First, please ask if we would write you a letter of recommendation and tell us the deadline. We ask that you let us know at least two weeks before the deadline. We may still grant your last-minute request but we would not be able to write a strong letter. Next, help us help you by giving us the items below. They are not mandatory, but they’ll let us write you a stronger letter.

  1. Please tell us what sort(s) of program, position, or occupation for which you are applying.
  2. A list of courses with your professor that includes when you took each course and any projects you did for that course.
  3. A transcript or list of courses and grades relevant to the program or job for which you’re applying (interpret “relevant” in a broad sense)…  
  4. A list of co-curricular and extracurricular activities, honors, awards, or scholarship relevant to your application.
  5. A list of foreign and inter-cultural experiences, such as OCS, overseas or domestic volunteering, and homestays.
  6. A résumé, if you have one.  
  7. A draft of your application essay, if you have one, so we can better coordinate our letter to your expressed purposes.
  8. A brief description of what you think should be included in the letter. We won’t feel obligated to mention everything, but we can’t include it if we don’t know about it. We recommend that you think about these questions:
    • What are your short- and long-term academic (or career) goals? How does this program, position or occupation fit or enhance your goals?
    • What aspects of your background (both academic and personal), abilities and experience do you feel justify recommending you for this position?
  9. Any materials needed to submit the recommendation letters. If you are applying to a graduate school that uses paper-based letters, be sure to provide us with the appropriate forms. For a job application, you might need to supply an email or postal address. If we need to send anything by postal mail, please supply addressed and stamped envelopes, too.
  10. A summary page listing all of the places you’d like us to send a letter, what we need to do, and when the deadlines are. Sorting these in order of deadline makes it easy for us to get the earliest ones out first.

Finally, here’s your end of the bargain: After you’ve heard back, tell us how things turned out. This helps us know how to advise future students.

Thanks and good luck!