same area of the field that she specializes in.

HOWEVER, because it is an online class and she has doesn't have set office hours, I have never actually met her. I lucked out, though, because I was corresponding with her through e-mail about grad schools that I was considering (because she had told me to be careful about my selection if I wanted to specialize in her field), and she offered to set up a time to meet to discuss it. So of course I said yes, and I had decided that I was going to be brave and ask for a rec while I was there. Buuuut, then there was this huge miscommunication (which was really neither of our faults and we both apologized) so we didn't get to meet up. I had waited more than a week for that meeting and was worried about wasting another week or so before we set up a next meeting (because if she says no, I need to find someone else to ask SOON), so I ended up deciding to just e-mail her to inquire about the rec. This was what I sent about the rec request (I had also asked her about something else earlier in the email)-

"Additionally, I had been planning to inquire about the possibility of getting a letter of recommendation from you for my grad school applications. I feel that your specializations mesh very well with what I am hoping to focus on during and beyond graduate school. Although your class is not in-person, I think that as a result of all of the module discussions and written class assignments, you might be better apt to write a recommendation than some of the professors of my large-lecture classes, many of which my grades are based almost solely on exams. If you think that you could write a recommendation for me, I have a resume and statement of purpose that I can share with you.

Sorry for throwing out so much information in one e-mail. I would still love to meet with you to talk about both of these things if it fits into your schedule, but I just wanted to give you a heads up about what I had intended to discuss with you today. Also, I completely understand if it would be more convenient for you to talk about this via e-mail."

I was really hoping that she would respond saying that she would write the rec, but maybe that she would also like to meet with me about it. But her e-mail response just said that she would like to meet with me...so now I'm kind of freaking out. I feel really awkward that I asked her when I hadn't even met her, and am worried that she thinks it was a really weird request. Does it seem reasonable to you that I asked her? Do you think that she would have just said no in the e-mail if she was going to not write it?

Sorry for such a long message, I am just a bit stressed out about it.

Edited by AudioEnvy
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She probably thinks as highly of you as you hope. However, she probably knows that she'd need to describe how she is qualified to write an LOR for you. Prof of one online class may not carry much weight with admissions committees. She may advise you to find someone else, for just this reason.

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I actually think it's interesting you brought this topic up because with almost every major university offering some courses online it really needs be mentioned, especially for future applicants. With that said I will admit I have taken an online class before, and I actually met one of my profs. via Skype before I had met them in person. Sometimes schedules conflict but you can always find a way. The thing is if you look at a recommendation form it would be difficult for an online professor to complete accurately without knowing you fairly well and having met you. Her response actually seems to be typical, so no big worry. She probably just wants to get a better feel for you as a person so she has more basis to judge and write an accurate/good recommendation.

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