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Hey all!

I am a junior at CSU Fullerton and I'm just wondering when is the perfect time to ask for Letters of Rec? I am planning to apply for Fall 2018 (my estimated graduation date is Spring '18) and I already have 2 professors in mind to ask but I just don't know when and how to go about it. Do I ask this ongoing Spring semester? Do I ask in the upcoming Fall semester? It seems to be something that no one really talks about or explains clearly, so I'm a bit confused. Any advice or tips will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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12 minutes ago, ringabelle said:

Hey all!

I am a junior at CSU Fullerton and I'm just wondering when is the perfect time to ask for Letters of Rec? I am planning to apply for Fall 2018 (my estimated graduation date is Spring '18) and I already have 2 professors in mind to ask but I just don't know when and how to go about it. Do I ask this ongoing Spring semester? Do I ask in the upcoming Fall semester? It seems to be something that no one really talks about or explains clearly, so I'm a bit confused. Any advice or tips will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

I had been pretty close to all my letter writers so they knew I was planning to apply for grad school two years before I applied. They had been advising me throughout my time as an undergraduate student. I informally asked if they would consider writing my letters of recommendation the spring of 2016 (I applied in the fall of 2016 to attend fall of 2017). Then I formally asked them again in early summer of 2016 and gave them a list of schools and programs I was applying to along with my CV, transcripts, and pertinent background information. 

Edit: Best of luck with your application journey.

Edited by OptimiscallyAnxious

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Yeah if you professors in mind, you can casually ask now. It's the polite thing to do. You are probably best case scenario though.

professors can/will do it even they're only due at the end of the same semester 

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I totally agree with what the above posters said except that I would formally ask in September. School has already started then so it will be easier to track down these professors to give them your material, and I waited until all the online application portals opened so that I can email them the recommendation link as soon as they say yes.

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18 minutes ago, ringabelle said:

Hey all!

I am a junior at CSU Fullerton and I'm just wondering when is the perfect time to ask for Letters of Rec? I am planning to apply for Fall 2018 (my estimated graduation date is Spring '18) and I already have 2 professors in mind to ask but I just don't know when and how to go about it. Do I ask this ongoing Spring semester? Do I ask in the upcoming Fall semester? It seems to be something that no one really talks about or explains clearly, so I'm a bit confused. Any advice or tips will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Well, I asked a professor way back at the end of Spring for Fall, partly because I knew he would be gone. He seemed surprised to be asked to early. Based off that, I asked my second letter writer around October, and my third letter writer in late November - although that was partly because the other person I was going to ask left the school. I wouldn't wait longer than October.

One thing I wish people had told me was that a lot professors really hate to be asked, so based off their reaction I thought I had either asked wrong, or didn't perform well enough, etc. But now I know that they just have about 100s of letters to write, and every student just adds to that pile. So don't feel bad if they seem less than enthusiastic...

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I asked at the beginning of fall semester. I set up meetings with my professors and asked them in person. They both knew what I was going to ask and they were really nice about it! I think it's better to ask earlier rather than later, because if they're professors in your major, it's likely that a lot of people will be coming to them for letters. Asking earlier is good because it's more likely that they'll say yes, and it looks good that you're getting this done earlier rather than procrastinating. Good luck!

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I applied for the Fall 2017 semester so I asked my professors in late April (few weeks before classes ended). I asked to meet with them before they got busy with finals and I didn't want to bother them in the summer. Also, a few of them only write letters in the summer so definitely find out when your professors write them. I would suggest asking them before the fall semester cause they'll probably be busy with the new semester and many people seem to ask then. It would also be ideal to ask early so you can meet with them a couple of times for advice and reviewing of your personal statement. My professors were appreciative of me asking in advance when I told them these reasons. Best of luck! 

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58 minutes ago, StressLP said:

I asked at the beginning of fall semester. I set up meetings with my professors and asked them in person. They both knew what I was going to ask and they were really nice about it! I think it's better to ask earlier rather than later, because if they're professors in your major, it's likely that a lot of people will be coming to them for letters. Asking earlier is good because it's more likely that they'll say yes, and it looks good that you're getting this done earlier rather than procrastinating. Good luck!

This is pretty much what I did.  I asked mid-September (after they had settled in to the new school year, but not so far in that they were swamped with grading etc).  Definitely ask in person too if you can!  I also made up an info sheet about myself (which schools I was applying to, my work experience, my areas of interest in CSD, etc), which my professors seemed to appreciate (they already knew me from class but this made writing the letters easier for them).

