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Academic LORs vs. Professional


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I'm planning on applying to an HR masters program. I am a psychology and communication double major, and want to attend grad school right out of undergrad. The programs I'm looking at require 3 letters of rec, but stress that two be academic. The problem is that I tend to be quiet in classes, and since I go to such a big university, it is difficult to get to know your professor. I work under a graduate student doing research and plan on asking her for a letter of rec. She also had me in class, but I was quiet. I did receive an A in the class, and have gotten to know her through doing research with her. Should I ask her to focus more on my class work rather than my research work in order to make it more of an academic recommendation? I have the same problem with another teacher who I now work for. I had to take her class in order to be considered for the job, and got an A. I am very close with her now and want her to write my letter of rec, but I'm worried she's going to focus on my job performance instead of my performance in her class. The last recommendation I was planning on getting is from my manager at my job at the school library, as I have worked there for last half of my undergraduate career. 

I guess I'm wondering whether or not it'd be better for me to get my letters of recommendations from teachers I do not know as well rather than these sources. I am very close with all of those mentioned above, but I can see how they wouldn't be the best people to ask. 

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I don't know much about HR as a discipline, but I would think that the graduate student and the professor will be fine academic references. When they say "academic references," they mean people from within academia (professors, grad students, etc) who can speak to your potential as a researcher/student/academic. I wouldn't ask her to focus more on your coursework; the fact that you did research for her after having taken her class says something about how well you did in class, anyways.


As you've intuited, your supervisor at the library isn't an academic reference, as she can't speak to your research or class skills, but she is a professional reference, since you know her in a professional/work capacity.

Edited by girlscoutcookies
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