Seeking Letters of Recommendation
Writing letters recommending students to graduate schools, fellowships, internships, and such is a part of my academic job.
Advice like this is neither new nor unique. I am building on more detailed posts from more experienced academicians and my personal experience as a reader of several recommendation letters.
- You should have worked with me on a project to get a letter from me. Please read this post to approach me for a project.
- This is necessary but not sufficient.
- While you are working with me, note any interesting interactions or significant contributions to the project. (See the point about evidence below.)
- Plan ahead: give me at least a month to work on your letter before your earliest deadline.
- Ask in person first; in this conversation, be prepared to tell me your long-term plans and how your work with me is relevant to your application.
- Once I agree to write a letter for you, get the school’s portal to send me a link to upload your letter. Waive your right to read the letter.
- Send me:
- Your CV
- SOP for that school
- Summary of the work you have done with me
- Summary of what you want me to highlight in a letter.
- Provide evidence for the things you want me to talk about. For example, if I am stating you are “receptive to constructive criticism,” tell me about an instance where you improved your work after receiving critical feedback.
Some useful links:
- Dr. Long’s Twitter thread on the importance of listing evidence about the candidate’s qualities.
- Dr. Krishnamurthi’s Advice to Graduate School Recommendation Letter Writers. Knowing what I am expected to write will help you approach me with the right information.