I asked this professor for a recommendation letter. She told me to send her transcript, CV, statement of purpose and the thesis. I have some bad grades (not in her class though) and don't know how to approach this:

  • option 1: in my email to her I will tell her the reason why I had those bad grades.
  • option 2: I just send her all the materials she asked of me without saying anything about the grades. In the statement of purpose, there were already 1-2 sentences explaining my performance in those classes, so if she reads it, she can understand the situation.
  • option 3: I send her the statement of purpose first. For the other materials, I will send them later. Then she will see sop before the transcript
  • option 4: I just send her all the materials she asked of me without saying anything about the grades. On the SOP, I don't mention my grade as well. Then, if she asks why my grade is bad, I will explain it to her.

Which one do you think is the best option, or do you recommend other alternatives?

Thank you all!

  • 2
    Side advice: Make your SoP forward looking not backward. Don't explain or apologize for the past. Say what you will do in future and why you will be a success of it. The past is discussed elsewhere in your application, usually in the CV. A very brief explanation of how/why you have overcome past issues might be the exception, with the emphasis on overcome.
    – Buffy
    Oct 29, 2020 at 13:38

1 Answer 1


By asking for all of this information, it sounds like this professor is trying to write you a personalized letter, which is usually a good thing. She's helping you out.

Therefore, it's completely reasonable to take option 1 and simply explain your bad grades to her. I wouldn't go overboard here - she's not making a hiring/admitting decision regarding you. But a few lines giving her some context for all the material she asked for is not at all amis.

  • Thanks for the advice
    – FARRAF
    Oct 29, 2020 at 13:23
  • More generally, lying to professors about grades/reasons for getting bad ones, is a bad idea. We normally have access to this kind of information (by shooting an email to HR or other lecturers).
    – Spark
    Oct 29, 2020 at 13:26
  • 2
    I never mentioned lying in any of the option.
    – FARRAF
    Oct 29, 2020 at 13:32

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