Should you ask me to write a letter on your behalf?
Writing enthusiastic letters for excellent current and former students is a pleasure, a part of my job, and also good karma. If you are contemplating asking me to write a letter recommending you, consider the sorts of things I typically write, as they pertain to your performance in my class(es).
What do I usually include in recommendation letters?
- the grade a student earned in my course (e.g. Hildegard got an A)
- a bit of comparative data to help contextualize the grade (e.g. Hildegard received the fifth highest grade out of two sections of 70 students)
- specific details about the student's work (e.g. discussion of the research paper on the formation of national identity in Jordan that Hildegard wrote for my class)
- impressive traits in the student (e.g. Hildegard is unusually mature for a freshman, and takes seriously the questions asked by her classmates)
Please approach me with recommendation letter requests at least TWO WEEKS in advance. I will need the following materials so that I can write the best possible letter for you:
- your resume (standard 1-pager is fine)
- personal statement or cover letter, which may be in draft form -- this shows me how you are representing yourself and enables me to complement your self-presentation
- any required forms, with your part completed
- address/fax/website to which I should send the letter
- DUE DATE for letter
- optional and helpful: paper you wrote for my class, with my comments
You may send the above materials to me via e-mail or regular mail. Good luck with your application, and keep me posted!