If you are fresh from undergrad, and hoping to go to grad school ( Masters) or even go into a decent job a good recommendation from a professor or a member of the faculty is a must.
Most master’s programmes and first jobs out of graduation, usually want one to two letter of recommendation from your professors. One of the most important reason why letters of recommendation matters so much – is that professors are the main people who teach you – will have a fair idea of your capabilities as a student, as a worker, and also your communication skills – most assignments, exams and classes are actually a test of your ability to communicate effectively – both in written form as well as orally.
So if you are a fresh grad, and wondering how to approach your prof for a letter of recommendation, read on….
Choose The Right Professor : Getting a good letter of recommendation can be a tricky thing and requires a bit of strategy. Approaching a random professor you just happened to know, wont do. You should approach profs with whom you had the maximum number of classes, had the maximum amount of interaction in and outside the class, and most important – the one in whose classes you had the maximum grades in. Such a professor will have a favourable impression on you, and will also have a bit of personal relationship with you – enough to vouch for your potential and merits personally.
Begin as early as possible : Getting a letter of recommendation is a time consuming process. So begin it early – at least a month before.Strike up a meeting at the office of your professor, to discuss about letter of recommendation – why you need it, and relevance of a recommendation for this particular professor – you can be applying for a job that involves heavily on what this professor teaches, etc.
Gauge Their Reaction : Yes this is important. Do gauge their reaction when asking for a rec. If the professor gives a neutral or half hearted recommendation, this can decidedly work against you, rather than for you.
T for Timing : Timing is very important. Don’t corner the professor in the hallways, or during the time he/she is in a hurry for a class or seminar. The best time to approach a prof for recommendations is the office hour – where he/she can interact with you personally for a long period of time. Also email in advance and fix an appointment.
Provide all Documents Neatly : Provide all documents, containing your grades. programme specific application sheets neatly. All these documents will be error free and proofread.
Don’t Forget A Friendly Reminder : This is important. Don’t forget to send a friendly reminder via email if the professor is being a bit late to send the letter of recommendation!
Don’t Forget To Include A Thank You Note : After getting a recommendation, don’t forget to include a thank you note! This shows politeness and etiquette.