I was wondering how best to approach a professor who I’ve had 7 years ago in grad school! I haven’t kept in touch with him but his LOR means a lot.
Thankfully I got an A in his class. I have also done some recruting for the school on behalf of my firm ( So its not like I’ve been totally ungrateful to the school!). So, my question is, how do I approach him?
Email and phone or even fly to the school and meet him personally? Any suggestions on how to introduce myself? Should I send him my resume, med school essay? What has worked for you? Thanks soooo much!
I would email and introduce myself with what class I took and what I have done since and the reason for the LOP and take it from there.
This is tough! What worked for me was not asking for letters from people I haven’t had fairly recent contact with. I only asked for them from people who know me well enough to know who I am as a person, and who I know will remember me when I am gone. Recent classes should provide you with all the profs you need.
How badly do you need this particular guy’s LOR? Are there closer contacts you can use? Did you have a personal relationship with him or were you 1 of 193 student ID numbers? You want it to speak of your personal greatness! You need a STRONG LOR. If he doesn’t really know anything but that you got a good grade, he’ll write a standard letter saying you were a pleasure to have in class.
Nobody anywhere would expect you to go with the expense of a trip for a personal visit over long distances for such a request. My advice would have been to call him and ask for an appointment - but in this case with distance - I would be inclined to call. It is more personal, and you want that LOR to sound like he knows you personally and thinks you are a great candidate because of something specific he knows about you. Call, say you took his xx class in xxyear. If he remembers you and you can shoot the breeze for a moment you’re in pretty good shape. I would, and do, reserve email requests for LORs for those that I had a personal connection with, that know me very well, and have had recent contact with.
For all of my LOR requests, when I asked I made it very clear that I would provide him/her with a packet of information about me so they’ll have a better idea about what to say. I included a brief letter, an essay, a resume, and a handy list of words and phrases (clearly from a generic source) that people use when writing LORs.
It would be acceptable to email these items after your call and to communicate via email afterward.
Above all, make sure each and every LOR is going to be a strong one.
I had to do this with at least 2 former professors, who I hadn’t been in contact with for about 10 years. I called them on the phone, had pleasant conversations with both of them, and received strong LORs from them.
I’m sure your former professor would be happy to talk to you by phone. If you feel you need an ice-breaker before you call, you might want to email them a copy of your resume with a brief message that you will call them in a few days to request a LOR.
Its much easier getting an LOR from a person who you have been in contact with more recently. However, profs are used to being asked to write them, so if you email this person and re-introduce yourself, it might not be a problem. You usually only need 2 and 5 is the max, so think about how important this particular one would be and do what you think is best. Good luck,
PS WOW, would you really fly there??