kejs

7+ Year Member
Oct 22, 2009
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Dental Student
Hi guys, I'm applying this cycle and it was rather stupid of me to wait until now to get my science letter of recs. I emailed two professors (chem from freshman year and biology from sophomore year) about a week ago asking if they would feel comfortable writing me a strong letter of rec and that I would also be more than happy to meet with them personally to talk to them about the possibilities. In the email, I also included my resume.

After about a week, I haven't heard back from either of them. I don't know what I should do. I was thinking of going into their office in person and providing them with a packet of my resume, personal statement, and transcript but I'm not sure if that would be a good idea? Or should I just try asking other professors? I go to a big public school where it is very difficult to get to know your professors and I've gone to some of their office hours but I know that they won't remember me.

I would appreciate any suggestions you guys may have as I'm worried no one will want to write a letter for me :scared:. Thanks in advance.
 
Feb 21, 2011
1,118
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Go to their office hours. Bring all your stuff with you. Make sure you ask them if they can write a good recommendation letter. You don't want one of those generic, one paragraph, "Johnny took my class and made an A. Johnny is a good student." letters.

The worst thing that can happen is that they say no. In that case, go find someone else.
 
Jan 23, 2011
26
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Pre-Dental
I suggest wait a few more days for a response since professors can be very busy. If they don't respond, go to their office hours and ask in person. Don't assume they have read it, instead, introduce yourself and your objective and state how you sent a e-mail but wasn't sure if they got to reading it yet and go on with your motive. I know it's nerve-wrecking when professors don't respond, I've definitely been there. Be sincere and realize that this is extra work for your professor and don't take it for granted.
 

doc toothache

10+ Year Member
Jan 17, 2006
8,151
2,287
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Dentist
Go to their office hours. Bring all your stuff with you. Make sure you ask them if they can write a [B]good recommendation letter. You don't want one of those generic[/B], one paragraph, "Johnny took my class and made an A. Johnny is a good student." letters.
Yeah, tell the professor exactly what you want, and settle for nothing else, after all, writing "good"/ non "generic" lors is in their job description.
 
Feb 21, 2011
1,118
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Yeah, tell the professor exactly what you want, and settle for nothing else, after all, writing "good"/ non "generic" lors is in their job description.
Any professor can write a LOR for a student who made an A in the class. You want to make sure they know you're looking for a good one. It also gives them an easier out if they don't think they can write you something decent.

Not sure what the big deal about adding "good" to a LOR request. It's not like you're asking them to write 3 pages on parchment and sealing it with blood.
 

sacapuntas

Verified Account
Feb 25, 2011
1,544
113
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Dental Student
Yeah, tell the professor exactly what you want, and settle for nothing else, after all, writing "good"/ non "generic" lors is in their job description.
Professors that I have asked for letters specifically mentioned they appreciated that I asked for a strong letter of recommendation and said it demonstrated that I understood the importance of a strong letter vs. a week or average one . This is far from 'telling them what you want', it is instead politely requesting they decline if unable to write a strong letter.
 

y3nd0

Kitteh likes to stare
5+ Year Member
Mar 28, 2012
644
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Dental Student
I'm actually sorta having this problem as well...
Since I go to a public school, the class sizes are so large that it's hard to get to know the professors.

I'm applying next spring and am thinking about which professors I want to write me a LOR. Would it be a little "weak" to have 2 biology professors write my science letters? I have a microbiology professor and I'm thinking about an upcoming genome professor. My chemistry or physics professors probably won't remember me at all... Actually, not probably. I'm sure they don't remember me.
 

KyoPhan

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 8, 2008
331
14
Status
Pre-Dental
I'm actually sorta having this problem as well...
Since I go to a public school, the class sizes are so large that it's hard to get to know the professors.

I'm applying next spring and am thinking about which professors I want to write me a LOR. Would it be a little "weak" to have 2 biology professors write my science letters? I have a microbiology professor and I'm thinking about an upcoming genome professor. My chemistry or physics professors probably won't remember me at all... Actually, not probably. I'm sure they don't remember me.
If they can write you strong letters, it wouldn't be weak. However, each dental school has different requirements for letters. Some want chem/bio, bio/non-science, 3 sciences, etc. Though 2 science and 1 dentist LOR fulfills the requirements for most schools.
 
Apr 21, 2012
164
0
Status
Dental Student
So question. I also attend one of those big public universities and I'm pretty sure none of my professors remember me. I am expecting a strong letter from my research advisor. I know that doesn't count as a science letter, but she will be able to write about my personal qualities and some trouble i went through recently. My dentist will probably write a strong letter too. I'm expecting one of those generic "Johnny took my class and got an A" letters as my two science LORs. Will that affect my chances hugely? I don't know why they would write a strong letter for me even if I showed up with my resume and personal statement...because they don't know me. Advice?
 

sacapuntas

Verified Account
Feb 25, 2011
1,544
113
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Dental Student
So question. I also attend one of those big public universities and I'm pretty sure none of my professors remember me. I am expecting a strong letter from my research advisor. I know that doesn't count as a science letter, but she will be able to write about my personal qualities and some trouble i went through recently. My dentist will probably write a strong letter too. I'm expecting one of those generic "Johnny took my class and got an A" letters as my two science LORs. Will that affect my chances hugely? I don't know why they would write a strong letter for me even if I showed up with my resume and personal statement...because they don't know me. Advice?
You don't really have any other options as far as developing a relationship with professors to get a stronger letter at this point, so my advice is the only thing that you can do...roll with what you have. Worrying about it can't really change anything.
 
Apr 21, 2012
164
0
Status
Dental Student
most of the schools I'm interested in say that they want a letter from the basic sciences. Also, it should be from a science professor who you took a class with and got a grade in that course. That being said, I've taken research classes with my research advisor, but those were pass/fail grades. I'm hoping they take that into account anyway, but just to be safe, I'm going to have the two generic science letters. This letter will be really insightful - so I'm hoping that they take it seriously.
 
Apr 21, 2012
164
0
Status
Dental Student
Also, I probably shouldn't ask these two science professors for a 'strong' letter correct? Because they don't know me??
 

sacapuntas

Verified Account
Feb 25, 2011
1,544
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Dental Student
Also, I probably shouldn't ask these two science professors for a 'strong' letter correct? Because they don't know me??
Haha good point. I would only ask that if you have backups in mind. Asking that is a good way for them to decline your request if they aren't capable of writing said strong letter.
 

asdfray

currently at work
Apr 28, 2010
465
3
Status
Dental Student
Also, I probably shouldn't ask these two science professors for a 'strong' letter correct? Because they don't know me??
You actually stated you wanted a strong letter? ohh boy, I guess that might be a reason why they haven't replied. Is there other professors you could maybe ask? or mb your school have a committee that can write a collaborative letter for you?
 
Apr 21, 2012
164
0
Status
Dental Student
You actually stated you wanted a strong letter? ohh boy, I guess that might be a reason why they haven't replied. Is there other professors you could maybe ask? or mb your school have a committee that can write a collaborative letter for you?
No...I haven't asked yet haha I plan to ask soon after I complete my personal statement so they have something to look at. That was someone else. I do have back-ups in mind, but I will just ask for a letter. I hope it works out!