I am currently applying for an informal(?) internship at my school and the employer asked if I knew any faculty or staff members well enough to write me a recommendation. I have only just completed freshmen year and don't really know any of the teachers well and long enough that I'd be comfortable asking for a recommendation. My math professor did write me a short informal recommendation when I applied to be a math TA, but I don't believe we're close enough for him to write one for an internship.

Should I take a risk and ask my math professor or just tell the employer that I don't know anyone well enough?

Background info about math professor: I had him for two semesters and would go to his office hours maybe 3-4 times a semester to ask questions or just talk about math. Not sure if this is enough though to constitute him as a good recommender.


2 Answers 2


You do what you can. Having someone with a positive opinion of you is probably much better than having no one. There isn't a lot they can say, possibly, but for this it probably isn't critical.

But as you go along, make sure you develop some relationships so that this doesn't arise when it is critical.

If he was your supervisor for the TA then he probably has a good enough idea. But if it was another, you might look to them, also.

  • 1
    Also: faculty are accustomed to this type of request and are able to write basic letters even when they do not necessarily know the student well (but have a generically good opinion of the student).
    – Dawn
    Commented Jul 25, 2021 at 15:56

If you have excellent grades on the courses he/she teaches and show good attitudes and abilities while working as TA, then I think it is totally possible.

You probably only need your math professor to write a single letter for one employer, so that won't bother him/her too much.

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