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.
      • This is where you should brag; I will filter/tone down if required.
      • You may have to highlight different things for different schools—study their application carefully (E.g., grad school LOR prompts for Stanford and Cornell).
    • 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:

स्वरूप जोशी
स्वरूप जोशी
Assistant Professor

Researcher, Educator, Developer