I consider the support of students’ professional development one of the obligations of my job. In this regard, I am happy to write recommendation letters to support your scholarship/award applications, job searches, graduate school applications, etc. If you are considering asking me to write a recommendation letter, please refer to the following guidelines. Following these guidelines will help me to write a stronger and more accurate letter that serves you better.
1. Whether I am the right person to write a letter?
I might be in a good position to write a letter if at least one of the following conditions are met:
(1) You have done good work in my classes. I typically write letters only for students who have got an “A” in my classes, so that my letter could be a strong one to describe your accomplishments. It would be awkward for me to say in the letter that you are excellent, but you didn’t perform well in my classes. If you performed less well in my classes, you’d better to invite another faculty member to write on your behalf.
(2) You have conducted research with me. It is also helpful, but certainly not necessary, to have published work with me, as this gives me more opportunities to comment on your research skills and potential.
(3) I am serving/have served on your dissertation committee.
2. What I need from you to write a letter?
It would be helpful if you could send the following materials in one email:
1) A cover sheet listing the places to which you want me to send the letter, including addresses, website links, and deadlines.
2) Your resume/CV.
3) Your personal statement, if you have already prepared. If you have not, your rationale/qualification for receiving an award, pursuing graduate school, securing a job, etc.
4) A short (2-3 sentences) abstract or summary of your work (term papers, publications, dissertation, etc.).
5) Any points that you want me to include/emphasize in the letter. I would refer to those points, but I reserve the right to incorporate some or none of them.
6) Any relevant anecdotes for telling useful stories about characteristics of you or your work.
3. How much time do I need to write a letter?
Please provide me with all of the materials mentioned above at least three weeks before the deadlines.