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Old 02-02-2012, 05:08 PM
 
158 posts, read 220,864 times
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without the required letters of recommendation? I've been out of school for a few years now and I'm too proud to ask professors I never established personal relationships with to give me a recommendation. I recall one professor who wanted me to explain to him why I deserved his recommendation for a summer internship. I'm not trying to deal with that again. I would think near perfect grades and test score would suffice. I'm told by them that the people in admissions would just throw out your application if it's incomplete, but who knows. Has anyone had any success getting into grad school without the necessary letter of recommendation? I'd hate to think I didn't get into a school because I couldn't care less of the opinion of some self absorbed professor.

Thanks
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:24 PM
 
Location: St Louis, MO
4,677 posts, read 4,578,701 times
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Working with professors is a critical element of grad school. If you cannot stand professors, I would not recommend grad school for you.

I am sure you can get into some school without a single letter of recommendation, but not having a single one is going to limit your opportunities for admission and pretty most exclude you from funding unless you have amazing (1300+ GRE minimum) test scores. What ever you do, do not tell the department you are applying to that these are the reasons for not having a letter of recommendation.

Which degree are you pursuing and which schools are you targeting? That will make it easier to give you most specific advice.

At bare minimum, I would get a multiple professional recommendations. If you cannot get a colleague to recommend you either, it is really going to be tough. Do you have any colleagues who also teach as instructors or adjuncts? They might be an especially good idea.
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:44 PM
 
2,578 posts, read 3,130,194 times
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No. You have to have recommendations. It is a red flag to an admissions committee if someone does not have any recommendations. While there can be explanations (although yours even is concerning to me) the default is that this student did something/has something to hide. Or no one is willing to write them a recommendation.

Send a very nice, perfectly written email explaining your future plans with an attachment of your CV and even better, a personal statement, to professors who previously worked with. Apologize that you don't know them better/didn't speak with them directly when you were a student there, but explain it has taken some time to find your path.

It is very likely if you remind them that you did well in their class (I assume?) and show potential on your CV/scores/personal statement, that one or two of them will help you out.

Or start doing some research/volunteer work with someone high profile or a professor as soon as possible so they can get to know you. I agree that another option is getting some professional letters of recommendation, although depending upon your field and relevance, these could hold variable weight.
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:45 PM
 
Location: Kirkwood, DE and beautiful SXM!
12,054 posts, read 19,611,649 times
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It has been many years since I was in grad school so I have no idea how things are done today. However, I attended classes at several colleges before I found the one that I really liked. I started there just taking a few classes and once I knew that I wanted to finish my master's there, one of my professors became my advisor.

Unless it is really important for you to have an acceptance letter before you start your classes, see if you can take one or two courses.

Again, I have no idea if you can do that today, but it worked for me.
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:54 PM
 
158 posts, read 220,864 times
Reputation: 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by sfcambridge View Post
No. You have to have recommendations. It is a red flag to an admissions committee if someone does not have any recommendations. While there can be explanations (although yours even is concerning to me) the default is that this student did something/has something to hide. Or no one is willing to write them a recommendation.

Send a very nice, perfectly written email explaining your future plans with an attachment of your CV and even better, a personal statement, to professors who previously worked with. Apologize that you don't know them better/didn't speak with them directly when you were a student there, but explain it has taken some time to find your path.

It is very likely if you remind them that you did well in their class (I assume?) and show potential on your CV/scores/personal statement, that one or two of them will help you out.

Or start doing some research/volunteer work with someone high profile or a professor as soon as possible so they can get to know you. I agree that another option is getting some professional letters of recommendation, although depending upon your field and relevance, these could hold variable weight.

Why would it send a red flag? My transcripts would tell a different story. I don't see why I should trouble myself and grovel/beg professors to help me get into school. I went to an "uppity" school for my undergrad so I don't think any of that will work, but thanks for the responses. I guess I will forget about graduate school.
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:56 PM
 
158 posts, read 220,864 times
Reputation: 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by marigolds6 View Post
Working with professors is a critical element of grad school. If you cannot stand professors, I would not recommend grad school for you.

