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Graduate Reference

  1. Mar 18, 2014 #1
    I've finally decided to start the M.A. Math program at my university. It's designed for those who want to teach math at a junior college, but I have no plans to do except maybe for "retirement" later in life. It's not a science/research degree, but I want to learn more mathematics, primarily the classes I didn't take in undergrad (complex analysis, differential geometry, etc.) For the application, I'm supposed to provide three references including at least one from a professional mathematician. I never developed a familiar relationship with one of my professors to warrant a recommendation. However, I have emailed two professors with no response. The second I might just have to stop by his office if I ever get a chance - I work full-time and it's not really practical. When I took two of his classes, he made it clear that he doesn't check email, but I figured that he would have to for inter-and intra-departmental correspondence. How exactly should I proceed in procuring a professional mathematician's recommendation?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2014 #2


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    Well aside from showing up at office hours, have you considered sending an actual letter? That might just get a response.
  4. Mar 19, 2014 #3
    Duh. Why didn't I think of that! Good idea. I suppose that I could send a letter to my favorite math professor. He's one of the respected professors on campus, so a formal letter might be more appropriate for him anyway. Should I include my unofficial transcript and resume?
  5. Mar 19, 2014 #4


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    I think that would be a good idea. You can indicate in the letter than you are including your transcript and resume to refresh his memory.

    Good luck!
  6. Mar 19, 2014 #5
    When asking for a letter of recommendation, make it easy for your letter-writer. Give them a piece of paper that says who you are, what class of yours they took, your grade, your goals for the future, where you are applying to, etc. Don't rely on their memory.
  7. Mar 19, 2014 #6


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    That's an excellent suggestion. Perhaps that information could also be sent in a follow-up email, to supplement the piece of paper (which can easily be misplaced).
  8. Mar 19, 2014 #7
    Right now, I have printed out a one-page (signed) letter, one-page resume, and a four-page transcript. They'll be in that order in the envelope. Good to go?
  9. Mar 31, 2014 #8
    The letter and documentation arrived at the university definitely by March 24 (FedEx Express). When should I send a follow up email? I'm not sure how long it takes to get to a particular department and individual at the university.
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