Baby Steps!

balloonsThe entire process of being a non-traditional student and trying to go back to school is stressful but a baby step is a step all the same! Today actually wasn’t a baby step it was a huge step! I made my letter of recommendation requests of two professors and my researcher (I’m still volunteering as a research assistant and loving every minute of it) earlier in the day. It is recommended that you do not do this by e-mail; however, being that I am no longer a student and live quite a way from where I attended school for the summer I had no way to determine the schedules of my professors and so I made a preliminary e-mail request politely, but in a very straightforward manner so as not to waste their time, asking if they would consider providing a letter of recommendation and if so I would like to meet with them to discuss further and provide them with the materials they may wish to look over. Okay, so when I wrote it it was worded a lot more eloquently than that. I sent these delicately worded e-mails to my two professors from summer classes I took this year. I also composed a slightly less formal letter requesting the same of my researcher. My researcher has already responded with a resounding yes! I HAVE A LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION! Two more to go! I loved both of the professors I requested letters from so I do not foresee issues with those either; however, it is nerve wracking to make a request of someone.

The thing with letters of recommendation is that they take time to write and the people you are requesting them from are busy busy busy…did I mention BUSY people? It is intimidating to request something from someone who has such a busy schedule as is, but as I was reminded today by a friend; these people have been where I am before and they know the importance of a letter of recommendation. I also did my part in making the job easier, the first thing I did was request my letters today, October 1st. The closest application deadline for my six schools is December 1st, that’s an eight week lead time. It is HUGELY important to give a big lead time for these things and every piece of material I’ve read in regards to grad school application says that the bigger the time period the better – who would want to give you a letter of recommendation on one weeks notice?!

I have also composed a package of information NEATLY ORGANIZED and put together with all of the information my recommenders may need to write my letters. Each recommender will receive a folder with the 6 forms from my schools indicating what they require, watch form has an envelope attached and attached to the envelope is a color coded Post-It with directions on what to do with that particular letter (seal and give to me or seal and send). The letters that are to be sent are pre-stamped and addressed, the others are simply marked with the school name. Also in the folder is my contact information, a copy of my resume, a sheet with “about me” information, my statement of purpose and a copy of each of my transcripts (undergraduate and the classes I took this summer.) The aim of said packet is to make the job of my recommender as easy as possible and make sure that they have everything they need to make a fair judgement of me without having to look everywhere for me to get something that isn’t given in the first place. I am particularly proud of my folder of goodies, I am hoping that my recommenders will be happy with them also.

I assume that each letter for the six programs will be the same…I hope they will be for my recommenders sake! Although each school does have a separate form…

Well, fingers crossed for recommendation 2 and 3!

Oh and totally off topic – my official GRE scores should come in tomorrow!

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