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    Hi all,

    I graduated from my university a few months ago and I'm considering doing an MA next year and would like to know how to get an academic reference? I gather you are supposed to contact one or two academics that you got to know personally during your studies to obtain a reference. What if, like me, you didn't get to know any of your tutors? Is it still possible to get a reference and what's the best way of going about it?

    Thanks
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    Just email 2 people who taught you the most. Even if they didn't get to know you personally they will be able to comment on your academic ability.
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    (Original post by beefmaster)
    Just email 2 people who taught you the most. Even if they didn't get to know you personally they will be able to comment on your academic ability.
    Or, can't you get your tutor to write one/ the surpervisor etc. actually anyone who you knew from an academic standpoint email them and ask them to give you one.
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    Email and ask your personal tutor (because he/she should be able to see all the reports written on you by anyone else) and whichever other tutor saw you most often or specialises in the field you want to do on your MA. Academics have to write references all the time so it won't come out of the blue for them - just give them plenty of warning before the deadline and you'll be fine.
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    Well, I did have the same lecturer for modules in my 2nd and 3rd years and those modules happened to be where I got my best marks and they are also the ones that are probably most relevant to the course that I'm looking at.

    How should I go about emailing him? Do I just say that I was one of his students in two of his modules and that I got my best grades from him and would he mind writing me a reference for the MA I want to apply to?

    The personal tutor situation for me is a bit weird as I had more than one during my time at university and I only saw each of them once or twice so I'm not sure if it's worth me contacting them. The course I'm interested in applying for asks for at least one reference so that may be enough. What do you all think? I could also post a link to what I want to apply for as well.
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    You've got a good approach on what to write in the e-mail. To be on the safe side, really get a second reference. As others said, Tutors may have a file on you already from feedback on how you are doing in seminars, your exam marks and/or the marks on your essays (they have to be recorded somehow). So even if you only met either of them once or twice, they'd have enough written information to make an assessment of your academic ability and may compare your marks with other students to make a stronger argument. Perhaps to better personalize your references (and give them a hint what you'd want included); also forward them a draft of your MA personal statement and a copy of your CV. Maybe a link to the MA you're considering as well. If at all possible, if you're around the area, drop by in their office hours to discuss your MA plans.
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    Thanks. The course I'm applying for is also asking for "a certified copy of undergraduate academic results and degree certificate". What do they mean by a "certified copy"? Does that mean that they won't accept photocopies of my degree certificate and transcript? :confused:

    Does having a 2:2 affect my chances? The course is with City University btw and is their Political Communication MA.
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    Certified copy means it can be photocopied. However you would need to take the photocopy to an academic registrar (the same person or service department that would mail out an official copy of degree/transcript [often paid for]), so that they may place a stamp on it or write a note and sign that the copy is genuine and has not been altered.

    I can't really comment on the 2:2 part. Entry requirements change all the time depending on the demand of the course this year. Two years ago a 2:2 for a UCL course would have been acceptable, but not any more. For City, I'd assume you would have made the minimum to be considered and have your app looked at. Though having a secure place would depend on the application as a whole and also what the marks of the other applicants for that year would be, which no one can really say.
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    I see. Can I send them the original documents to them as an alternative or is that not advised?

    City don't specify an actual grade minimum for the course. Just a good honours degree in any discipline. I know most would probably define "good" as a 2:1 or better but would it be fair to say that a 2:2 can sometimes be included in that definition?
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    You can send the original documents. But they won't give them back to you! So it's best to either do the certified copy or just cough up the money for an "official copy". The certified copy is good enough to send by post. You can scan the original document if the application is on line, but they'd need a physical official copy eventually.

    I suppose if the uni is not stating any definite classification and it's not a ridiculously competitive course, then a 2:2 can fall under that category as a "good honours degree". Of course the higher the 2:2 is, and it's not bordering on a 3rd, the better. But admission tutors would be looking at the transcripts closely anyhow and may put more weight on the marks of some modules than others when considering course suitability. E.g. they'd hold more interest in a a politics/communications module result than a languages module if it's not relevant.
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    Ok. Thank you very much for all your help.
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      Usually one of the references is coming from the person that was your supervisor in you final year thesis/project.
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      (Original post by cybergrad)
      Usually one of the references is coming from the person that was your supervisor in you final year thesis/project.
      Yep, I will contact that person along with the tutor that I mentioned earlier.
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      OK, I've just received out of office replies for both of the people I have contacted. One is on study leave until January while the other is on maternity leave until May! There is no application deadline given for the MA I want to apply for but I obviously need to apply as soon as I can to ensure a place on the course. I guess I can wait for the lecturer who'll be back in January but I can't think of who to ask for a reference in place of the one who is on maternity leave.
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      Bumping this thread with the latest:

      I got an email from City last week saying that they do consider people with a high 2:2. What is considered to be a "high 2:2"? Is it anything 55% or above?

      They also said that there is no application deadline as such but did say that getting my application by April 2011 would be sufficient. As I said in my previous post, of the two academics I contacted for a reference, one is on study leave until next month while the other is on maternity leave until May. I gather I have time to wait for the one on study leave to get back to me next month but I would need to contact someone else from my university for the 2nd reference. Is that correct?
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      (Original post by akmd)
      Bumping this thread with the latest:

      I got an email from City last week saying that they do consider people with a high 2:2. What is considered to be a "high 2:2"? Is it anything 55% or above?

      They also said that there is no application deadline as such but did say that getting my application by April 2011 would be sufficient. As I said in my previous post, of the two academics I contacted for a reference, one is on study leave until next month while the other is on maternity leave until May. I gather I have time to wait for the one on study leave to get back to me next month but I would need to contact someone else from my university for the 2nd reference. Is that correct?
      Well a high 2.1 is generally held to be 67%...so take from that what you will about a high 2.2.

      Also with regards to your tutor who is on maternity leave. One of my referees last year was on maternity leave and she was still more than willing to provide me with a reference.

      While there is no set deadline, I would be more inclined to advise you to submit an application as early as possible if it is a popular course and your profile is below that of the 'normal' requirements.
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      (Original post by beefmaster)
      Also with regards to your tutor who is on maternity leave. One of my referees last year was on maternity leave and she was still more than willing to provide me with a reference.
      That's interesting. I sent my email to that referee over a week ago and have not heard back yet. How long did it take for your one to get back to you?
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      (Original post by akmd)
      That's interesting. I sent my email to that referee over a week ago and have not heard back yet. How long did it take for your one to get back to you?
      All 3 of mine this time round got back to me and submitted references within a week. I was from a small course and these people became friends of mine so that may have made a difference with time.

      There is not set time frame or rules for references everyone has a different experience.
     
     
     
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