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Is it necessary to request LOR in person?


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I graduated from Uni in Atlanta, Georgia in December of 2010 and did not intend to continue on to graduate school so I didn't request LOR. I've since moved back home to Los Angeles, CA and am beginning the process of applying to graduate programs. I have established rapport with three professors who I know for certain would remember me well, and would write me great letters of rec.

The advice I see online says it is best to schedule a meeting with the professor, give them materials etc...

I get that.

But I do not have a lot of money. If I absolutely have to take a trip to Atlanta to do this properly, I will scrape and scrounge for it. But if I could get away with doing this from Los Angeles that would be a great benefit.

Opinions? Is it absolutely imperative to meet with professors in person?

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Since you are no longer in the geographic area, there is no problem requesting recommendations via phone and email.

I emailed my recommenders as they are in CA and I am in Turkey. I opened with my name, dates attended and courses I took with them, followed by a request for a strong letter of recommendation. I apologized for not requesting in person, but then explained the geographic limitations. Finally, a sentence about what I am doing now.

If they accept, that is the time to reply with more information (CV, grad schools applying to, etc), you don't want to make your first email too long.

Also, don't forget to send them a hand written thank you note after.

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It would definitely be acceptable for you to e-mail or phone given the circumstances. Most of the times when we suggest people go in person, it's because it's very easy for them to do so, but for some strange reason (laziness? anxiety?) they still insist on sending an e-mail. Even when the person doesn't respond.

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Email is absolutely fine. I dont know why anyone would suggest otherwise. Dropping by unannounced is rude as professors are busy people, and with this in mind, they are hardly going to be free to have a conversation on the phone.

What does that leave? Email. For the record, I got 6 professors to agree to write a recommendation via email. And two of my work colleagues, all via email.

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Dropping by unannounced is rude as professors are busy people, and with this in mind, they are hardly going to be free to have a conversation on the phone.

This is just a bit ridiculous. They're busy but they're not THAT busy that they can't speak to a student. Profs have offices and office hours for a reason.

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E-mail is actually preferable in many circumstances, regardless of geographic location. You'll, most likely, be submitting their information (and e-mail address) in the applications themselves, and consequently your LOR writers will receive the prompt electronically. Furthermore, it's a major benefit to establish a running dialogue via e-mail, as you'll be reminding them of deadlines and potentially sending them supplementary materials (such as SOP draft, resume, etc.).

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