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You can casually bring your grad school plans to their attention now. Then I would set up formal appointments at the beginning of the fall semester. During this time you'll want to provide your professors with a list of schools, whether the recommendations must be filled out online or through mail, and the date that the recommendations are due. Finally it's good to hand your recommenders a copy of your resume/CV so they get to know what you do outside of their knowledge! Good luck! 

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Did my postbacc at CSUF and I went to ask for letters during office hour just as the fall semester started (early September 2016) for Fall 2017 applications.  Professors will ask for your statement of purpose along with a resume so I recommend working on those early and providing it to your letter writers. One of mine requested that I send these supplemental things to him before thanksgiving break. Best of luck! 

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2 hours ago, imunster said:

Did my postbacc at CSUF and I went to ask for letters during office hour just as the fall semester started (early September 2016) for Fall 2017 applications.  Professors will ask for your statement of purpose along with a resume so I recommend working on those early and providing it to your letter writers. One of mine requested that I send these supplemental things to him before thanksgiving break. Best of luck! 

Thanks for the info! I see that you got accepted to CSUF and UW MedSLP!! That's amazing, especially UW!

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I see you've gotten a lot of great responses already, so I'll just tack on my experience! I requested letters mid-September. I gave my professors/supervisors copies of my unofficial transcript, resume, and personal statement (draft). I also provided a list of schools that included brief explanations of why I was interested in the program, the application deadline, and the method for submitting the LOR (online or through mail, signature on the seal, etc.). If the program required professors to fill out a recommendation form, I printed that out and filled as much as I could. I also included pre-addressed envelopes for programs that required physical mail-in applications. They have a lot of recommendations to write so they'll appreciate you making it as easy as possible for them to write a great LOR :) 

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Similar to what other posters said, I started priming my recommenders ahead of time before I formally asked them. I Formally asked them in the beginning of the semester that I was going through the application process. After they agreed, I provided them with a nice portfolio with my name on it, which contained:  1) a personalized thank you note 2) a list of all my schools that they needed to write/fill out recommendations for, their due dates, & whether they were mail-in or online 2) my resume 3) bullet points of my areas interests/what I plan to do in graduate school and in my career. (Some people choose to provide them with a copy of their letter of intent, but I couldn't quite get mine down, so I gave them a quick blurb about my interests, etc.)

Also, I would suggest giving them a deadline 1 month before they are actually due. A lot of my friends had issues with their recommenders not submitting them on time! Most of my apps were due Early January, but since I asked late august/early september, I gave them the due date of December 1st for all of my schools. 

I realize this sounds over the top, but it was a great tip I picked up from a friend of mine who was going through her CFY at the time. It just helps the recommenders write a detailed letter more tailored to you personally, especially because they'll most likely be writing letters for multiple people! 

Edited by CaliK8

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8 hours ago, ringabelle said:

Hey all!

I am a junior at CSU Fullerton and I'm just wondering when is the perfect time to ask for Letters of Rec? I am planning to apply for Fall 2018 (my estimated graduation date is Spring '18) and I already have 2 professors in mind to ask but I just don't know when and how to go about it. Do I ask this ongoing Spring semester? Do I ask in the upcoming Fall semester? It seems to be something that no one really talks about or explains clearly, so I'm a bit confused. Any advice or tips will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

I'm at CSUF too. :) Anyways, just to echo everyone else, I informally asked my professors at the end of last Spring semester, because I knew certain professors had limits as to how many they wrote per application cycle. Then when Fall came around, depending on if I could see the professor in person or not, I'd either talk to them again or send a nice email about it. Both were very nice about it and kept their word for writing my letter of recs. One of them asked for an academic resume, the other just informally asked me what schools I'd be applying to. Definitely have your letter of intent on hand as well just in case they ask for it! You never know what a professor will ask for :D 

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11 hours ago, CaliK8 said:

Also, I would suggest giving them a deadline 1 month before they are actually due. A lot of my friends had issues with their recommenders not submitting them on time! Most of my apps were due Early January, but since I asked late august/early september, I gave them the due date of December 1st for all of my schools. 

I realize this sounds over the top, but it was a great tip I picked up from a friend of mine who was going through her CFY at the time. It just helps the recommenders write a detailed letter more tailored to you personally, especially because they'll most likely be writing letters for multiple people! 

^ THIS. Always give them a deadline with ample time to miss it before your REAL deadline. It will give you some breathing room and prevent a hang up on their end from impacting your application.

