Graduate Program references!! Freaking out!

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    Hey guys!

    So I am definitely going to graduate school, there is no other option. I know exactly where my interests lie / what I would like to study and I am very passionate about this topic. I have volunteered for a few years in this area, and have done a lot of work at school (but outside of class) related to my area of interest. My marks are good. The only problem is references. I have severe social anxiety and as a result I have not made any "connections" with professors. I am extremely motivated, but this has always held me back. I have had quite a few very small classes over the years where the professor knew the students by name. I even went into office hours to talk to these professors on occasion. But I highly doubt they remember me. I had one professor this past winter/spring, another one exactly a year ago (fall semester 2015) and another professor I had twice between 2012 and 2014. All of these were small classes, I went to see the professor in his/her office at least once and they knew my name at the time I was their student. But I was so quiet, I doubt they still know who I am. Yet, I need three academic references for grad school!! What do I do? Should I ask these proffs? Would they still give me references even if I wasn't always in their face?
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    It sounds like you're in the US so it may be different but here in the UK profs are obliged to give you refs and it sounds like you participated enough to ask for them. Ask the profs and see where you get to. The worst they can say is no or write you a generic ref. In some cases they may even ask what you'd like covered in your ref. Remind them of who you are in your email and say what you're applying for and why.
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    (Original post by alleycat393)
    It sounds like you're in the US so it may be different but here in the UK profs are obliged to give you refs and it sounds like you participated enough to ask for them. Ask the profs and see where you get to. The worst they can say is no or write you a generic ref. In some cases they may even ask what you'd like covered in your ref. Remind them of who you are in your email and say what you're applying for and why.
    I'm actually in Canada... how did you guess based on my post? lol. Thanks, though! I'll try and see how far I get! *Fingers crossed*
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    (Original post by pianoplaya94)
    I'm actually in Canada... how did you guess based on my post?
    We don't have "graduate school" in that sense and our university staff are generally referred to as "lecturers". In the UK, the title of Professor is reserved for senior academic staff only.
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    (Original post by alleycat393)
    here in the UK profs are obliged to give you refs
    UK academics are definitely permitted to decline to provide a reference. At my current uni, the preferred approach for total no-hopers who ask for one, is for academic staff not to give a reference at all, rather than saying something negative and potentially stirring up a complaint about what was said or how it was said.

    There are plenty of ways to avoid giving a student reference which don't involve outright refusal. A common strategy in my office is for staff to just ignore email requests, or to 'forget' or be too busy/on leave/away on research, until after a deadline has passed.
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    (Original post by Klix88)
    UK academics are definitely permitted to decline to provide a reference. At my current uni, the preferred approach for total no-hopers who ask for one, is for academic staff not to give a reference at all, rather than saying something negative and potentially stirring up a complaint about what was said or how it was said.

    There are plenty of ways to avoid giving a student reference which don't involve outright refusal. A common strategy in my office is for staff to just ignore email requests, or to 'forget' or be too busy/on leave/away on research, until after a deadline has passed.
    You're right. We're not contractually obliged to give refs to students but lots of us feel obliged to do so unless there's a good reason not to.
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    Did you do any kind of final-year project? Usually your supervisor from that will be a good bet.

    Otherwise, I would just ask. In my experience staff are a lot more aware of you than you think. I had the extreme embarassment of realising on my graduation day that I was the only person doing a statistics degree and must have been on the radar of the whole stats department. Alas, I never turned up to class and was pretty flakey in most respects :P
 
 
 
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