Asking a Prof. for a Recommendation

A forum for those current students who are or may be transferring from one school to another. Post any questions, advice, or other transfer related comments here.
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zomginternets
Posts: 547
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:59 pm

Asking a Prof. for a Recommendation

Postby zomginternets » Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:25 pm

So in the next month or two, I need to ask profs for transfer recommendations (I'm thinking of doing EA @ GULC if you're wondering what the rush is). Having a tough time coming up with a reason for transferring other than "I want to go to a better school" in case they ask.

The Profs: Of the 2 profs I will be asking, 1 is a graduate of the school I go to and has taught here for 30 years, the other went to Harvard and is an assistant dean here; hence I would assume they both might have stronger attachments to my school than the average prof, and thus the reason I'm freaking out about ensuring I give them a reason they will respect. (I'd rather stick with these 2 profs though since I know they both like me and I got an A in both their classes.)

So far I've come up with (in order of which ones I like the most):

1. I'm an international student and there isn't any support at my current school for international students. All of the international students are LLM students (I'm pretty sure I'm the only international JD student), so there isn't any information or student services that give me any leads on what I can do with my JD outside the US. Problem: Sounds a bit like I'm dissing my current school's administration, and seems a bit close to the "I want to go to a better school" reason.

2. I want to move out of city/out of state. This is true; I will be applying to schools mostly outside my current city and/or state, and if given the choice between 2 equally good schools I would go with the out of state school. Problem: I do intend to apply to 1 or 2 schools within my current city, which detracts from the genuineness of my reason. Also, I wouldn't want the prof to write a recommendation that I send to a law school within the city that mentions my desire to move out of the city.

3. The "trying to negotiate a scholarship out of my current school" reason suggested in Arrow's article. However, honestly I disagree with Arrow's assertion that it is a reason that most profs will understand. It seems like you are asking profs (in my case, with attachments to my school) to help you extract money out of the administration by 'playing hardball', which seems equally as ignoble as just saying "I think will have better employment prospects graduating from [insert name of transfer school] than [insert name of current school]."

Maybe I can use a combination of 1 and 2? I dunno. What do you guys think? Am I tripping out too much about this?

abudaba
Posts: 89
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:57 pm

Re: Asking a Prof. for a Recommendation

Postby abudaba » Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:45 am

+1 I would like info on this as well

Also, I have not tries this yet but its a strategy I am planning to use:

When I go in to deal with LoR stuff I am going to first meet with my professors just talk about transferring in general. I'll let them know that I have really love the school so far (which is true) and it is probably a lot of the reason why I did well. But, I am considering transferring to broaden my options and was wondering if they know of students in the past who did it, how it went for them, and their thoughts in general on the topic. Then hear them out and, leave telling them I need to think about it and if I do decide to go through with it, ask if they are willing to write me the LoR.

Then think about it, and return a few days later and say I decided to throw the apps out there and see what happens and ask if they still would be willing to recommend me.

Figure they will be more comfortable if they have the chance to be part of the decision making process instead of just being used and get some good info in the process.

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JaLeCa
Posts: 301
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 8:42 pm

Re: Asking a Prof. for a Recommendation

Postby JaLeCa » Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:46 am

Don't overthink it.

zomginternets
Posts: 547
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:59 pm

Re: Asking a Prof. for a Recommendation

Postby zomginternets » Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:55 am

abudaba wrote:+1 I would like info on this as well

Also, I have not tries this yet but its a strategy I am planning to use:

When I go in to deal with LoR stuff I am going to first meet with my professors just talk about transferring in general. I'll let them know that I have really love the school so far (which is true) and it is probably a lot of the reason why I did well. But, I am considering transferring to broaden my options and was wondering if they know of students in the past who did it, how it went for them, and their thoughts in general on the topic. Then hear them out and, leave telling them I need to think about it and if I do decide to go through with it, ask if they are willing to write me the LoR.

Then think about it, and return a few days later and say I decided to throw the apps out there and see what happens and ask if they still would be willing to recommend me.

Figure they will be more comfortable if they have the chance to be part of the decision making process instead of just being used and get some good info in the process.


IMHO, I would avoid using the "broaden your options" phrase. Makes it sound like you're saying that your current school isn't good enough for what you want to do, which they might interpret as a criticism of your school's the faculty. I do like your idea of keeping them in the decision process though.

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bceagles182
Posts: 615
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 10:53 pm

Re: Asking a Prof. for a Recommendation

Postby bceagles182 » Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:53 pm

If you are applying to move up in the rankings, I think your professors will take the hint and won't ask. They're smart enough to figure it out. Your professors probably all went to T14 schools anyway, so it would be hypocritical of them to blame you for wanting to move up.

One thing that might help is if any of your profs are alums of the school to which you are applying.




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