Recommendation Letters

If our lives were that simple we'd live in the past. 
Jimmy Buffett 

In order for you to get the best letter of recommendation possible here are a few guidelines that I have developed.

Please understand that these guidelines are for your benefit. You may even want to consider them when thinking about asking anyone to write you a letter.

General Advice

  1. I should know who you are - really know who you are. This is best achieved by doing research with me or by being in at least two of my classes.  Sometimes having a student in only one of my classes is sufficient time to get to know them well enough to write a good letter, but not usually.  
  2. I should respect you as a student and be able to write good things about you! This is best achieved by receiving a high A average in the classes you had with me or by being an excellent research assistant. 
  3. Come see me about all of this during my office hours or set up an appointment through email.  Once we have discussed your letters and I am willing to write them, you can submit them via email or leave the materials in my mailbox in Burnett 238.
  4. I MUST have ALL of the materials for the letters at least THREE weeks before the first deadline. (See below for an explanation of "ALL materials".) If you are applying to multiple schools, then you may want to allow more time. 
  5. You should send reminder emails to me about your letters. It does not offend me at all for you to remind me to write your letter!  

Materials to give me 

The more organized these materials are -- the better!
  1. The forms/envelopes for the schools. Please fill out ALL of the information that you can on these forms. There will be places for my contact information. Please fill this out before giving the forms to me. See here if you do not know any of that information. If the schools do not need letterhead envelopes, then provide addressed envelopes with my return address included. Basically, fill everything out except my signature and my appraisal of you!
  2. Your transcript with the classes you took from me highlighted/circled. This does not need to be an official transcript.
  3. Your resume/vita
  4. A one page description of why you will make a good___________ (fill in the blank, e.g., graduate student, law student, circus animal trainer, etc.).
  5. A list of deadline dates for when the letters need to be mailed.
  6. Your contact information - email address, phone number, address.