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Hello everyone, 

I am currently working on getting my applications ready for admission into schools for 2020 and I have a question in regards to academic references. I graduated with a Bachelors in Science in 2009 and started re-taking classes in 2016. However, all of the classes that I have taken in the last three years have all been online and therefore I did not have a lot of contact with my professors. Some additional background to acknowledge is that I am currently a Paramedic and attend multiple continuing education classes each year that are often taught by the same person. So my question is who do you think would be a better academic reference for me, and would a reference from one of my continuing education teachers count as an academic reference? 

option1: Ask my professor from my last class that I attended. (Less personable, but coming from a professor from a university)

or 

Option 2: Ask one of my continuing education teachers from work (This option allows for maybe a more personable reference since they have known me for almost 9 years)

Thanks in advance!

Sarah 

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Honestly just check with the programs that require an academic reference and see if they will accept the CE teacher.

I was in a similar situation and opted to NOT apply to programs that required an academic reference because mine were all just so far removed from my life.  I considered it the school's loss and moved on - I even asked them directly and they insisted it couldn't be substituted.

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I also opted not to use an academic reference and it worked out just fine for me. I graduated with my bachelors in 2012 and I felt that was too long ago to be relevant for references. Then I took many of my prerequisites in an accelerated format, online, or at a community college and I did not feel that any of the professors knew me well enough to write a good reference, simply due to the format that I took the courses in. I did get all As in my prerequisites, so I felt that my performance spoke for itself and in my case an academic reference wasn't as necessary as professional references. 

 

I would recommend you evaluate your your grades and academic performance. If you feel it speaks for itself as I did, you may not need the academic reference. If your grades are average, it may be helpful to have one. You can ask the programs if they will accept the CE teacher. If they won't accept that and you feel you need one, I would try to take another science course in person (preferably upper division) to try to get an academic reference. 

Edited by JTATC

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The best idea would be to use your continuing education teacher as it is a more personable reference. I feel like most schools only recommend having an academic reference and they would be able to substitute the letter you have for it, however, the schools that are more firm on this LOR requirement, you definitely want to double-check with to see if it would meet their requirement. 

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Thank you all for the great responses! I guess I won't stress too much over it and reach out to the schools who require it to see exactly what they are looking for and if they would accept my CE teachers. 

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