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Requesting a Letter of Recommendation

Helpful guidelines for asking me for a letter of recommendation for graduate school, an internship/research position, or a job.  Remember that I may be writing letters for many students at any time and have a busy schedule.  Advance notice, and following the points below, will increase the likelihood tha I write you a stand out letter of support.  USE THIS MATERIAL FOR REQUESTS: 



1.  Make sure that I know you well, meaning I have had you for more than one class and that you have created opportunities for me to know you as a strong student (e.g., did you do well in class with me?,  were you an active participant/talking to me outside of class?, did you do a strong individual or group project in the course?) OR that you have been one of my research assistants.  I need to be able to reference your course work with some detail, your ability to contribute to discussion/apply course concepts to activities and exams, something about your specific aptitude related to psychology, and personal characteristics/potential for success in the graduate program/position you are applying for.

2.  E-mail me with your request, making sure that you give me 4 or more weeks  notice (pending extenuating circumstances OR the likelihood that I already have a letter for you that I can easily revise) and wait for my responsePlease consider the timeliness of your request and how many letters you need, as with many professors, I may be writing many letters of recommendation and a strong letter takes time to compose and I try to tailor each letter for each specific graduate program or position (this takes time, particularly if I also have to fill out a paper form or on-line form for each program you apply to!). 

3.  If I agree to write a letter for you, please, in a folder, put a hard copy of any forms I need with all information already filled in as needed, addressed and stamped envelopes for letters that need to be mailed, a copy of your CV/resume with your GPA, related course work and other jobs/activities that I can review, and any brief statements about how the courses/work you did with me directly pertain to the letter I will write.  Place these in my mailbox in the main psychology office in the ISC (1137).

4.  If I am to submit the letters on-line, please make sure I have all of those links sent to me within one week of my agreeing to write your letter.  Please send all links to me at

5.  I will email you when the letters are submitted.

6.  Please always remember to ask me each time you need a letter.  Even if I have one on file for you, it still takes time to revise letters and submit them and I need to provide permission before you list me as a recommender.