Letters of Recommendation for Non-Traditional Student

In summary, a non-traditional student is looking for letters of recommendation for graduate school. They are considering taking graduate courses under a graduate non-matriculated status if a school they are interested in allows it. A supervisor can write about your work ethic, enthusiasm, maturity, and life experience.
  • #1
Cod
325
4
Like the title states, I'm curious about letters of recommendation for non-traditional students. I'm finally due to finish my degree (BS in CS / Minor in Math) after approximately eight years. It took me so long to get my degree due to military service. I went to an online school (UMUC...not the best I know) and didn't take the same professor more than twice, so I don't really have the same relationships as a traditional, brick-and-mortar student.

Since there aren't any professors that "truly" know me, what's the next best option? A professor that only "barely" knows me? Work supervisors? Is this something I can overcome with my statement of purpose / resume?

Any help is greatly appreciated.
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
What is your letter for? A graduate program I assume, but what kind? Depending on what the program is about non-academic letter writers may be satisfactory enough to an admissions committee. Did your work supervisors supervise you in any type of technical/CS/math regard?
 
  • #3
You can:

Ask a supervisor or employer to write on your behalf. Given that most graduate applications require three letters of recommendation, you may need to look beyond faculty for your letters. A supervisor can write about your work ethic, enthusiasm, maturity, and life experience. The trick is ensuring that your referee understands what graduate admissions committees are looking for in applicants. Provide your referee with all the information he or she needs to write an excellent letter. Include a description of your work-related experiences, why you wish to attend graduate school, your skills and abilities -- as well as examples of how your current work demonstrates those skills and abilities. In other words, consider exactly what you'd like the letter to say, then provide your supervisor with everything he or she needs to write that letter. Provide phrases and paragraphs that contain important material and examples illustrating your capacities; this can help your supervisor frame the task and his or her evaluation. It can also subtly guide your letter writer; however, do not expect your supervisor to simply copy your work. By helping - providing detailed information and guidance - you can influence your letter by making it easy for your supervisor.

Enroll in a class. Before applying to graduate school, try taking a few classes, either at the undergraduate level if you're entering a new field or at the graduate level. Excel in those classes and let your professors get to know you. If they're doing research in your area of interest, volunteer to help. Letters from faculty who know you now will help your application immensely.
 
  • #4
Yellowflash said:
. A supervisor can write about your work ethic, enthusiasm, maturity, and life experience.

True, but not as useful to a committee as someone who went to graduate school themselves saying that this person is a good fit. You really want someone who understands the question writing a rec.
 
  • #5
Thanks for the words thus far.

ModusPwned, it is a letter for graduate school. Sorry I wasn't more clear in my initial post. My primary job involves a lot of critical thinking, math, and some limited programming (VBA).

Yellowflash and Vanadium, two of the writers I have in mind have both been through graduate school...one recently, if that matters (negatively or positively) and the other is now an instructor at one of the US military academies. Like one of you mentioned, I've been thinking about taking a few graduate courses under a graduate non-matriculated status if a school I'm interested in allows it. Are recommendation letters usually required to apply for this status?

I'm hoping my statement of purpose, resume, etc. will paint a decent picture as to why its taken me so long to get my degree and don't have a strong relationship with any past professors.
 

Related to Letters of Recommendation for Non-Traditional Student

1. What is a letter of recommendation for a non-traditional student?

A letter of recommendation for a non-traditional student is a written statement from someone who knows the student personally and can attest to their academic abilities, character, and potential for success. Non-traditional students are typically individuals who have taken a break from their education or are returning to school after a significant period of time.

2. Who should I ask for a letter of recommendation as a non-traditional student?

You should ask individuals who know you well and can speak to your academic abilities, work ethic, and personal qualities. This can include professors, employers, mentors, or community leaders. It is important to choose recommenders who can provide specific examples and insights about you as a student and a person.

3. How many letters of recommendation should I submit as a non-traditional student?

It is typically recommended to submit 2-3 letters of recommendation, but this can vary depending on the requirements of the institution or program you are applying to. Be sure to carefully review the guidelines and only submit the number of letters requested.

4. Can I use letters of recommendation from previous academic experiences?

Yes, if you have recently taken courses or completed a degree program, you may ask for letters of recommendation from your professors or instructors. However, it is important to also include letters from individuals who can speak to your current abilities and potential as a non-traditional student.

5. How can I make sure my letters of recommendation are strong as a non-traditional student?

To ensure strong letters of recommendation, you should provide your recommenders with a copy of your resume or CV, a brief summary of your academic and personal achievements, and any relevant information about the program or institution you are applying to. You should also give your recommenders enough time to write the letter and be sure to thank them for their time and support.

Similar threads

  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
6
Views
945
Replies
2
Views
781
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
2
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
4
Views
2K
Replies
1
Views
817
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
1
Views
705
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
2
Views
1K
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
9
Views
2K
Replies
2
Views
742
  • STEM Academic Advising
Replies
1
Views
1K
Back
Top