Not too complicated of a situation -- I'm graduating with my bachelor's degree (Mathematics) in a couple weeks, but to support my wife, I'm going to get a job for a while before looking at attending a master's program. The soonest I am considering starting a master's degree would be something like Fall semester of 2017.

Since I'm leaving the school, and I may be moving states with a job, should I go ahead and bring up the question of a letter of recommendation with the professors from whom I think would write them? I have a good reputation with them, so it's not like they'll forget me in a year, but I'd rather have it done sooner while I'm still technically a student than a random email they may miss a year from now.

  • The starting-Fall-2017 application season begins in only 4 months or so -- it's not like you're even that early.
    – user4512
    Apr 28, 2016 at 6:45

2 Answers 2


Explain this situation to each of the few professors you plan to ask for letters of recommendation from, and ask what they would prefer. Some of them would probably prefer to write you the letters now, while you are fresh in their memory. Others, (ones who are very well disposed to you, or very generous people) might like to wait until you are applying for specific programs, because then they can tailor their responses to the specifics of what you are applying to. Even in that situation, you will feel less awkward if you have already broached the topic with them. Also, you learn if someone you are expecting a recommendation from is actually not willing to write one for you, or feels that they can't recommend you strongly. This will be better to find out now than a year from now.

Plus, your professors might have advice on what kind of job to take in the meantime in your field, or even a connection for a job. You won't know if you don't ask.


To me, receiving a letter of recommendation while you are about to finish school and while you are still fresh in your professor's mind is a great idea. I would ask your professor to write 5 letter of recommendations (or however many schools you plan to apply to) and put them inside a sealed envelope with their signature over the sealing strip.

  • 1
    This is the 21st century: letters are done entirely electronically now. Also, what purpose would sealing the letters serve? Are you suggesting recommenders give students physical copies of the letters? And that recommenders are somehow bound to not alter their opinions later on?
    – user4512
    Apr 28, 2016 at 6:41
  • I have to agree with @ChrisWhite. I don't think this answer is really valid anymore. I just applied to grad school and I had to provide an email address for every recommendation letter I asked for. They were then sent an email with a link to provide my recommendation letter. I should probably add this is for the US.
    – Lexi
    Apr 28, 2016 at 11:37

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .