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Asking a professor in the middle of the semester


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I plan to apply to a few schools this summer to start next spring but if I don't get in, I'll reapply in the fall/winter to start next fall. Anyway, if one of my recommendations came from a professor I'd be taking a class with in the fall, is it OK to ask for a LOR in the middle of the semester (some deadlines would be before the semester ended, and most would require asking before the semester ends in order to give the professor an acceptable amount of time)? Or does it put the professor in too awkward of a position?


It's actually someone I took a class with a few years ago (didn't get an A though), although I doubt he'd remember me. He's very well known in his field, and I'd only ask him if I feel I'm doing very well in his class in the fall.

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Yes, you can ask in the middle of the semester, if you have no better options. A letter saying the person has known you for two months and so far you seem to be doing well in class won't do you too much good, no matter how famous the person is. If this is your plan, I'd do my best to show up for office hours, participate in class, and generally make a case for myself that I am a good student. I might consider consulting with him early on about grad school applications and also letting him know that you would like to ask him for a letter, so he can tell you how to best show that you are a good student given the limited timeframe. It won't put him in an awkward position; if he won't feel like he can write you a good letter, he will let you know. 

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Thanks for the perspective. Hopefully I'll have an acceptance to start in the spring by October and won't need to worry about it. I'll probably ask a current professor for a rec before the end of this semester, but since stuff wouldn't be due til the summer or early fall, that's not such a big deal.

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