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11 hours ago, CaliK8 said:

Also, I would suggest giving them a deadline 1 month before they are actually due. A lot of my friends had issues with their recommenders not submitting them on time! Most of my apps were due Early January, but since I asked late august/early september, I gave them the due date of December 1st for all of my schools. 

I realize this sounds over the top, but it was a great tip I picked up from a friend of mine who was going through her CFY at the time. It just helps the recommenders write a detailed letter more tailored to you personally, especially because they'll most likely be writing letters for multiple people! 

 

50 minutes ago, Allegro8032 said:

^ THIS. Always give them a deadline with ample time to miss it before your REAL deadline. It will give you some breathing room and prevent a hang up on their end from impacting your application.

I AGREE! Holy cow, one of my recommenders literally submitted it the day of. & I think she got annoyed with me because I kept emailing her SO often checking in. If I could do it over, I would've done this!!!

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Oh my gosh, one of my recommenders missed BOTH of my fake deadlines and submitted one of my letters three minutes before it was due!!!!!!!! I almost died!!! Definitely give fake deadlines! You don't even have to lie; you can say "I am looking to submit my applications by _________."

Also, I did not have any academic recommenders since I have been out of school for a while. I gave them less time than I would have given an academic reference because they didn't have piles of recommendations to write. I think I asked them in early October, and I wouldn't have wanted to ask them any sooner.

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15 hours ago, ringabelle said:

Thanks for the info! I see that you got accepted to CSUF and UW MedSLP!! That's amazing, especially UW!

Some hard decisions to make!

13 hours ago, CaliK8 said:

Similar to what other posters said, I started priming my recommenders ahead of time before I formally asked them. I Formally asked them in the beginning of the semester that I was going through the application process. After they agreed, I provided them with a nice portfolio with my name on it, which contained:  1) a personalized thank you note 2) a list of all my schools that they needed to write/fill out recommendations for, their due dates, & whether they were mail-in or online 2) my resume 3) bullet points of my areas interests/what I plan to do in graduate school and in my career. (Some people choose to provide them with a copy of their letter of intent, but I couldn't quite get mine down, so I gave them a quick blurb about my interests, etc.)

Also, I would suggest giving them a deadline 1 month before they are actually due. A lot of my friends had issues with their recommenders not submitting them on time! Most of my apps were due Early January, but since I asked late august/early september, I gave them the due date of December 1st for all of my schools. 

I realize this sounds over the top, but it was a great tip I picked up from a friend of mine who was going through her CFY at the time. It just helps the recommenders write a detailed letter more tailored to you personally, especially because they'll most likely be writing letters for multiple people! 

YES DON'T FORGET THE THANK YOU NOTE! I tacked on a small little Starbucks gift card as well but it's not really necessarily. I gave these after they submitted my letters as not to seem like I'm trying to bribe them. :P

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Two of my recommenders missed two deadlines each. So I had two incomplete applications past the deadline. One person posted the day after the application was due (after I had sent several very frazzled emails). The other one posted ONE WEEK after the deadline. Definitely give a fake due date and stay on top of them about completing. My applications informed me when the forms had been received, opened, and sent by the recommenders. I asked each of them in August, gave them a two month heads up, one month, two weeks, one week, one day, day of, and then freaked out the day after. It was very disheartening and makes me wonder if that's why I was rejected. All in all, learn from my let down. It feels horrible to have this happen and probably looks just as bad if not worse from the school's standpoint. Choose your recommenders wisely.

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3 minutes ago, mɪs_spitʃ_pæθ said:

Two of my recommenders missed two deadlines each. So I had two incomplete applications past the deadline. One person posted the day after the application was due (after I had sent several very frazzled emails). The other one posted ONE WEEK after the deadline. Definitely give a fake due date and stay on top of them about completing. My applications informed me when the forms had been received, opened, and sent by the recommenders. I asked each of them in August, gave them a two month heads up, one month, two weeks, one week, one day, day of, and then freaked out the day after. It was very disheartening and makes me wonder if that's why I was rejected. All in all, learn from my let down. It feels horrible to have this happen and probably looks just as bad if not worse from the school's standpoint. Choose your recommenders wisely.

I am so sorry that happened!! It must be even more frustrating because you gave them ALL of the reminders (and more) that they needed.

My friend used the same recommender as me and she did not submit any of his letters until 2 minutes before the deadline. He said he almost passed out and was planning what else he would do the next year because he thought it was all over. I agree... choose recommenders wisely and use fake deadlines.

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