I am considering grad school for CS now after graduating my undergrad in 2014. I have been working for the past 4 years and it has been fine, but I feel like I might need a more complete education in order to reach where I want to go in my career.

I understand very little about grad school applications. I know I need to take a GRE test which is fine, I can study for those. I need a statement of intent, I can write one. But then there's letters of recommendation. Apparently I want these from my old undergrad professors. I mean my grades were fine, but I never had a close relationship with any professors and even if I did, it's been awhile. How do I go about making that happen now?

Any advice for approaching this. Is there a good resource of information for someone in my position? Thank you.

  • Just contact them way in advance of the deadlines, remind them who you are, and ask them if they can recommend you. Also did I mention you should do this way in advance of the deadlines? Nov 24, 2018 at 20:24
  • I get that with deadlines I am still a ways off from actually going. I am just starting to think about this.
    – Ryan Cori
    Nov 27, 2018 at 3:52

1 Answer 1


If you are in a position to do so, go visit in person. Tell them what you've been doing and what you want to do. Give them a good picture of you as a success story. Catch up a bit on old times and what is going on with the newer students. Thank them for what they've already done for you.

All of that is worth doing even if you don't want letters, of course.

Doing it in person will help jog their memories of you as email won't. They've had quite a few students since you left and those are more likely to be remembered than someone from four years ago.

But you probably want to do most of that anyway even if you have to do it by mail/email. You might need to be a bit more complete about what you've been doing since graduation, describing projects and such.

But in general, professors like to hear from previous students, and, in general, like to help with their careers. They might even appreciate some guidance from you on what to stress in any letters.

They will also, likely, be full of advice about where to study and how to go about applying.

I would probably give the same advice no matter what the field of study.

Note that you will probably want recommendation letters from current or recent supervisors at work, as well.

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