I earned my Bs.C. in Computer Science five years ago. Two years ago I started taking courses of advanced level from Computer Science department. Now I am thinking about applying to M.Sc. studies abroad.

The usual requirement is to submit three references. The problem is I don't have someone to write a reference. I wasn't very successful in these advanced courses, therefore I don't think I could ask a lecturer to write a reference, nor his assistant who was checking homework assignments. As option, I could find a professor and start working with him for a while; I am not sure that the result of this work will be a paper, but at least he will be able to somehow evaluate my ability to do a research, the problem is I need three of them.

In addition, I am not sure I could ask someone from my B.Sc. studies to write a reference, just because I lost touch with them.

In your opinion, what is the best way to get three references?

  • There's something inconsistent about "I want to apply to graduate school" followed by "I didn't do very well in the advanced courses I took". Are you sure?
    – JeffE
    Aug 5, 2013 at 21:10
  • @JeffE, thank you for the answer, I see your point, I wasn't a best student, but still grades were OK, this school for excellent students, therefore I was like an average student. During this period I made an half of requirement in courses for M.Sc.
    – user10756
    Aug 6, 2013 at 4:20

1 Answer 1


I would reach out to the instructors of the classes you enjoyed the most and put a good effort into, regardless of grade.

As an instructor myself, I have written recommendations for students who have and who haven't received straight A's - my main requirement for writing a recommendation is can I see this person succeeding in the position I am recommending them for? If not, I let the student know that I am not the right person to write the recommendation for them.

I say reach out to your instructors - the worst they are going to tell you is no.

  • 2
    No, the worst case is that they write a letter saying you are not qualified for graduate school.
    – Nobody
    Aug 10, 2013 at 3:03

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