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Getting Letters of Recommendation - Tips

  1. Ask a person who knows you well, thinks well of you, and is willing to write a thoughtful appraisal of your qualifications. If your professor doesn't know you well enough, you might want to ask the GSI to write the letter and have the professor co-sign it.

  2. Discuss your plans with the writer and remind him/her about your background. A resume or summary of your background might be useful to the letter writer.

  3. Check your specific schools' letter of recommendation guidelines. If there is specific information being requested, please advise letter writer so that this can be included.

  4. Provide the letter writer sufficient advance notice. Often, faculty members are asked to write recommendations for many students, so requesting your recommendation several weeks before you need them in your file will be helpful to the letter writer.

  5. Provide your writer with a note containing your full name (first, middle, last, and any other name used so as to prevent confusion), your contact phone number, email address, and what kind of letter you need from them. If you have a name that the writer can't guess your gender, perhaps you should write that down somewhere too, to avoid the "she/he" mix up.

  6. You should maintain at least some contact with your writer. Gently remind your writer about the letter as your deadline approaches. A brief email or voice message will be sufficient