How much of a relationship do you need to have with your prof to get a "good" LOR?

aimstosneeze

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May 27, 2017
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The common advice is to go to office hours and make a good impression. I'm having trouble understanding how much of an impression I need to make. I'm confident all of my professors know who I am. I sit up front and I participate in class. I go to each professor's office hours once or twice. Not more because I have limited time and if I understand the material I feel awkward dropping in for no reason, especially if it's clear they're busy with research or other things. Is it enough for them to know me? Is the LOR supposed to say "I know so-and-so, they got an A in my class and they have a decent personality" or is it supposed to wax poetic about how I was in office hours every week and I asked profound questions constantly and they saw me rescue a puppy from a burning building once?
 

workaholic181

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The common advice is to go to office hours and make a good impression. I'm having trouble understanding how much of an impression I need to make. I'm confident all of my professors know who I am. I sit up front and I participate in class. I go to each professor's office hours once or twice. Not more because I have limited time and if I understand the material I feel awkward dropping in for no reason, especially if it's clear they're busy with research or other things. Is it enough for them to know me? Is the LOR supposed to say "I know so-and-so, they got an A in my class and they have a decent personality" or is it supposed to wax poetic about how I was in office hours every week and I asked profound questions constantly and they saw me rescue a puppy from a burning building once?
Yea ace the class, keep showing an interest in the material, helping out classmates, etc.

Some professors will actually be like "what specifically would you like me to mention" so this is something to keep in mind when you ask, too.

And dont be afraid! most are actually pretty cool. Writing LORs is part of the job.
 
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Natural Killer Cell

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The common advice is to go to office hours and make a good impression. I'm having trouble understanding how much of an impression I need to make. I'm confident all of my professors know who I am. I sit up front and I participate in class. I go to each professor's office hours once or twice. Not more because I have limited time and if I understand the material I feel awkward dropping in for no reason, especially if it's clear they're busy with research or other things. Is it enough for them to know me? Is the LOR supposed to say "I know so-and-so, they got an A in my class and they have a decent personality" or is it supposed to wax poetic about how I was in office hours every week and I asked profound questions constantly and they saw me rescue a puppy from a burning building once?
Well, for one of my profs, I was active in the class, showed effort and a desire to get better even if I wasn't the best (ended up with an A-), and went to office hours semi-regularly not only to ask questions, but just have random conversations (helped that he was a chill guy). For my other prof, I just did well in the class, and then asked. No doubt the former was a strong LOR, while the latter was more generic.

From what you said, if your profs all know who you are, midst all the other faces, then you're doing it right and shouldn't have any problem getting them to write you a LOR. They know students need LORs.
 
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MADD!!!

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just imagine it like a friend on campus... if you see this person outside of class randomly walking on campus and say hi, what happens? Would they say hi back and not know your name? Would they know you on a first name basis and just say hi? Or would they know you, say hi, and you stop and chat for a bit about what's up with them?

The stronger the relationship, the better
 

Dagrimsta1

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Contrary to common belief, getting an A in the class will not always translate to a "good"recommendation letter. I will give you a personal example, I took Physics with a professor who is notorious for not generating a curve. Our class average was consistently in the 60s. At the end of the course I received a B but he knew the amount of effort I put in to the course. When the course had finished there was a total of eight students remaining from the starting 55. I was the second top in my class aside from a nice Asian boy who never showed up and aced the exams. My input to class conversations build a repertoire between me and my professor and he knew me by first name and we created a bond. At the end of the course even though I received a B, He offered to write me a letter recommendation himself. I accepted and even though I never got the chance to read it, my premed advisor who filtered my letters vouched for it and said it was one of my stronger letters. That being said you should make sure that you have at least one letter from a science professor you have a high-grade with; A- and above. N=1
 

allantois

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I asked professors from upper division smaller classes where we did a lot of projects or class discussions so the professor was familiar with my work beyond test grades

I dunno I never went to office hours and didn't want to go just to pretend that I didn't understand something
 
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festivespartan

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I asked professors from upper division smaller classes where we did a lot of projects or class discussions so the professor was familiar with my work beyond test grades

I dunno I never went to office hours and didn't want to go just to pretend that I didn't understand something
My prof LOR was from the department chair for my program. Had two upper level courses with her that were very small class sizes and required a lot of face-face contact so she knew everybody. I went to office hours probably twice in all of undergrad.
 
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