Since I graduated as an undergrad three years ago, I've been planning to go back into graduate school, so I saved all my assignments and heavily kept up on studying and research. My transcript looks good and I've had a lot of time to focus on GREs.
The most uncertain and anxious part is getting letter of recommendations from my former professors. Due to my nature, I haven't maintained contact with the three professors I have in mind, especially given the job I have. I'm confident that they'll remember me if I send them a quick e-mail, but I'm hesitant about the timing. It seems a bit awkward to re-establish contact out of nowhere without letting them know my intention, but at the same time, I feel it's a bit too early to let them know I would like to start looking into graduate school.
I was thinking of sending them e-mails stating my intention to apply to graduate schools, be able to provide documents/statements so they have something to remember and write about me, and ask if they were interested on writing the recommendation. If so, I would follow up and provide them the application details several months ahead.
Is this better than asking them out of the blue when graduate application crunch time starts?
Also, for professors and those who wrote letter of recommendations, what are your experiences of writing recommendations for former students reaching back 3 - 4 years later?
Edit: Update on this below