I am sure you can get into some school without a single letter of recommendation, but not having a single one is going to limit your opportunities for admission and pretty most exclude you from funding unless you have amazing (1300+ GRE minimum) test scores. What ever you do, do not tell the department you are applying to that these are the reasons for not having a letter of recommendation.

Which degree are you pursuing and which schools are you targeting? That will make it easier to give you most specific advice.

At bare minimum, I would get a multiple professional recommendations. If you cannot get a colleague to recommend you either, it is really going to be tough. Do you have any colleagues who also teach as instructors or adjuncts? They might be an especially good idea.
I'm applying to a moderately selective school that's strong in my field. I'm not going to waste my time with the Harvards and Yales.
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Old 02-02-2012, 07:00 PM
 
2,578 posts, read 3,130,194 times
Reputation: 6673
Why would it be a red flag?

If this isn't clear to you, then you have a problem.

Then again, from your attitude, maybe you realize some of your profs may likely refuse you?

Don't you realize that many students have good grades and good test scores? That there are often many students applying for too few spots? That is why letters of recommendation are critical.

We also see that some students are "book smart", but not pleasant to work with, not team players, poor speakers/communicators, arrogant/poor attitude etc... and these skills are important to many faculty who are considering whether they want you to be their "colleague" in a graduate program.

Why don't you take a breath.... honestly, who do you think you ARE? If you are that fabulous that the schools should just bow down to you based on a few grades, then just apply. Why ask us?
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Old 02-02-2012, 07:01 PM
 
Location: PNW
682 posts, read 2,043,131 times
Reputation: 631
The letter of recommendation speaks closer to personal qualities than do scores and transcripts. Those will tell the committee that you know how to pass tests and get good grades, but it does not say anything about personality, goals, and the ability to work with others. That's the kind of information they're looking for in the letters of recommendation. If you try to avoid sending letters, it tells admissions that you are likely not a good personality fit, for a whole variety of reasons.
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Old 02-02-2012, 08:04 PM
 
7,189 posts, read 5,244,318 times
Reputation: 7834
Get the letters. Otherwise you're wasting your time and money filling out the applications. Some schools will let you in if you have some letters, but are maybe missing one, although this will get you knocked down the list and probably not offered any financial support. Others will never even get to the point of having professors review your application.

Your inability to find a few people who will write a letter for you is going to speak volumes to the graduate committee, and not in a good way. And given your attitude here, I'd hazard a guess that the message they take away from your lack of recommendations is right on the mark.
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Old 02-02-2012, 08:41 PM
 
6,908 posts, read 10,782,078 times
Reputation: 7366
Quote:
Originally Posted by CitySide View Post
without the required letters of recommendation? I've been out of school for a few years now and I'm too proud to ask professors I never established personal relationships with to give me a recommendation. I recall one professor who wanted me to explain to him why I deserved his recommendation for a summer internship. I'm not trying to deal with that again. I would think near perfect grades and test score would suffice. I'm told by them that the people in admissions would just throw out your application if it's incomplete, but who knows. Has anyone had any success getting into grad school without the necessary letter of recommendation? I'd hate to think I didn't get into a school because I couldn't care less of the opinion of some self absorbed professor.

Thanks
You think every professor has to have unwavering respect and confidence for every student he's written a letter of recommendation for?

LOL dude!

Especially in undergrad, most classes are huge.

I once took a grad school class and a student I can't remember speaking during the class once went up to the professor on the last day and asked for a Law School recommendation letter. The answer was yes.

Just pick a class where the professor will at least remember you and ask him. Chances are, he'll do it.

Use professional references too.

I once asked one of my bosses to write me a letter of recommendation, and he said, "Why don't you write it, I'll look at it, and sign it?"

I liked that idea so much I've asked every boss and professor if I could do that since. And most have said yes. It saves everybody's time.

Just think if you were in the reverse situation, and some kid was coming up to you. Would you help him out or be a pretentious d@uchebag?
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