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Letters of Recommendation

  • iconWho should write a letter of recommendation?

    • Have worked with you closely (e.g., a research supervisor).
    • Have relevant expertise (e.g., professors in the case of academic applications).
    • Have known you long enough to write with authority (e.g., academic advisor).
    • Are senior and well known (e.g., a departmental chair).
    • Have a positive opinion of you and your abilities.
    • Have a warm and supportive personal style.
  • iconHow should you approach a potential recommender?

    • Approach 3-4 potential recommenders for advising early in your college career.
    • Get to know them and let them get to know you. Discuss your larger interests and goals. Ask for their advice about potential projects, reading, courses of study, graduate programs. . . .
    • Ask your potential recommenders if they feel they know you well enough to write a strong letter of recommendation.
    • Give your recommender a minimum of three or four weeks to complete the recommendation.
    • Schedule an appointment with your recommenders to discuss the program; the requirements; your strengths, achievements, and qualifications; and suggest what each recommender might emphasize.
  • iconWhat information should you provide your recommender?

    • An unofficial copy of your academic transcript.
    • Your resume.
    • Copy of your personal statement.
    • Any guidelines or forms the graduate school provides for the recommender.
    • Deadline by which the letter is due.
    • A pre-addressed and stamped envelope for each letter.
    • Be sure to write your recommender a thank you note!
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