Letters of Recommendation
Several students ask me for recommendation letters and/or to serve as a reference for various things such as jobs, internship, graduate program, law school, etc. every year. Thus, in the interest of efficiency and to provide students with some guidance on these requests, I provide some advice and proper steps that you should use to request a recommendation from me.
Should You Ask Me For A Letter? Some Things to Consider
Are you certain that I will have exceptional and positive things to say about you?
Did you perform exceptionally in my class? If so, how? Did you get an A in the class? Keep in mind that you want letters to say that you are exceptional not just average.
How Well Do I Know You?
The best letters come from professors who know you well. Perhaps you have been in multiple classes, been a TA, Independent Study, worked on Research, etc.
Think about these two big questions above when considering who to ask for letters of recommendations from. In general, if a professor does not know who you are or is even a little hesitant to your request, then you will want to seek an alternative person to write a letter for you. We are very honest in our letters since our reputation is on the line, but we also want to help you all as much as possible. You should also begin to think about these things before your senior year and cultivate relationships with faculty that you have things in common with, so that they will have a laundry list of positive things to say about you by the time you ask them for a letter.
Things I Will Need to Write a Letter for You
If you decide that I am the best person to write a letter for you after considering these factors, there are a few things that I will need along with your request.
1. An copy of your resume (or CV for academic positions)
2. An unofficial transcript
3. A copy of your personal statement or cover letter for the position
4. A Completed FERPA Release
4. A completed Recommendation Letter Questionnaire