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Letters of recommendation

  1. Oct 22, 2016 #1
    how do instructors feel when students ask them to write one?
    I graduate in May and I only feel comfortable asking one person. But I know a lot of people that make it into graduate school fairly easy. Is it not that personal a thing to do?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 22, 2016 #2


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    Gold Member

    Depends on a lot of things. The particular instructor. The particular student. The relatioship between the two. There is no single answer to your question. Some will find writing such letters an annoyance and others will consider it a normal part of their job (providing that they feel the student deserves a decent letter of recommendation)
  4. Oct 22, 2016 #3
    Yeah, asking for letters is kind of an awkward fact of life, but a necessary one. Think of it this way - it is not only beneficial for you, but for the professor to write one as long as you are worthy of it. The better graduate school you can get into (and succeed in), the better it reflects on the department.

    However, be sure to stay organized. Make your list of schools and make sure they approve it. For many of the schools, you will need to log in online and submit your letter requests, which your professors will receive by e-mail. Ask them when they prefer to get it - if you're applying to 12 schools, they're going to get 12 emails spamming up their inbox, so they may prefer it to happen overnight or on a weekend. You should do them all at one time unless your professor wants otherwise - keep in mind that for some schools, you cannot request letters until the application itself is complete and submitted, so be sure to have your application materials handy.

    Also, many letter-writers will request a research summary or CV, especially if you haven't worked with them ina while, so they can be very specific in their letter for you.
  5. Oct 22, 2016 #4
    I've always been willing to write recommendation letters for students earning a B or better in my classes, but I decline to write letters for C students.

    I'm also eager to write letters for students who I mentor in research projects. For me, that is essentially a debt that I owe to them.
  6. Oct 23, 2016 #5
    ah. interesting. this is what i getting at. i just feel like its something very personal. thats why id be intimidated to ask an instructor to write one. maybe I've had a conversation or two with them but feel like it they would want to know me more personally to write one.
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