Potential LOR professor does not know my name..ouch.

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
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westinghouse60
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Potential LOR professor does not know my name..ouch.

Postby westinghouse60 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:33 pm

I've had this professor for a class before, and am currently in another one of his classes (both have been relatively small). Both are related to political philosophy and are some of the most interesting and engaging classes I've had in college; furthermore, I've been one of the most vocal and outspoken students in class, and he has seemed to appreciate my comments. Initially my only concern was he is a Marxist (I think..or a social anarchist, if you're into political philosophy), while I am generally a libertarian, so sometimes our views were at odds. However, I always made intelligent, constructive arguments (IMO) rather than just parroting opinions I heard on Fox News. I received an A- in his first class and will almost certainly get the same grade in this class as well.

I was considering asking him for a LOR; I feel he knows better than most of my professors the kind of work I'm capable of. I've had other classes which are perhaps harder and gotten A's, but those are mostly classes in economics etc where class discussion/creative thinking is fairly rare.

However, I recently became aware that he did not know my name lol. I'm sure he would recognize me/know the work I had done in his class, but him not knowing my name seemed to be a strong disincentive for asking him for a letter. I think it is likely related to the fact that he's one of my most intelligent/educated professors, has published several books, etc, and for him developing relationships with students is probably secondary to his work.

So should I ask him for a LOR? I already have one professor who I'm certain I want to ask. I had him for Law and Economics; he probably has a higher opinion of me than I do of myself lol.

The other options are either one of my professors in intermediate micro/macro economics (got an A in both of these, while the majority of the class got C or below), but again, they don't know me that well. Alternatively, I could ask my professor in another poli sci class; I'm sure he remembers me, and I had a lot of great discussion in his class as well (also received an A), but I haven't had him as recently and I'm not entirely sure of his opinion of me.

So who should I ask in your opinion?

And finally, I'll almost certainly be applying to UNC Chapel Hill. In addition to the two academic recommendations, a family friend was a top graduate from there 15-20 years ago and now owns a bankruptcy law firm. I've worked with him personally before and had several long discussions about law school. Would asking him for a supplemental LOR be beneficial just for my UNC app? Or should I send it to multiple schools?

Thanks in advance for replies and sorry for the lengthy post.

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quakeroats
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Re: Potential LOR professor does not know my name..ouch.

Postby quakeroats » Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:38 pm

It's time for an office visit or two. Spend time talking with him and see where things go.

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Bashy
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Re: Potential LOR professor does not know my name..ouch.

Postby Bashy » Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:26 pm

I'm applying to Chapel Hill myself. Out of curiosity, where did you go to undergrad?

HyeMart
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Re: Potential LOR professor does not know my name..ouch.

Postby HyeMart » Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:29 pm

if he agrees, ask "do you think you could write me a strong recommendation?" This is appropriate and both of you will appreciate it being asked.

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kwais
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Re: Potential LOR professor does not know my name..ouch.

Postby kwais » Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:32 pm

just curious, is there an assumption in the OP that Fox News and libertarianism are in any way related? or did I read that wrong? serious question

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quakeroats
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Re: Potential LOR professor does not know my name..ouch.

Postby quakeroats » Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:43 pm

kwais wrote:just curious, is there an assumption in the OP that Fox News and libertarianism are in any way related? or did I read that wrong? serious question


I know where you're going, but to be fair, libertarianism means a lot of things to a lot of different people: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarianism

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Br3v
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Re: Potential LOR professor does not know my name..ouch.

Postby Br3v » Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:46 pm

westinghouse60 wrote:I've had this professor for a class before, and am currently in another one of his classes (both have been relatively small). Both are related to political philosophy and are some of the most interesting and engaging classes I've had in college; furthermore, I've been one of the most vocal and outspoken students in class, and he has seemed to appreciate my comments. Initially my only concern was he is a Marxist (I think..or a social anarchist, if you're into political philosophy), while I am generally a libertarian, so sometimes our views were at odds. However, I always made intelligent, constructive arguments (IMO) rather than just parroting opinions I heard on Fox News. I received an A- in his first class and will almost certainly get the same grade in this class as well.


Sometimes?

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westinghouse60
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Re: Potential LOR professor does not know my name..ouch.

Postby westinghouse60 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:39 pm

kwais wrote:just curious, is there an assumption in the OP that Fox News and libertarianism are in any way related? or did I read that wrong? serious question


I think it can incorrectly be associated with the tea party movement, for example. They have some elements of libertarianism and identify themselves with it in some instances, but aren't really libertarian.

Br3v wrote:Sometimes?


Lol. Well, almost always on economic issues, but we would both fall on the liberal end of the spectrum on social issues.

BeaverHunter
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Re: Potential LOR professor does not know my name..ouch.

Postby BeaverHunter » Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:21 am

Getting someone who doesn't know your name to provide a recommendation is a bad life decision. Just pick one of your other professors. Nobody is going to care if they are a professor of economics or a professor of political science.

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westinghouse60
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Re: Potential LOR professor does not know my name..ouch.

Postby westinghouse60 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:00 pm

BeaverHunter wrote:Getting someone who doesn't know your name to provide a recommendation is a bad life decision. Just pick one of your other professors. Nobody is going to care if they are a professor of economics or a professor of political science.


That's not the issue. The issue is professor who doesn't know my name (perhaps because they don't know anyone's name and just don't care that much) but is familiar with my contributions to class discussion vs. a professor who happens to know my name but I've barely spoken up in class.

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pleasetryagain
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Re: Potential LOR professor does not know my name..ouch.

Postby pleasetryagain » Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:32 pm

A few really good professors aside, most of the LORs will be very similar. If the guy doesn't even know your name don't expect him to recount, in detail, for the admissions office, that day you raised your hand in class and filled the room with your unprecedented intelligence. He will use a form letter and stick your name it (if he can remember it).

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westinghouse60
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Re: Potential LOR professor does not know my name..ouch.

Postby westinghouse60 » Tue Jun 14, 2011 6:05 pm

pleasetryagain wrote:A few really good professors aside, most of the LORs will be very similar. If the guy doesn't even know your name don't expect him to recount, in detail, for the admissions office, that day you raised your hand in class and filled the room with your unprecedented intelligence. He will use a form letter and stick your name it (if he can remember it).

Will a neutral letter from another one of my professors hurt me? I've heard mixed things.




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