Applying to Grad School Anxiety


Hey everyone,

I am currently a 4th year undergraduate student. I am about to start the process for applying to grad school and med school (in case grad school doesn’t work out). However, the idea of asking former profs and lab supervisors for references is absolutely terrifying to me and is making me second guess grad school. I keep comparing myself to other undergraduate students with more work experience and are way more extroverted than I am and as a result, I am putting myself down.

I was wondering if there was any undergrad students undergoing a similar process as me or if there was any grad students out there with SA that went through the same process and how they dealt with the anxious feelings associated with applying to grad school.

Any advice is much appreciated


I’m not in college, but I’m a high school Senior, so I have to apply to schools as well. Don’t worry- in all professions it takes all kinds of people, so being more introverted could offer a different perspective. Also, try planning out what you are going to say and the way you are going to say it when you ask for references. That way, you know exactly what you want to say and how you want to act, and you can just plow into it. I hope this helps!


Anything with positive motivation or helpful advice is much appreciated so thank you. I’ve spent so much of my energy worrying about it, I actually haven’t thought about what to say or how to ask for references. That seems to be a better use of my time and energy than worrying. Again thank you, it’s also helpful to know that I’m not alone.


This is the fear of judgement that comes along with SA. What you need to realize is that the things that you are afraid of people judging you on are not what they are actually judging you on. Most people that you ask for references will be happy to do it and will base it on the work you have done. Everyone cannot have the same work experience or personality.


I understand exactly how you feel. I graduated from college in May and I’m applying to law school right now. Last week I had to ask for recommendations, and it was terrifying! But it ended up being really no big deal. I was convinced that the professors would have nothing good to say about me, because I never talked in class or went to office hours. Or, worse, they wouldn’t remember who I was. But they both seemed happy to write them for me. As long as you did well in their class, I’m sure that your professors will write them for you too.

Of course, since I’m not on campus anymore I was able to ask them via email, which I guess is a little easier. But it might be better to ask in person because you won’t be obsessing over every single word in the email, like I was, and you won’t have to wait for a reply.

My advice would be to get it over with as soon as possible. You will feel so much better after its done. Also try to plan something fun and distracting for after you ask, like getting lunch or dinner with a friend. That way, you’re enjoying yourself instead of obsessing over every little thing you said or did.

Please, please don’t second guess your decision to go to grad school! I was doing the same thing last week. Now I’m regretting all the times in undergrad that I didn’t apply to jobs or internships because I would have needed recommendations.


Thank you guys for the postive advice. I felt a lot better about it after reading everyone’s comments. I was able to ask one of my potential references (Probably the one I was the most nervous about) and they yes :smile: one down, three (maybe 4) to go. I have significantly more confidence now and feel ready to ask the remaining potential references. Thanks again everyone :heart: