If you would like a recommendation…

So for ay undergrads reading this, I have some sage advice. If you are planning on asking your professor for a letter of recommendation, try to make sure your professor KNOWS WHO YOU ARE. Simply showing up out of the blue towards the end of the semester and then asking for a letter for Med School/Internships/Study Abroad/ Fellowships/Circus School (really!), etc. will not earn you a good letter if I don’t know who you are. At most I can say you did well in my class, maybe asked a few questions, took other challenging courses and that’s about it. That’s not going to get you the Fullbright. It may seem that after spending a semester listening to me blather on about great moments in science or whatever you feel like you know me, you know how I think, maybe identify with how I think, much like you would with an author in a book. But that doesn’t mean I know YOU. If you want that to happen, you need to participate in class and more importantly come to office hours. That’s what they’re for, to get to know your professors better and get them to know you. Office hours aren’t just for asking for clarification of the material, although they can be that too, so take advantage of a good opportunity to get individual attention from you prof, and to make sure that when you ask them for a letter he or she will have something nice and unique to say about you.

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5 Responses to If you would like a recommendation…

  1. Angela says:

    You need a reference for circus school?!

  2. Jim Thomerson says:

    This student was 27th out of a class of 186. I am not sure I would recognize him or her should we pass in the hall.

    I have never written exactly that letter, but I have come close. I had one that was close, but had talked with me on occasion. He got into dental school. A year or so later he came by and told me about certain things I had emphasized in class which had really helped him out. I was pleased that I had written him an adequate letter.

  3. minion says:

    Maybe you should announce this in class?
    I certainly never received any of this sage advice as an undergrad, and truly did think that office hours were for clarification of the material.

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