What if I can't get enough recommendation letters for grad school?

The programs I'm applying to require 3 letters of recommendation. I have two REALLY GOOD ones (and from legitimate sources. One boss and one professor) but I'm struggling with the third one. 

I googled this and people said that they reached out to professors of classes they did well in and asked them for recommendations even though the professor may not know them well. Should I do this? E-mail a prof like, "Hello, I took your class in Fall of whatever year and I was wondering if you could write me a letter of recommendation."??

4 Answers

  • Expat
    Lv 6
    1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    Yes. As a university professor myself, this happens from time to time. Two pieces of advice I’ll offer you: first, flattery will get you everywhere! Everybody enjoys it and certainly professors (it’s good to remember that in graduate school as well!), so be sure to tell them how much you enjoyed their class and do try to include specific details of their class that will demonstrate you did retain something from the course. Second, be very specific about when you took their class (year and semester), and of course what program you’re applying to, why you’re interested and some insight into your plans following completing the program. If I don’t know enough about you or your plans it’s far more difficult to write a letter, but if you provide me with everything I need to write the letter in your request, I’ll be more apt to agree and just fire off the letter right then and there. Do try to think of a professor you had for a course that has some relation to the program you’re interested in if you don’t already have a professor you’re close to. Good luck! 

  • 1 month ago

    That's a very iffy proposition, but your only option at present. You need to get to know some professors as an undergrad & let them get to know you well to have good chances of recommendations for grad school and/or jobs after graduation. Those letters of recommendation are even more important for grad school admissions than undergrad. A lukewarm recommendation hurts you a lot. 

  • MS
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Yes, I've written letters for such students before.  You should let them know which class you took and in which semester, and explain why you are asking for a letter from them.  It is helpful to provide some additional information, like a CV or a list of your activities and accomplishments, which they can use to help fill the letter out a bit better.  

    Also, make sure that a letter from your boss is acceptable.  Many graduate programs require them to be from faculty/teachers/academic supervisors.  If your work is relevant to the field, then that certainly makes a difference too. 

  • 1 month ago

    I am speaking from ignorance here, but I would think that if you reached out to a professor of a class you did well in, asked that he check your grades so that he had an understanding of how well you did in the class, then that should be enough reason for him/her to give you a letter of recommendation. I really don't see that you would have to be on a first name basis with that professor to have him say that you did well in the class. I mean, give it a try, email that person and give them a bit of background as to what you took and how you liked it, and the marks you received and see if they will go from there for you. The worst they could say is no. Give it a shot.

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