Jump to content



Photo
- - - - -

Academic references...


  • Please log in to reply
32 replies to this topic

#1 GoJays2025

GoJays2025

    I like cake.

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 20 January 2011 - 06:36 AM

Hey guys, could use your help on something...

I have an undergrad degree, but recently applied to further my education at another school. They said I qualified for their program, but the problem is that they require 2 references, one of whom must be an academic reference.

See, I'm a really laid back kind of guy, so I'd never go to the profs for anything, didn't really provide comments in class (I'm usually too busy playing solitaire or something on my laptop). Basically I'd just read the textbook, listen to lectures, write papers, hand them in, and that's that. The only time a prof would put a face to my name is when I do presentations (which I wasn't required to do often either).

I'm afraid I don't have anyone who could be this academic reference. Is it okay if I just randomly contacted one of my profs (who probably don't even remember my name anymore) and see if he/she would volunteer to answer some questions for the other school? What else can I do?

Thanks for any replies I might get.
Get $2 after you spend $2 on Green Man Gaming by registering with my link. Thanks! :D

#2 62t

62t

    Zune Duck!

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 20 January 2011 - 06:50 AM

Do you know any TAs well enough that can write you a reference, then have the professor sign off on it?

#3 GoJays2025

GoJays2025

    I like cake.

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 20 January 2011 - 07:06 AM

Do you know any TAs well enough that can write you a reference, then have the professor sign off on it?


Not really. Again, I've never asked them for help. Nor have I participated often in TA taught labs... in fact I don't even recall them used in that role in the last year or so of the courses I took.
Get $2 after you spend $2 on Green Man Gaming by registering with my link. Thanks! :D

#4 kodave

kodave

    CAGiversary!

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 20 January 2011 - 07:45 AM

One of my friends just ignored the school's request for an academic letter of rec even after they told him it was missing from his file. He got in anyway based on his test score and they gave him a full ride even though he had a shitty GPA. Maybe it could happen for you!

But really, in undergrad you didn't have a professor to be an academic adviser or anyone assigned to you? You never took any small classes? Or anything that involved a paper or a project where you had to interact with a professor one on one a few times? I never went to office hours or participated much, but there were at least a few professors that I liked that I talked to once or twice after class.

How many years out of undergrad are you?

If you don't need a letter of rec and just need to put down a reference in case someone calls, maybe you could put down the name of the dean who is in charge of academic records and he/she would confirm you were in good academic standing or something?

You need to find ONE professor you made some kind of minor connection with. Because it may matter to your graduate school if they call and all your reference can say is "I don't particularly remember this student, but he got a 2.9 in my class and I don't recall any behavior or academic integrity problems." They might not be wild about that. Then again, they may not care.


#5 Kreutz

Kreutz

    CAGiversary!

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 20 January 2011 - 07:51 AM

Think of any recent professors you may have left an impression with. Review any of your old papers/exams for teacher remarks that indicate the professor took particular notice with your work. Were there any professors that you had multiple times (not for repeat courses, of course)? These are all things to consider. When I applied for graduate school I needed three academic references. I had transferred to the school I was applying to to finish my undergraduate degree after a five year hiatus from school (finanacial blah blah...). One of my references was a professor I had known very well from my old school, the other two were professors in classes I was currently enrolled in when I started the application process. I had little time to leave any lasting impression with either of the two latter professors other than class participation and grades (which I made sure to do). In both cases the professor was happy to agree to write a letter of reference for me, and both asked for some outline of key points to work with. I ended up writing two distinct papers, one for each, with different material for the professors to use in writing their own letters. As it turns out, I am currently enrolled in the graduate program of that same university, and I doubt the letters had any impact beyond formality on my acceptance.

My last bit of advice would be to seek out a professor from within the discipline you are applying for, and one from another discipline. If you are applying for a science program, a math teacher's reference (for instance) might be more impactful than a history teacher's. I am in psychology and one of my references was from the math department. I have been told by the head of the psychology department that he "likes students with a strong math background" for experimental students.

#6 aphu9876

aphu9876

    Gamedealdaily.com Partner

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 20 January 2011 - 01:23 PM

Did you have an academic advisor? They can also count as academic references if you actually used them. It would be a bonus if you happened to take a class from them too.
Tradelist here-> http://www.cheapassg...159#post3497159
Gamedealdaily.com Amazon shop-> http://www.amazon.com/shops/aphu9876
Posted Image

#7 dmaul1114

dmaul1114

Posted 20 January 2011 - 03:41 PM

I'm a prof, I'll usually write rec letters for anyone who got an A or high B in my courses. Of course, it's a pretty generic letter if it was just someone who did well in my class but never talked much in class nor came to office letters etc.

