Who gets to be the lucky person to write me a letter of recommendation?
October 13, 2009 12:02 AM Subscribe
I'm applying to graduate school and need 3 letters of recommendations. However, I am having trouble deciding the right people to ask. HALP.
posted by carpyful to Education (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'm applying to MPA/MPP programs for the Fall of 2010. My work and academic careers have not been ideal and now I'm not sure what to do. Here's my situation:
I got my BA in May 2007 with pretty good grades (I got nearly all A's in my political science courses, which I majored in). Even though I did well, I was the type to do my work and leave class -- I never spent time talking to professors at all. It's now been 2.5 years since graduation and I feel uncomfortable asking any of my old professors for letters of recommendations. Also, I no longer live near my school so I'd have to do this all through phone or email. If I go this route, I'll be contacting my polisci seminar professor. I got an A in the class and an A on my thesis paper.
As an undergrad, I spent a summer interning at my local Congressman's office and my local state Senator's office (both in the same summer, part time with each). This was in the summer of 2006 which means that it has been a while. The only saving grace is that I used one of my internship supervisors as a reference to get my current AmeriCorps gig last year so I've had some communication there.
After graduating, I didn't really know what I wanted to do so I spent a little over a year working in unrelated fields. I did some private tutoring and freelance design to keep busy. Even though I did good work and have maintained some connections with my clients, I feel that the work is so unrelated and short-lived (most of my freelance work was 3-6 month gigs and my tutoring jobs lasted about 9 months) that they might not be great to use for applications.
The only place I am confident in getting letters of recommendations from is the place that I am working at now: I am an AmeriCorps VISTA at a nonprofit doing work I enjoy. I know a few higher-ups in my workplace that would probably write me letters. I am tempted to get more than one person from my organization to write me a recommendation but I would imagine that isn't the best idea ever.
Finally, I am in a cohort with other VISTAs (we are all in different workplaces and meet twice a month for trainings) and the supervisor of that program would write me a letter, as well. I worry that getting a letter from my work supervisor and my VISTA supervisor would be confusing and detrimental.
So to summarize my questions:
Which 3 people do I ask for letters of recommendations?
Is it worth asking professors from undergrad who I never really spoke to (but got A's in the class)?
Is it worth asking people I interned for in 2006?
Is it worth asking clients that I did work for in unrelated fields?
Is getting a letter from more than one person in a workplace weird?
If I get a letter from my work supervisor and a letter from my VISTA supervisor, will that be seen as negative (since most people won't know the difference)?
As you can see, I am in need of guidance.