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Thread: Letters of recommendation

  1. #1
    Permabanned Array
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    Mar 2008

    Default Letters of recommendation

    Alright, so I've got like 6 different summer internship opportunities I'd really like to try to get into, but I need like 2 letters of recommendation for each. I have maybe 3 professors I can ask from my community college, but the real issue is that the closest deadline is in 3 weeks, while the others are 4 or 5 weeks away. What's the best way to try and ask for the letters so I can get into one of these summer programs? BTW, the one due in 3 weeks is like an online questionnaire format, and the others can just be emailed.

  2. #2
    On a mission Array Usehername's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007


    1. Have talked with your profs 1-on-1 so they can actually get a sense of your personality and strengths (this should be past tense before you ask them, but if it's a lower key internship it's less of a deal if they don't know you very well. But you can't ask them if they don't have any sense of who you are). Ask them if they can write you a supportive letter. Anyone can write a letter. I've written one that, between-the-lines, reads, "this student is a kind soul, but is a flake and isn't ready for the high pressure demands of your internship," because he was desperate, and forgot the stuff and was last minute, keeping with his personality he'd shown me throughout the semester as a D student who couldn't turn something in or show up on time to save his soul. Your prof's professional integrity is on the line. They're going to be tactful, but they're not going to lie on your behalf. The whole point of a recommendation from a trusted member of the community is that they're supposed to be writing with integrity. So make sure they can write you a good one.

    2. bring the context that they're writing to them. The more blind they are to the end goal the harder the letter will be to write. This is bad for your internship and for your prof's attitude when they see you've put them into a frustrating position where they have to make a blind move, so to speak. See if you can print off the 'about' pages on their website, and a job description of the internship for each one.

    3. Don't just ask the prof to write the letter, tell them why you want to apply. Again, give them resources to help for a successful letter. Have a larger life trajectory that they can see this fitting into.

    4. Ask ASAP because they're busy people. It's customary to provide self-addressed, stamped envelopes so all they have to do is drop it in the mail.

    5. Bring it in a folder with everything printed off instead of electronic so they can lay it out on their desks and type.

    6. If they do it, a token measure of gratitude is nice. It doesn't have to cost money it just has to be a gesture of thanks.
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  3. #3
    Gotta catch you all! Array Blackmail!'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008


    I only write letters of recommendation for students to whom I can trust.
    Otherwise, it's a matter of professional integrity.
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

    7w8 SCUxI

  4. #4
    Junior Member Array pickledoctopus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012


    I feel so good about studying music right now. Pretty much all my professors know me well enough from my work and my performances, and I have had chance to actually work with them 1-on-1 in the field... letters of recommendation have never been easier!

    But that's beside the point.

    To add to what usehername said, I would suggest maybe being able to acquaint your profs with specific actions or behaviours that make you an outstanding student and member of the community, to give them an idea of what you can do. Things like tutoring, volunteering, etc.

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