I've never had anyone more than a year removed from taking a class with me ask though. I may be less likely to do one if it's been a couple years unless it's a student I remember well (i.e. someone that did really well and asked questions after class etc.).

So if it's been a while, try to ask profs who you spoke to after class or after office hours (if any) and don't bother asking anyone you didn't get an A or high B on--as they're going to say no or write a half-hearted letter if you didn't do well in their course.

3DS Friend Code: 2595-0524-8826

Bluray Collection
DVD Collection


#8 bordjon

bordjon

    tastes good on the bun.

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 20 January 2011 - 03:49 PM

Any prof you had more than one class with would be one to consider. Any prof you might have met with, even briefly, or possibly any prof you've had email correspondence with.
Posted ImagePosted Image

#9 GoJays2025

GoJays2025

    I like cake.

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 20 January 2011 - 04:33 PM

Thanks guys, I'm a year removed from university, so that makes it a little more difficult.

I don't even know who my academic advisor would have been, so that's probably out of the question. I have seldomly talked to a couple of profs via email for things like assignment due dates and whatnot. I've never needed any help academically, and never really stayed behind after class except to hand in assignments - I'm usually the first person out the door. There was just so much to do outside of school that I had no interest at all at talking with my profs, especially since I very rarely had any problems at all with any work that's been assigned to us.

I remember I had two courses in my last semester there where we did major presentations that required the profs' approvals, so I did talk to them briefly about that. I can check to see what my grades were like in those classes. Anyway if I don't get a better idea of what to do I'll just ask them anyway. What's the worst that can happen?

If I had considered this before I graduated, I probably would have talked to my profs a little more, but whatever, can't change the past. I'm sure everything'll work out... it pretty much always does!
Get $2 after you spend $2 on Green Man Gaming by registering with my link. Thanks! :D

#10 dmaul1114

dmaul1114

Posted 20 January 2011 - 04:35 PM

1 year shouldn't be a big deal. Just ask those profs you note you had more contact with the last couple semesters.

If they say no, try some other profs you had more than one class from and did well in etc.

Like you say, you have nothing to lose. Worst they can do is say no.

Also, what's the deadline on this? Many profs won't write letters unless they're given at least a month's notice. It's rude to ask and press them as you need it in a week or 2 etc. as they're very busy and you're asking for a favor.

3DS Friend Code: 2595-0524-8826

Bluray Collection
DVD Collection


#11 D_Icon

D_Icon

    'D'_ott_Elitist

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 21 January 2011 - 11:21 PM

I'm on the same boat, I didnt really interact with my professors so I'm sensing that I'm SOL when it comes to applying to Grad school. Kind of feel horrible asking them for a letter if I didn't give my input in their classes.

Let me know what kind of responses you get man, I might build the courage to ask some professors for letters of recommendation for myself.

#12 GoJays2025

GoJays2025

    I like cake.

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 22 January 2011 - 03:30 AM

I'm on the same boat, I didnt really interact with my professors so I'm sensing that I'm SOL when it comes to applying to Grad school. Kind of feel horrible asking them for a letter if I didn't give my input in their classes.

Let me know what kind of responses you get man, I might build the courage to ask some professors for letters of recommendation for myself.


I haven't done it yet, but I've got 2 profs in mind whom I've contacted in my last semester there, and I will be writing them soon. I will certainly let you know how it goes!
Get $2 after you spend $2 on Green Man Gaming by registering with my link. Thanks! :D

#13 TctclMvPhase

TctclMvPhase

    Dismal Scientist

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 22 January 2011 - 04:05 AM

Is there a particular reason why you think you need to go back to school?

black_swan_movie-640x120.jpg

"I was perfect....


#14 GoJays2025

GoJays2025

    I like cake.

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 22 January 2011 - 05:29 AM

Is there a particular reason why you think you need to go back to school?


Because I have a BA in Psychology, so... you can see why.
Get $2 after you spend $2 on Green Man Gaming by registering with my link. Thanks! :D

#15 SpazX

SpazX

    13 Billion Years in the Making

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 22 January 2011 - 05:49 AM

Pretty much everywhere I applied required 3 references, and all of mine were academic (though they probably would have been alright if 1 wasn't or something).

What field of psych are you applying to? You never assisted with any research?

I went to a large university and pretty much every psych class was huge so I didn't interact with professors much that way, two of my recommendations were from RAing and I had one from a History professor because I wrote a lot in her class and she could speak to my writing ability.

