asoundplan (asoundplan) wrote in libraryschool,

Experience and Letters of Recommendations

I am curious as what kind of experience everyone here had prior to applying to grad school and who wrote your letters of recommendations.

I guess have a bit of a ulterior motive with this post. I already volunteer in collections with two different museums in LA and those will probably be my sources of two letters. My third potential reference was going to be my professor but he is off doing field work in the middle east for the next year and I did not have enough foresight to ask for a letter before hand. Since I graduated a year and a half ago, it's a little late to try to get to know other professors now. Because I pretty much have my heart set on UCLA or Washington, which both need three letters, I am trying to get some creative ideas for where I can get that third letter of recommendation.
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Oh, man, this was pretty much my exact same problem (though for different fields). What I wound up doing was taking courses at the local community college and really getting to know the professors well there, although I'd graduated 5 years before I first applied to grad schools so there was more time for profs to forget about me. To some extent it worked pretty well, since I had community college professors who were extremely happy to write letters for me. I didn't get into any of the schools I applied to last year, but I don't think blame for that can really be placed solely on the letters, since I had the dreaded Personal Issues for a couple semesters during undergrad and that was reflected in my transcripts.
If you have a professor you worked with or even took several classes from, they will most likely remember you and be more than willing to write a letter for you. You'd be really surprised how long most teachers remember their students. When I still worked at my alma mater, I would run into profs once in a while that I hadn't seen for a couple of years and they still remembered me. It can't hurt to ask. Did you have a job in college at all? That might be another option.

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Hmm, I could ask the volunteer coordinator because I also volunteer with the education department and they have a relatively good opinion. And now that I think about, we do have classroom training taught by the curators before we can work in the exhibits. I'm just a little worried that it's a bit of a stretch and relatively recent grads need academic letters.
Could you email your professor who is on field service to ask? He could always say no, but if you two were close he may be willing to email the schools a letter of recommendation.

I think it would be best if your third letter were from an academic reference, but it doesn't have to be. Another professor should be just fine, especially if you did good work in his or her course.
I should have mention that I did email him but I got an automatic response saying he off in the field following a nomadic tribe and won't be able to respond for the next couple of months. Dang it, most of my classes were with him because he was just so interesting. My other classes were huge lecture style classes and I'm kicking myself for never trying to get to meet with them in office hours.
My program specified Academic Reference letters. So I had two of those (1 of whom was a bit last minute because my first choice prof backed out... but got it sorted!), and one letter from the head of the university library where I had done worked during my undergrad.

I would try to email your prof who is away.. never hurts to ask! Just in case, try listing out your courses you took in undergrad and figure out who you crossed paths with the most often. It feels really weird asking people to write reference letters for you, but it's part of your job when you teach at the university level. They'll be expecting students who they know even less than you to ask for letters. There are a lot of "asking for academic reference letter" templates on the google. Rule of thumb, try to make it as easy for them as possible. Include classes you took, papers you wrote to job their memory.

Good luck!
I tried but I got an automated response saying he is away and he won't be in touch for a couple of months. I'm really in a pickle now. I honestly do not know which professor I could ask now. Most of my classes were in huge lecture halls and I did not make an effort to get to know them.
Even if you got an automated response, he may still have seen your e-mail. I set mine up to do that whenever I am out of the office for a length of time, but I am usually checking e-mail when I can and I'll respond to some e-mails.

I'd suggest e-mailing him again, but this time, draft up a suggested letter. I did this all the time when I needed letters of recommendation, and it was definitely appreciated. The idea, as others have said, is make it as easy as possible for this prof to write the letter.

If you don't get a response after this second try, then you do need to move on to someone else. Maybe my experience would give you some ideas of who else you could use...

It's been over 9 years since I applied to library school, and that was after being out of college for over 20 years! I too applied at Washington (and was accepted, but chose to go elsewhere). Therefore, I didn't use an academic reference (although there were still a couple profs in my undergrad program who were still there - 25 years later - and still remembered me!). One of my former supervisors, a school librarian, had also been an adjunct in Washington's library school, and she wrote one of my letters. The other two were by my current supervisors at the time (I was working two part-time jobs), one with the public library system, the other the principal at the public school I worked for (who happened to be working on a doctorate at the time, so he could relate).
Three weeks and no reply, I'm starting to panic a little. Looks like I'm going to have to resort plan b which is to contact a professor I didn't talk to but at least got A's in the two classes I had with her. I think I'm going to email her once finals are over but I don't want to flat out ask her in the first email. I might just ask her for career advice and see if I can meet her over the summer. I have no idea what to do after that. Any ideas on how I should approach this? I am a little worried that she won't available in the summer but I'll keep my fingers crossed.
Professors receive recommendation requests all the time. Don't worry about asking the professor! They expect those sort of things. If it's a class you received A's in, don't worry about it!!

Seriously, it's not a big deal. Just be professional in your request. Maybe include details of what you are wanting to get your Master's in, etc. I would just send one initial e-mail stating that you are applying for grad school and would be honored if that teacher would provide you with a recommendation. :)

Another tip: add in the e-mail details about his or her class. Sucking up never hurts! haha
I worked two jobs at the time, so I got my boss at one job, my boss at the other job, and then my boss's boss to write my three recommendations.

You could always get an undergrad teacher to write you a recommendation? Does it have to be the one teacher you mentioned? Maybe another teacher could help you out. Recommendation letters (at least at my school) aren't really that big of a deal, just something they require to have on file for you.
There are two but one is out of the country and not responding to emails and one that pretty much left academia and didn't leave any contact information with the department. I'm already going to use two professional references and I could ask the volunteer coordinator where I volunteer at but she can't say any relevant (ability to for grad school/ability to succeed in the field) so I'll save that until I've exhausted all my options. My grades weren't great (3.19) so I can't leave anything up to chance.

Out of curiosity, what school did you attend? You can pm it to me or if you rather not say, I understand. I know some schools specifically request at least one academic reference and I was always under the impression that letters were second only to the SOP in terms of importance though I only have anecdotal evidence to go by.