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Getting a Fantastic LOR

Updated: Jan 21, 2021

Optional: Before the Class

Ask upperclassmen, staff advisers, or even other professors to find instructors who are friendly, caring, and clearly engaged in their student's education.


Part A: During the Class

1. Sit in the Front:

  • This action suggests you are an interested and motivated student.

  • You will have better vision of the blackboard, better hearing of lecture material, and better focus.

 2. Go to Office Hours:

  • Display your desire to improve not only your grade, but also your knowledge of the subject matter. 

  • Dress appropriately. Refrain from wearing pajamas or sweats.

  • Don’t show up unprepared. Study beforehand and only ask questions clearly not addressed in lecture.

  • Prepare at least 3 open-ended questions about the course material each time you visit. Refrain from asking questions about grading.

  • More importantly, here lies the perfect opportunity for your professor to learn more about your person.

3. Do well in the class:

  • It is in your best interest to achieve the highest grade possible so the professor can speak about your academic intellect without any reservations.


Part B: After the Class:

4. Evaluate your Relationship with the professor.

(The more questions below you answer "yes" to, the better.)

  • Does this professor like me as a student?

  • Has this professor seen my recent work?

  • Did I do well in this instructor’s course(s)?

  • Have I kept in contact with this professor?

  • Have I always acted ethically in regards to this professor and her or his class?

  • Can this professor speak about my intellectual development and achievement of skills in a positive manner?


5. Ask:

  • Find a good time/place to approach your professor in-person. (You may try emailing the professor to see when they will be in the office.)

  • Be as politely direct as possible to minimize awkwardness.

  • While asking in person, try to sense any sign of hesitation, which is clearly a red flag.

  • Phrase the question to the lines of: "Dr. X, would you be willing to support me in applying to dental school by writing me a STRONG letter of recommendation?”

  • At this point, one of two scenarios is possible:

a. The professor shows hesitation or says no. In this situation, acknowledge their answer and thank them for their time. You will need to ask a different professor.

b. The professor agrees with no hesitation. In this case, ask to schedule a definite appointment with them soon to provide them with more information about you. Move on to step 6.

6. Sit down with the professor:


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