Alternative sources for grad school letters of recommendation?
January 9, 2013 2:53 PM Subscribe
I am concerned about the quantity, quality, and available sources of recommendation letters to work/industrial/occupational psychology Masters programs in The USA and Europe. (I'm North American) I want to make sure I get the most effective letters possible with my limited access to academic recommendation sources. Are there any alternatives or options that I am not or should be considering? Details inside.
posted by Che boludo! to education (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I’m just starting to pull the documentation together to apply to some Industrial/Organizational Psychology Master’s programs in The USA and Europe. I’m concerned about the quantity, potential quality, and sources for recommendation letters I have. Here are my details.
Undergrad work in Economics and business administration at The University of Colorado - Boulder more than 10 years ago. Let’s just say my performance was mediocre at best. Chance for a recommendation? None.
I took 5 core psychology courses online through CU over the past several years and received A’s in all of them. I had fairly little contact with the instructors and suspect my chance for a recommendation is little to none.
I am now on my fifth graduate level course at Colorado State University’s online Industrial/Organizational Psychology Master’s program and have received a certificate in organizational design and am working toward a certificate in training and development. Again I have received straight A’s. I have had three different instructors, one of them I really couldn’t say I know at all, the second I had some correspondence with, she may remember me and be willing to provide a recommendation although I’m not sure it would be a strong one, and the last teacher has been my instructor 3 times. We have had some email correspondence directly related to the course and a few tangential and not directly related emails. Although we have never met in person, she knows who I am, and I believe she knows my abilities and potential. I’d say she’s my best opportunity for a recommendation from somebody directly academically related to the field. I fairly confident I have a decent recommendation here but still concerned about it because the relationship has only been online.
An management/organizational design consultant whom has been upper-management in a few large companies and works occasionally as an adjunct business professor at The University of Denver has offered to write a letter on my behalf. He knows the quality of my work and has acted as a personal mentor outside of the consulting work he has done with my employer. His recommendation will be strong but I’m just not sure how much water a business consultant/adjunct professor holds to an university admissions committee.
My professional career has consisted of working for the family business over the last 8 years. A recommendation from my boss would be coming from my father and therefore useless.
I think the recommendations are going to be the make it or break it for me along with my statement of purpose to overcome my lack of a spectacular undergrad GPA. Most programs are looking for 2-3 letters. That third letter is the real challenge.
Are there any alternatives or options that I am not considering? Has anybody else been in this position? Does anybody know the differences between North American and European academia in this regard? Any other advice? If so, I thank you in advance hivemind.