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Applying for an MA in English a dozen years late

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Hi all! I am thinking about applying to MA English programs having been out of school for awhile (more than a dozen years), and I'm really anxious about how to go about the process. I haven't stayed in touch with any of my English professors, so I'm not sure how I'm going to scare up any academic LORs.  Have any of you had experience reaching out years after graduation for your LORs? Is it advisable (or even necessary) for me to take some classes at a local university before I apply in hopes of getting a better LOR? Are professional LORs basically useless? Also, what does it mean if a program (i.e., my local state university) requires only "references"rather than LORs? 


I'm sorry if I sound like a mess -- I'm a big planner/optimizer, and I never thought I'd be pursuing this course in my life. I would appreciate any advice you guys have to give!

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I know several people who came back to grad school after that long. There's definitely hope for getting in touch with old professors.


Without that, yes, it's probably a good idea to take courses as a grad student at large or to take a few undergraduate courses to build up some relationships. I would wager that for a successful MA admissions season, you'd need at least one academic willing to write for you. Professional references aren't bad, but the committee will be interested in your scholarship and interests. I assume references would work the same way as in a business setting; they're people the university could contact if they're thinking about admitting you. I'd still say you'd want at least one academic for that job.

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Thank you so much! That was quite calming to read. So, I think I will reach out to some old professors with my SOP and writing sample (when they exist) and also take a few classes locally this fall or spring. I think that if I stay at my local state university, I can apply a number of units taken before admission into the program toward the degree. The settlement is saved!

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