Recommendation from a professor you've never spoken to

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andyandy
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Recommendation from a professor you've never spoken to

Postby andyandy » Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:22 pm

Just wondering if people had any thoughts about whether it's acceptable (and worthwhile) to get a recommendation from a professor you've never spoken to. I booked Contracts, but I never once raised my hand to speak, was not cold called, and never visited the professor during office hours. There's no way the professor would know me by name and I'm not entirely sure he would even recognize me, as it was a fairly large class. This is unfortunately also the case for the other classes I earned A's in. I did form a relationship with one professor, but ended up getting a B in his class. What's the best way to go about this?

andyandy
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Re: Recommendation from a professor you've never spoken to

Postby andyandy » Sun Jun 17, 2012 9:31 pm

wrong crowd?

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I.P. Daly
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Re: Recommendation from a professor you've never spoken to

Postby I.P. Daly » Sun Jun 17, 2012 9:58 pm

andyandy wrote:Just wondering if people had any thoughts about whether it's acceptable (and worthwhile) to get a recommendation from a professor you've never spoken to. I booked Contracts, but I never once raised my hand to speak, was not cold called, and never visited the professor during office hours. There's no way the professor would know me by name and I'm not entirely sure he would even recognize me, as it was a fairly large class. This is unfortunately also the case for the other classes I earned A's in. I did form a relationship with one professor, but ended up getting a B in his class. What's the best way to go about this?


An employer once advised me that he thought the best recommendations came from professors who gave students their lowest grades.

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jessuf
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Re: Recommendation from a professor you've never spoken to

Postby jessuf » Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:05 pm

I was similar to this. I raised my hand a few times but was never cold called and never attended office hours. My professor was more than happy to write a letter but wanted me to basically share my career goals, etc. with him so he'd have something to work with.

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sunynp
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Re: Recommendation from a professor you've never spoken to

Postby sunynp » Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:05 pm

andyandy wrote:Just wondering if people had any thoughts about whether it's acceptable (and worthwhile) to get a recommendation from a professor you've never spoken to. I booked Contracts, but I never once raised my hand to speak, was not cold called, and never visited the professor during office hours. There's no way the professor would know me by name and I'm not entirely sure he would even recognize me, as it was a fairly large class. This is unfortunately also the case for the other classes I earned A's in. I did form a relationship with one professor, but ended up getting a B in his class. What's the best way to go about this?


Why wouldn't it be acceptable? There are threads here about how to best approach professors. You should probably start with an email asking for an appointment. In the email remind them of your grade and maybe explain some things about your self and your goals.

I would be very surprised if the professor didn't know who you are.

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Detrox
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Re: Recommendation from a professor you've never spoken to

Postby Detrox » Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:07 pm

Yes you can get recommendations this way, and professors will generally be happy to give them after a short sit down with you; however, almost everything I've heard from judges/career people is that the best recommendations are from professors/supervisors who really know how you work/write/act and who you are. It's fine to have a mediocre recommendation from a professor who gave you a great grade, just know you'll have to make it up in the other parts of your app.

andyandy
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Re: Recommendation from a professor you've never spoken to

Postby andyandy » Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:59 pm

Thanks all. Good advice. People who have received a recommendation from a prof who gave them a less than stellar grade: did you acknowledge that when asking for a recommendation or just ignore it?

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sunynp
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Re: Recommendation from a professor you've never spoken to

Postby sunynp » Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:10 pm

Detrox wrote:Yes you can get recommendations this way, and professors will generally be happy to give them after a short sit down with you; however, almost everything I've heard from judges/career people is that the best recommendations are from professors/supervisors who really know how you work/write/act and who you are. It's fine to have a mediocre recommendation from a professor who gave you a great grade, just know you'll have to make it up in the other parts of your app.


I wouldn't assume it will be a mediocre recommendation, he graded your exam so he knows your work. Also, maybe he is one of those professors who appreciate the really talented kids who don't gun. I know some profs who understand that some people just don't want to volunteer extensively in class.

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Detrox
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Re: Recommendation from a professor you've never spoken to

Postby Detrox » Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:48 pm

sunynp wrote:
Detrox wrote:Yes you can get recommendations this way, and professors will generally be happy to give them after a short sit down with you; however, almost everything I've heard from judges/career people is that the best recommendations are from professors/supervisors who really know how you work/write/act and who you are. It's fine to have a mediocre recommendation from a professor who gave you a great grade, just know you'll have to make it up in the other parts of your app.


I wouldn't assume it will be a mediocre recommendation, he graded your exam so he knows your work. Also, maybe he is one of those professors who appreciate the really talented kids who don't gun. I know some profs who understand that some people just don't want to volunteer extensively in class.


Wasn't trying to say the professor won't try to give a great recommendation. I'm saying that in this situation you are necessarily limited since professors can only say so much about how you acted in class and the extremely limited info they can gather from how you did on a mass exam. It may be a rave review, but judges/clerks/employers who have read tons of these will be able to discern that the professor is speaking from limited exposure. This will be all the more true if they are actually called as references.

Again, I'm not saying it's a terrible thing. In fact most people probably have to have at least one of their recommendations be from someone who doesn't have a great deal of exposure to their work and interests beyond the class that they shared. I'm just saying that these recommendations will be considered average (perhaps a better word than mediocre) when considered against people who have recommendations from professors whom they have RA'ed for/taken a seminar with/written a paper with etc. etc.




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