I emailed a former supervisor that I worked on a project with and I'm not sure if his terse response is a good sign.
I can not afford to get a weak letter during this admission cycle. I thought he had a favorable impression of me so I emailed him and asked him if he was willing. I did write the email in a way that might have made it hard to say no. I was hoping that he would just ignore my email if he didn't want to do it or give some excuse which I would've been fine with.
"Yes yes I'm happy to write it. Send emails to xxx@companynamedotcom"
I want to ensure that his LoR will really support my app because I need to shine in all areas to make up for other weak areas of my app. Any ideas on how to ensure a good LoR?
Hmm, that does sound quite terse!
I would recommend that you talk to him first and make sure both of you are on the same page, especially if you are looking at taking his help for multiple applications. The first step is to be sure that he is willing to set aside some time to put in a strong recommendation.
Once you know his intentions are honorable(!), make his life simpler:
1. Give him a copy of your essays
2. Tell him what 3-4 key messages you want him to convey through the recommendation
3. Share a list of achievements or anecdotes to jog his memory - or those that you want him to refer to in his recommendation
4. Ask him if he is okay with sharing what he has written with you - so you can have a discussion in case anything's missing.
If he doesn't look very interested in helping you out, perhaps you may want to identify someone who knows you well and can devote sufficient time to help you. Between the glossiness of designation and the effort put in to give you a glowing recommendation, always pick the recommender who can give you the latter!
Gowri N Kishore
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