Reference and Recommendation Letter Requests

Many students ask me to be a reference for them or to write a letter of recommendation. I am generally very happy to recommend outstanding students that have worked with me or been in my classes. For me to be a reference or write a letter you must meet one of the following two criteria:

  • You were in a class of mine and received grade that is exceptional.
  • You worked with me outside of class for a substantial amount of time and did exceptional work.

If you think you meet one of the above criteria you need to then send me an email requesting to list me as a reference or requesting to write a letter of recommendation before you apply to any positions. If I decide you meet my subjective criteria and I am able to write a strong letter for you, then you will need to provide me with more information. You should send another email at least two weeks before the earliest deadline or expected phone call. This email must contain the following:

  1. Whether the request is to be a reference or to write a letter of recommendation.
  2. A list of all schools or companies you want to list me as a reference/recommender.
  3. Expected timeline that anyone may call or write me for the reference.
  4. Deadline dates for each letter submission request.
  5. A copy of your current resume or CV.
  6. A statement (bullet form is typically ideal) listing things that you think I would be best in position to comment on about you and your work that is relevant for the position.
  7. Instructions for submitting the recommendation in the simplest possible form (make it easy for me!).

I will respond to the email and let you know if I am willing to fulfill your request. I may or may not agree to your request depending on my work load and relationship with you. Any new request needs to follow steps 1-7 even if you have sent prior requests.

If you are applying to numerous schools and want recommendation letters for each I will agree to an initial number of letters and will not accept additional schools for that application season. You must prepare a list of all schools before making your request to me. Deadlines for all of the schools may vary. I will not continuously send letters over the months long application period. You need to arrange the requests from the schools into a minimal number of batches to make it as easy for me as possible.

I will not provide you with a copy of the recommendation letter and will not submit one unless you have waived your right to see the letter. You must provide a method for me to directly provide the letter to the requester. I will not send the letter through you to the requester.