I went into social psych btw, took me two tries to get in and I was wait listed when I did (with a 4.0 GPA and 1350 GRE, which isn't that low afaik).

Posted Image


#16 TctclMvPhase

TctclMvPhase

    Dismal Scientist

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 22 January 2011 - 06:50 AM

I went into social psych btw, took me two tries to get in and I was wait listed when I did (with a 4.0 GPA and 1350 GRE, which isn't that low afaik).


What was your split on the GRE though? 1350 could be low if you have an 800 in one and a 550 in another.

@OP- I don't know how psych works, but I ask why go back, because if youre a self-starter as you seem to be, going back to school may be a waste. In my field, an MA really only matters in the short-run. If youre looking for a PhD that may be a different story. Also, if youre pursuing higher levels of education you may want to make sure you are really interested in the field. When I was an undergrad I stayed after classes and met with professors, not because I was having trouble, but because I was interested in going beyond the curriculum. If you werent that interested, then you may want to rethink spending the time to go back to school.

Personally, I learned way more practical knowledge from my two or so years working than I have during the two years I have spent getting through the MA part of a PhD program.

black_swan_movie-640x120.jpg

"I was perfect....


#17 E_G_Man

E_G_Man

    Boilermaker

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 22 January 2011 - 07:01 AM

I would just email a few of your professors or old advisers and tell them your situation. If you let them know that you are going to further your education and that you need a few references I bet they would be happy to help as long as you did well in their class. I had one professor that just asked me to forward a few of my old papers to her and then she gave me a letter of recommendation.
FRIEND CODES:
WII
Spoiler

DS
Spoiler

#18 Chacrana

Chacrana

    You wa Cock

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 22 January 2011 - 07:40 AM

Honestly, I think you'd be fine if you just go to a random professor and ask for a letter of recommendation or whatever it is you need. They don't really need to know you that well, because they know what sorts of details a grad school is going to want to know about. If they're willing to do it, just drop them a resume and they'll fill in whatever details seem relevant. Shouldn't be too much of an issue.

Now, are you likely to find an excellent reference that'll really sing your praises? Well, no, probably not. But it should suffice since grad schools typically don't put a ton of emphasis on academic references (from my experience, at least.)

#19 dmaul1114

dmaul1114

Posted 22 January 2011 - 03:33 PM

Now, are you likely to find an excellent reference that'll really sing your praises? Well, no, probably not. But it should suffice since grad schools typically don't put a ton of emphasis on academic references (from my experience, at least.)


Yes and know. I review graduate applications now, and we do put stock in them. The main key is to have academic references. If you don't have any academic references, you're probably not getting in regardless of what the rest of your application looks like.

If you have one, it doesn't have to be an excellent recommendation (at least for Master's, we expect more for Ph D applicants obviously) if you're GPA and GRE scores are well about our thresholds. But if they're barely above or a tad below what we look for (at least 3.0 GPA and 1000 GRE are miminum's to be considered for the Master's program) then a strong academic recommendation may get you accepted while a weak recommendation probably won't.

So having a good recommendation from a professor touting our ability and your interest in research and scholarship can be a big boost in our program. Probably matters a lot less for things like MBA programs that are just cash cows where they make a lot of money off students. Most our grad students are on tuition waivers and stipends like most social science programs, so we're probably more picky in some ways about wanting people who have shown aptitude for research etc.

Edited by dmaul1114, 22 January 2011 - 03:50 PM.

3DS Friend Code: 2595-0524-8826

Bluray Collection
DVD Collection


#20 SpazX

SpazX

    13 Billion Years in the Making

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 22 January 2011 - 03:43 PM

What was your split on the GRE though? 1350 could be low if you have an 800 in one and a 550 in another.


Yeah you're right, it was pretty even though, IIRC it was 700 verbal and 650 math. I don't think my GREs were an issue though, I could've had better references and people I was competing against had more research experience (I had like a year in social specifically), which is the most important thing in research-based psychology programs.

@OP- I don't know how psych works, but I ask why go back, because if youre a self-starter as you seem to be, going back to school may be a waste. In my field, an MA really only matters in the short-run. If youre looking for a PhD that may be a different story. Also, if youre pursuing higher levels of education you may want to make sure you are really interested in the field. When I was an undergrad I stayed after classes and met with professors, not because I was having trouble, but because I was interested in going beyond the curriculum. If you werent that interested, then you may want to rethink spending the time to go back to school.

Personally, I learned way more practical knowledge from my two or so years working than I have during the two years I have spent getting through the MA part of a PhD program.


