It is never easy to ask for a letter of recommendation when applying to a masters degree or PhD program, but it’s even more difficult if you are attending online school or graduated years ago. In both cases, you may be worried that your professors do not know you well enough to provide you with a recommendation that will paint you in a positive light.
Graduate admissions committees look for students with a proven track record of ambition, dedication, and responsibility. The first people that any prospective graduate student should approach to provide this information are their current or past professors. Your professors will have the best understanding of how you perform academically and your level of dedication to your field.
Asking for Letters of Recommendation for Your Masters Degree Program in Online School
It is undeniable that it is easier for professors to evaluate whether or not students are grad school material when they have met them face-to-face. However, your online professors still have experience evaluating your work and interacting with you over the internet. They should have a good idea of whether or not you would succeed in graduate school.
Think about which professors you’ve had the most classes with and who know and understand your work the most. These are the professors you should be asking. Go through your papers and projects to find a few that you have received positive feedback on and ask the professors who graded them. If they liked your work, they probably will remember you and be able to effectively evaluate your work.
Asking for a Recommendation When You Already Graduated from College
This is a challenge, but not impossible. It is assumed that you have been working since you left college. Ask your employers or co-workers who have worked with you and have a good understanding of your skills and achievements. These letters are even more helpful when you are already working in the field for which you are pursuing your masters degree or PhD.
If you are pursuing a masters degree to switch careers, consider contacting past professors who will be able to better evaluate your academic successes. You might think that your professors will not remember you, but you might be surprised.
If you wrote a great research paper or created a memorable project, chances are they will remember you. Even if you have been out of school for five years, don’t let this deter you from contacting your professors.
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