Letters of Recommendation

Requirements for requesting letters of recommendation

Request a letter in person or by e-mail at least 3 weeks prior to your deadline.  At this point describe clearly for what it is you are applying. You will receive the best letter if you allow more leadtime and carefully assemble your materials. The professors are interested in supporting you in the process and the letters can play an important role.

If you don’t submit your request at least 3 weeks prior to your deadline, or if you do not provide necessary information, your request may be turned down. 

Once the faculty member agrees to write the letter, at least two weeks prior to the deadline you must provide the following:

  1. A stamped and addressed envelope for each letter you want sent out.
  2. The contact person and the address to which materials should be sent.Please use your recommender’s formal name and title.
  3. A clear description of the job, school, or program for which you are applying. Please do not direct faculty to a website.
  4. A current resume/cv.
  5. A one -page statement about your qualifications for the particular position. In a sense you are writing a letter for yourself: describing the reason you would be the ideal candidate, and what courses or work you have already completed which have prepared you for the internship.  Address personal qualities mentioned in the position’s description.
    Information to Include:

    Email address and phone number.
    Class (eg, 2009)
    Major, Minors and/or other Concentrations
    Summer experience and/or experience since graduation (be specific)
    Work experiences
    Extra-curricular activities? Membership or leadership role?
    What classes have you taken from the professor? How did you do? Do you think your work for the course was characteristic of your work generally? If you have a record of the topics of the papers you wrote for the course(s) and the comments, please include.
    Please list the deadlines for the recommendations you’re asking the professor to write. A specific date is required.
    In some cases the application is all online. If a hard copy is not needed, then the envelope is unnecessary

The faculty strongly urges you to sign a waiver to waive your legal rights to examine what is written. The professor may not object to sharing his or her evaluation with you but if you don’t sign the waiver, the institution receiving your application and recommendation may wonder whether an opinion was made falsely positive because the professor did not feel free to be frank. If you ask that a letter be written rather than supplying a form to be completed, you may provide a separate signed waiver to be attached to the letter. “In accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (The Buckley Amendment), I hereby waive my right to review this letter. Sign and date it.

Do not forget to thank the professor for writing the letter of recommendation. Remember to write them to let them know if you were accepted for the position.