It would depend on what field he's going for specifically, but in social, and I'm pretty sure other research-based psychology fields, there aren't a lot of schools that offer terminal masters programs, so you'd be going for a PhD and you'd have to get accepted for a PhD program, though you could leave after getting a masters if it wasn't for you.

There's also a psych-specific PsyD degree that I honestly don't know a whole lot about since I only looked at PhD programs, but it's googleable.

All this does bring me to another point for the OP - if you're shooting for research psychology and don't have any research experience it's probably going to be really difficult to get in, so you'd be better off taking the time to try to volunteer for that at a university if that's what you're going for.

Posted Image


#21 dmaul1114

dmaul1114

Posted 22 January 2011 - 03:53 PM

It would depend on what field he's going for specifically, but in social, and I'm pretty sure other research-based psychology fields, there aren't a lot of schools that offer terminal masters programs, so you'd be going for a PhD and you'd have to get accepted for a PhD program, though you could leave after getting a masters if it wasn't for you.


That's not totally true. Most social science programs (at least Criminology and Sociology anyway) do offer terminal MA or MS degrees.

A lot just have processes where you can apply for both these days out of college so you don't have to reapply when finishing the masters. But you still do the Master's first, and you can still apply just to the masters.

The joint application is just to save students who want to do both from the hassle of applying (and paying the fee) twice, and us faculty from reviewing the application twice. But students aren't forced to do the joint application if they only want a masters. And students who only apply only to the thesis tract master's program can still apply for the Ph D program later if they change their mind and decide to go on.

A lot are like ours and even have 2 types of master's programs. A thesis one for those who may want to go on to a Ph D or research career, and a professional one for people who want to work in the field but not do research where they do more of a policy paper than a research thesis.

3DS Friend Code: 2595-0524-8826

Bluray Collection
DVD Collection


#22 62t

62t

    Zune Duck!

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 22 January 2011 - 05:02 PM

Have you consider getting into a MSW or MFT program? I know a lot psychology major tried to get into those program. Here they are a must if you want more than an entry level position.

My trade list: http://www.cheapassg...ead.php?t=42397

3DS FC 0731-4770-3312


#23 SpazX

SpazX

    13 Billion Years in the Making

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 22 January 2011 - 05:49 PM

That's not totally true. Most social science programs (at least Criminology and Sociology anyway) do offer terminal MA or MS degrees.

A lot just have processes where you can apply for both these days out of college so you don't have to reapply when finishing the masters. But you still do the Master's first, and you can still apply just to the masters.

The joint application is just to save students who want to do both from the hassle of applying (and paying the fee) twice, and us faculty from reviewing the application twice. But students aren't forced to do the joint application if they only want a masters. And students who only apply only to the thesis tract master's program can still apply for the Ph D program later if they change their mind and decide to go on.

A lot are like ours and even have 2 types of master's programs. A thesis one for those who may want to go on to a Ph D or research career, and a professional one for people who want to work in the field but not do research where they do more of a policy paper than a research thesis.


Yeah, I dunno about sociology and criminology, but every program I applied to for social psychology (and pretty much every one I looked at IIRC) did not offer a masters program, you could only apply for a PhD. You would generally get a masters on the way, I'll do a masters thesis and defend next year and get the degree, but they don't intend for you to leave after that and don't accept anybody with that in mind.

But yeah, OP could also apply for degrees that aren't psychology anyway, in other social sciences or random shit that a psych major might apply for like marketing or something.

Posted Image


#24 GoJays2025

GoJays2025

    I like cake.

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 25 January 2011 - 11:21 PM

I'm on the same boat, I didnt really interact with my professors so I'm sensing that I'm SOL when it comes to applying to Grad school. Kind of feel horrible asking them for a letter if I didn't give my input in their classes.

Let me know what kind of responses you get man, I might build the courage to ask some professors for letters of recommendation for myself.

Emailed yesterday and got a reply this morning. She said she would be glad to do it.

Basically in my email I told her when I attended her class, how well I did, what school/program I was applying for, and when I needed it by. Attaching your resume is a good idea as I found out, since I didn't and was asked for it in the email I received today.

Anyway, off I go to update my resume then, which is something I haven't done in almost a year now; there's plenty of new stuff I need to add.

Thanks for the advice everyone, and good luck to you!
Get $2 after you spend $2 on Green Man Gaming by registering with my link. Thanks! :D

#25 kodave

kodave

    CAGiversary!

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 26 January 2011 - 01:12 AM

Emailed yesterday and got a reply this morning. She said she would be glad to do it.

