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asking for letters of recommendations - February 10th 2015, 02:15 AM

I'm applying to this internship that I wanted to apply to last year but stuff got in the way. I want to follow through with my application this time. It asks for 2 letters of recommendations, 1 from a professor and one from any professional or academic setting.

I have a few profs in mind. I also have some volunteer experience with this organization as a chapter leader which means I was leading an entire program at a hospital (with some supervision from hospital staff)
So I want to ask for a recommendation from the person who accepted me as chapter leader. Does volunteer for an organization count as professional? or should I go with a paid job that I had? (paid jobs include daycare assistant, scene shop helper and costume shop helper)

Also I'm nervous that if I ask for a recommendation for this particular internship from these particular people, that I'd need a second or third letter later on down like applying to grad school (if and when I do) or another opportunity. How should I go about doing this? Is it better if the people I ask for recommendations write a letter specific to the internship or just a general one that I can make copies of and keep a record. Is it rude to ask for a second one later on if I need one ever again?
A lot of my favorite professors are actually adjuncts so it's hard to keep in contact with them besides for email. Many of them switch campuses every semester. I know they're busy and I hate bothering people like that.
In high school I had an odd experience because my teacher was jumping up and down to give me a letter, saying he WANTS to give me one before I even asked. As in he OFFERED. Turns out he just wrote one sentence and didn't put much thought into it even though he had plenty of time since he offered to write the letter for me. I also ended up scraping up 2 more from teachers who ended up sending them in late (they had to send them through a website)They were just were under a lot of pressure with many other things, which is understandable but makes me feel like I'm a huge bother and I don't want to be. I did give them time though...I didn't want to be one of those students who asks for letters 2 days in advance.
Basically asking for advice on how to ask for one without putting pressure but letting them know I need it by a certain deadline (March 10th in this case) If I contact them tomorrow then they'd have at least 3 weeks or 3.5 which should be enough right? I only remembered about applying a few days ago because of the information table and the flyers going around.
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Re: asking for letters of recommendations - February 10th 2015, 11:32 PM

I would ask as soon as possible to give them the time they need to fill it out. I also think it's better to ask for a more specific one on what you're applying for. With the letter of recommendations that i've gotten I've always asked for specifics and asked them if they would do it. I told them what it was for and that was about it. If they say yes then I'd give them any more details that you feel they need to know. I don't think it's rude to ask the same person twice, I've asked my principal for two already this year. As long as they're given enough time, I think they'll be okay with it. If they're not, go to someone else.

I would also get an extra one too. If you need two letters, get three. It's always better to be safe than sorry. That way if one of them is not what you thought it'd be, just use the other one.

I hope this helps! Good luck and I hope you get the internship.

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Re: asking for letters of recommendations - February 11th 2015, 07:16 PM

I HATE asking for letters of recommendation. You're not crazy for it making you uncomfortable. Ask, like, today or tomorrow. Three weeks is a good amount of time-plus, if for some reason they say no, that still gives you about a week to find other people. But don't wait. Rip the bandaid now.

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Re: asking for letters of recommendations - February 11th 2015, 08:34 PM

Thank you so muxh, both of you
I asked the first person last night. She replied saying yes and she wants to know more info. I will pickup my sister from school and then write the second one. I'm more worried about contacting a professor also the person I asked who agreed told me to tell her anything in particular that I want for her to add. I don't know how to answer that. She is not my professor but she is the person I worked with when I volunteered.
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Re: asking for letters of recommendations - February 11th 2015, 10:10 PM

I share your dislike of asking for these and since my masters program folded, I'm unfortunately looking at having to do it again at some point. As long as the person is willing, it's perfectly okay to ask for more than one. When I applied to grad school the first program rejected me and I asked the same professors for recommendations the second time. The first time, I did it in person, the second time I was out of school and just emailed them and they both agreed. Here's what I sent each of them the second time. One was a more generic letter that I was given a copy of and the second one I'm not sure because the faculty policy was that you had to waive your right to view the letter or they wouldn't write it. As long as you keep the communication open and don't wait forever to ask, they should be willing. Mine ended up being requested about a year apart, but they still remembered me.

Subject: Letter of Recommendation

Dr. (last name),
Thank you for agreeing to write a recommendation for me back in May. Unfortunately, I was not accepted into (name of school's) program, but I was wondering if you would be willing to write me a recommendation for the (specific name of program)program at (name of school). I would be able to get you the necessary materials at the beginning of next semester and the deadline would be March 1st.

Thank you,
(my name)

I sent this in January right before their spring semester started. I already knew what materials they wanted because I had asked them before and was able to either attach them or mail them.

In terms of who to ask, choose people you believe know you well enough to write a good letter who would be willing and who you think know you in the most relevant setting so it depends what the internship is. Also look to see if the internship application specifies what type of recommendation they want. For example, for graduate school they want someone who can attest to your ability to be successful in a graduate program. That would be the place to look to see what the other person can include.

If you can, ask in person and believe me they are used to it. They taught us to say something like "I was wondering if you feel like you know me well enough to write me a recommendation for (basic details)" and have an idea of what they might ask. This makes it less awkward because they can say they don't feel they know you well enough to write one instead of just turning you down and keeps them from feeling pressure to agree and providing you with a lower-quality letter when someone else might be able to give you a better one. My psych professors asked for a huge packet of information from every student they gave one to, probably since they were asked to write so many.

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Re: asking for letters of recommendations - February 13th 2015, 02:22 PM

thanks Kate! I asked three people and 2 of them replied so that's good because I only need 2. The third one will be a backup I guess.
I also gotta answer essay questions and I *might* get called in for an interview but you never know till later. Only 20 people from everyone who applies will get in
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Re: asking for letters of recommendations - February 13th 2015, 03:02 PM

Hi there,

I just wanted to add my two cents- my current job involves hiring, and the letters of recommendation are really not weighed heavily, at least here. Unless the professor has something really bad to say about you, it'll get skimmed pretty quickly. We tend to see the same praises etc- the main purpose of this is to pick through the letters who seem to be lackluster/unenthusiastic about the candidate.

That being said, I agree that it's hard to ask! I just had to ask for grad school letters, and I asked through an email because I'm awkward in person. Just be sure to say something about how you respect and admire their work and believe that they would be an extremely valuable asset to help you score this internship.

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Re: asking for letters of recommendations - February 16th 2015, 12:30 PM

I was always shy to ask my professors or ex-bosses for recomendations. I do not even know why; such my nature is. But though I hate doing that, I had to do that because I needed that! I wanna say, that such things as doing something you are afraid of or feel yourself uncomfortable with can help you overcome your fears for example or mecome more confident.

Glad to hear you will have 2 recommendations! Good luck!
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