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LOR advice for someone with terrible grades

Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:14 pm
by sam62188
Hello all,

I am in the process of asking for LORs and have come across something complications. Specifically my grades are terrible and when potential recommenders ask for my transcript I am not sure how to handle it. I am 3 years out of school and never made any relationships with any of my professors.

I don’t expect any of my LORs to be spectacular or anything, but I worry that looking at my transcripts might lead to a particularly bad letter. I want to avoid being whiny about the reasons for my bad grades, should I simply add something like “I understand if you feel uncomfortable writing me a letter of recommendation due to my poor track record” to my request?

Re: LOR advice for someone with terrible grades

Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:22 pm
by Typhoon24
how terrible are we talking here

Re: LOR advice for someone with terrible grades

Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:35 pm
by ScottRiqui
Typhoon24 wrote:how terrible are we talking here


Also, keep in mind that your recommender isn't responsible for vouching for your entire academic performance - don't you have some classes that you did really well in? Hit those profs up.

Re: LOR advice for someone with terrible grades

Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:40 pm
by jas1503
The professor isn't going to be looking at your transcript.

Usually, you can ask a professor at the end of a course for a LOR; if you did very well in the course, then it's not really a huge problem for the professor to write you a LOR.

They write many, many LORs every month. It's part of the job.


ETA: Please consider sending a small gift after you get your LOR.

Re: LOR advice for someone with terrible grades

Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:44 pm
by A. Nony Mouse
Actually, some profs will want to see a transcript. Certainly in law school whenever I had someone write a LOR I sent them my transcript. And gifts are totally unnecessary (nice enough, but nowhere near required).

Re: LOR advice for someone with terrible grades

Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:01 pm
by cinephile
Well, I certainly hope you're getting at least one or more from an employer.

Re: LOR advice for someone with terrible grades

Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:21 pm
by PRgradBYU
cinephile wrote:Well, I certainly hope you're getting at least one or more from an employer.


+1, given that OP has been out of school for three years. Also, I would recommend visiting with professors (whose classes you aced) in person, rather than emailing or calling them. They'll have a better chance of remembering you that way.

Re: LOR advice for someone with terrible grades

Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:24 pm
by stillwater
yo, i was a total shitty student. i just took 6 classes with the same professor and got decent to respectable grades with. the last one being my finest performance. so sometimes if you make a bond that way, by sheer volume of presence, then you maybe able to get something. LOR dont really matter. as long as they dont fuck you

Re: LOR advice for someone with terrible grades

Posted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:06 pm
by bp shinners
PRgradBYU wrote:
cinephile wrote:Well, I certainly hope you're getting at least one or more from an employer.


+1, given that OP has been out of school for three years. Also, I would recommend visiting with professors (whose classes you aced) in person, rather than emailing or calling them. They'll have a better chance of remembering you that way.


I'd wait until 5 years out before sending in 2 LoRs from employers. But 1 is fine.

To OP - Do you have any solid grades? If so, ask those professors.

Re: LOR advice for someone with terrible grades

Posted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:38 pm
by sam62188
OP here, so far I have two responses:

The first professor simply looked up my grade and said he is fine with writing the letter. I remembered him being very laid back and approachable, so he was always a first choice.

The second asked for transcripts, resume, statement of purpose, and a photo.

All my classes were huge, 100-200 students per class in a quarter system. Even the upper division classes are big because there are graduate students spliced in there as well. I have no repeat professors, so basically I had a 10 week period in which to make an impression amongst a big crowd.

By the way, I have asked employers as well. I just want to have some back ups in case someone forgets or if a school out there has a prof only requirement.

I guess I am making too big of a deal about this, I guess I made the posted to vent some anxiety. I'll just send everything as requested and let the professor know that its okay if he feels uncomfortable writing the letter and if he does, I will ask someone else.

Thanks for your responses everyone.