I am a master (international)student in Germany, I will apply Phd in Canada or US. There will be a gap year between my graduation year and entrance year.

Now my plan to get reference letter is as follows: One letter from my thesis supervisor. Another two letters from the professor whom I took a class with and got an A.

Now I am not sure if any of the professor will remember me after (at least) one year. Surely I got best grade in their exam(oral), but this does not guarantee the chance.

The question is, should I made a impression to them, like directly(politely) ask them if I can get a reference letter from them in the future?Or just wait till the application time and sending emails to ask them? Or any other?

2 Answers 2


If you are still in contact with these professors, visit them now and let them know your plans and that you will ask them for letters in a year. This way they know what is happening and can also give you any advice they think relevant. A conversation would be best (not emails) as they get to ask you a few questions if necessary. So, the first option in your last paragraph is best, I think.

It is risky to rely on the memory of professors. We are a forgetful lot for many things.


Yes, please do. A recommendation letter based on the class performance only is very superficial, something like: He was in my class... Got such grades... I cannot tell much more. Even a short informal conversation where you discuss your interests and career plans is helpful. Consider also informing the letter writer about other classes you have taken, grades you have received, and what else you may find relevant.

Even better if you think strategically and prepare for the letter before taking the class. But this is too late now.

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