Basically in my email I told her when I attended her class, how well I did, what school/program I was applying for, and when I needed it by. Attaching your resume is a good idea as I found out, since I didn't and was asked for it in the email I received today.

Anyway, off I go to update my resume then, which is something I haven't done in almost a year now; there's plenty of new stuff I need to add.

Thanks for the advice everyone, and good luck to you!


If you're going to ask for a letter of rec, ALWAYS include a bunch of info like your resume, any special notes the person might need to know about you or about why your grades are a certain way, drafts of personal statements, etc. - even if the professor knows you well. Give them all of the tools to write the best letter they can for you.


#26 dmaul1114

dmaul1114

Posted 26 January 2011 - 03:45 AM

Yep, that helps a ton. I always ask for at least resumes and personal statements. And I prefer to set a time for them to come by my office so I can chat and find out more about their goals etc. to try and make the letter as strong, detailed and specific as possible.

3DS Friend Code: 2595-0524-8826

Bluray Collection
DVD Collection


#27 bordjon

bordjon

    tastes good on the bun.

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 26 January 2011 - 04:09 PM

Yeah, I dunno about sociology and criminology, but every program I applied to for social psychology (and pretty much every one I looked at IIRC) did not offer a masters program, you could only apply for a PhD. You would generally get a masters on the way, I'll do a masters thesis and defend next year and get the degree, but they don't intend for you to leave after that and don't accept anybody with that in mind.

But yeah, OP could also apply for degrees that aren't psychology anyway, in other social sciences or random shit that a psych major might apply for like marketing or something.


Yes, you are right SpazX, a terminal degree is the end of the line for a field of study. So if you get a masters in some field but there are further degree(s) for that field such as PhD then that masters isn't a "terminal" degree. You can get the masters and quit - but it isn't considered terminal. I have one of the few terminal masters degrees - an MFA in studio art. I also got an MA along the way, as you described, then continued to get the MFA. Though in studio art it is considered acceptable to leave once you get your MA and pursue your MFA at another school immediately. (though some do leave after MA and never pursue the MFA - and yet some get "kicked out" after their MA...)
Posted ImagePosted Image

#28 dmaul1114

dmaul1114

Posted 26 January 2011 - 04:31 PM

That's not what we were discussing though. We were talking about whether you HAVE to apply for the terminal degree, even if you want to stop with Masters. Not what a terminal degree.

In my field it's not that way. Every program I'm aware of in criminology you can still apply for just the masters. Some give you the option to jointly apply for the Master's and Ph D if you plan on going all the way, but they don't require you to if you want to stop at the Masters. If you apply masters only and change your mind, then you have to apply again to the Ph D program (assuming you did the thesis tract masters program, many programs have professional masters that are terminal in the sense that you can't get into their Ph D program with that professional Master's degree).

Apparently social psych is different and requires everyone to apply for the Ph D program even if they're only interested in getting a Masters.

3DS Friend Code: 2595-0524-8826

Bluray Collection
DVD Collection


#29 bordjon

bordjon

    tastes good on the bun.

  • CAGiversary!

Posted 26 January 2011 - 04:52 PM

That's not totally true. Most social science programs (at least Criminology and Sociology anyway) do offer terminal MA or MS degrees.



These wouldn't be considered terminal then. If Criminology has a PhD then the MA or MS you would get wouldn't be considered a terminal degree in that field.

But I understand what you are discussing - just wanted to clarify a bit on what a terminal degree is.

In some fields, such as mine, you did have to apply for the MFA, the terminal degree, from the beginning. You didn't necessarily have to complete it - you could leave with the MA.
Posted ImagePosted Image

#30 dmaul1114

dmaul1114

Posted 26 January 2011 - 04:58 PM

No problem. I think we all know what a terminal degree is. :D

Just a matter of whether you're required to apply for it if you only want the Master's in a specific program. A lot of schools don't and require separate applications so they can get the $50 (or more) application fee twice. Though it does seem to be trending toward at least having the option to apply for both at the same time.

I kind of have an issue with it as--silly as it sounds--not everyone that gets a Master's degree is Ph D material. So I feel we' may be locking ourselves into taking Master's students from our own program into our Ph D program who may be students we wouldn't accept if they applied from another program (lower GPA, poor writers, didn't do well in stats and methods etc.). So I feel it's kind of a built in nepotism that's taking spots (with tuition waivers and stipends) that could go to more deserving students from other programs.

3DS Friend Code: 2595-0524-8826

Bluray Collection
DVD Collection