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Requesting Letters of Recommendation

I am happy to write letters of recommendation or serve as a reference for my past students. If you are looking to have me (or any other professor) write a letter for you, it is helpful to keep the following in mind.
  • Plan ahead. It will take at least two weeks to write a letter, so plan ahead.
  • You should be more than a name. A recommendation letter has the most effect when I can include personalized information. Participating in class and coming to office hours help establish this rapport. Use this time to let me know that you will eventually like me to write a letter for you so I can plan ahead as well.

In addition, I have a number of requests of you.

  • Let me know plenty ahead of time that you will be asking for a letter, even if you have not prepared your application yet.
  • Once you have prepared your application, you will need to send all the accompanying letter-writer information.
  • Let me know what you are planning to do in the future if you were to receive the position you are applying to.
  • I may want to talk to you in person about your application.
  • Think about what the letter reviewers will be especially looking for in a candidate and convey that to me.
  • Provide a resume/CV and a transcript (unofficial is fine).
  • I ask that you send me a brief paragraph about the important points that you think I should be including in your letter. Specifically, answer the following: What specific details can I add to your letter that another professor couldn't? What aspects of your performance in my class should I be sure to mention? I don't want to forget to mention something that is important.
  • As the letter writing deadline approaches, you will need to send me reminders (2 wks, 1 wk, 4 days, 2 days, 1 day) up until I write to you to tell you I have submitted the letter.

Good luck! And write back to let me know if you get the position!