I am an undergraduate student volunteered at a research lab 2 years ago, working under a phd student. At the end of the work term, the phd student arranged a meeting with the prof so that I presented my work to him. He was rather impressed and promised to provide reference (2 years ago).

Right now, I am applying graduate studies so I would need his recommendation letter. But the problem is that he might not remember me because I didn't work directly under him and I merely gave a presentation. What kind of approach should I take in order to remind him of this issue?

  • If at all possible, go visit the prof. If not that, a phone call would be next best. Finally an email if the others don't work. If the prof sees you, they are more likely to remember you. – mikeazo Jun 23 '15 at 20:24

Write a letter, send an email.


Hello, I am user3222184, and when I was an undergraduate, I volunteered at your research lab in 2013. I presented xyz work to you.

I am pursuing graduate studies and would be honored if you can write recommendation letter for me.

Thanking you, user3222184

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    Also offer to provide information to the recommendation writer including your statement of purpose, CV/resume, and transcripts. If the prof writes good recommendation letters they'll generally want this information. – Brian Borchers Jun 23 '15 at 19:26
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    I would also include a copy of your updated resume, it may be useful in his writing about you. – eykanal Jun 23 '15 at 19:50
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    I would avoid "honor" comments. The OP should say he/she would appreciate a letter and why, in a sincere way. Appreciation is realistic, being "honored" is not. Unless this potential letter writer is another Einstein, but if he were then the honor would be so obvious it isn't worth bringing up. The same goes for grad school applications: the OP shouldn't tell a program that it'd be "an honor" to get admitted. Programs where that genuinely applies don't need to be told so, and for the rest it would be insincere. – KCd Jun 24 '15 at 3:04
  • @KCd Good point, about the honor usage – Rhonda Jun 24 '15 at 12:34

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