tomorrowgirl99

Senior Member
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5+ Year Member
Feb 27, 2005
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NYC
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Medical Student
I attend a fairly large university where the science classes are usually 100 people and above. I really need some suggestions about developing communication with these professors in order to know them enough so they can write me a decent LOR. To me, it seems less than authentic to start meeting with professors just so I can get something out of them. I know that most of my professors have office hours, but wouldn't it be a waste a time to attend them when I am making a decent grade in the class? Please help, I have no idea what I am doing!!
 

IAMS

in the scheme of things
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Jul 14, 2004
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SF, CA
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Attending Physician
Hi there tomorrowgirl,

I can tell you've put a lot of thought into this, and the best advice you can have is to stop agonizing, work as hard to get the best grade possible, and do what you are able to help these guys remember you. Even if it is just stopping by their office and introducing yourself, and talking about your plans, and seeing if they have any advice or research opportunities.

Let me tell you about my experience - I am a non-trad, so I was out of school for about 3 years before I went back. I had trouble finding my old profs - especially the dreaded science instructors - the one who I thought knew me really well was in New Hampshire, I never got a hold of him.

I had to go back to an advanced chemistry course I took at the University while in high school, I wrote the instructor, and this was one of those stadium classes. I had a quiz section, and asked how I could get a hold of that guy since he would have remembered me better than the prof, and I was told he passed away. I was convinced that I couldn't get any LOR's from science instructors. I called and talked to this professor, and he looked up my grade, and told me based on my circumstance, he'd write a letter for me.

A lot of times, profs know why you're going to their classes, and they know what is stacked up against you. It's up to you and you alone to make an impression and do whatever you think is necessary to prove you have what it takes to get a letter. Just remember, everyone else at your school is in the same boat.

Now get busy! :)
 

brothersboff

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Jun 9, 2004
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I agree with the above, but also wanted to add that you should look to your teaching assistants / section leader / whoever you actually have contact with in the class. I was a religion major, so my only science classes were the big intro ones where I never talked to the professor. My TF's knew me, however, and they were more than happy to write letters and then have them co-signed by the professor. Granted, the professor still doesn't know anything specific about you, but they know your final grade and, more importantly, they know your TF and generally trust their opinion.

I think schools understand the issues of big intro science classes and won't look down on rec letters like that - though of course the answer may be different if you're a hard science major and you have had opportunities to work closely with science professors.