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Schmoozing with Recommenders before asking them?

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Hi everybody.

Here is what I am wondering:

I have 3 recommenders in my mind who I want to ask for LOR but have not officially done so yet. Professor A knows I am going to ask and I'm not worried about the strength of his letter (I worked closely with him and we've spoken about it casually before), but Professor B and C I haven't asked yet. I wasn't the greatest in the classes I've had with them, in fact I was downright average, but since, we've gotten on very good terms and I think at least one of them ( B ) views my potential very highly.

I have had several email exchanges with Professors B and C since I've graduated form undergrad (over a year ago now), just keeping in touch and chatting about what I am up to and whatnot, but it's been about a couple of months since I've talked to them.

My question is this:

If I were to send Professor B and C one of those "just saying hello" friendly-schmoozy emails now, and then ask them for LOR in the near future, would they see through my schmoozing as just a way of buttering them up and developing a good rapport with them? That's NOT the only reason I would send them emails, I honestly probably would anyway just to catch up because I do have working relationships with both of them. But since I wasn't a great student, I am admittedly also trying to make sure I am on the best terms with them as possible. It's not like I am out of the blue being like "HEY what's up buddy?!" (1 month later) "Oh hey can I have a LOR?" but I feel like that's what it might come across like since it's been a few months.


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If you have good relationships with both of them, you should be able to just mention in your newsy email that you're planning on applying to graduate school and do they have any recommendations or nuggets of advice to offer you. Then, when the LOR request comes, they most likely won't be at all surprised.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

It's hard making sure professors remember you, especially if you go to a large university!

I've met with a couple of my professors recently to get advice about applying to grad schools. I heard one of them was doing research with a professor from one of the schools I'm looking into, so I met up with her to ask her about her experiences working with these professors. Another one I know recently graduated from a different school I'm interested in, so I met up with her to ask her questions about that specific university.

These conversations always turn to convos about my research interests, future goals, and qualifications. It allows them to get a good idea of who I am, so I may feel confident enough to ask them for recommendations soon. When I ask them I'm going to give them: a short auto bio, a copy of my CV, statement of intent, transcript and maybe a copy of my honors thesis proposal. That way they'll actually be able to write something relevant for my recommendation.

Hope that helped! Just be genuine.

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