Requesting Letters Of Recommendation

Letters of Recommendation

 Letter writing is one of the many ways that faculty support students.  It is a time co0nsuming process but most faculty take this task very seriously and want to provide the best possible letter for you.  The better we know a student and the position for which they are applying, the better the letter becomes.  Here are some tips:

Early on:

  • Visit the Piper Center, what can they tell you about the application process?
  • Ask questions, what does a professor know about a certain program that interests you?
  • Plan ahead and know your deadlines

Talking to professors:

  • Choose people who know you well enough to write about you, if the first one-on-one conversation with the professor is a request for a letter, you may not be asking the right professor
  • Give potential recommenders the opportunity to say “no” by asking whether or not they feel comfortable writing you a strong reference.

Once you have a letter-writer:

  • Complete the appropriate FERPA forms found on SIS.
  • Be prepared to provide any other materials that your recommenders request in order for them to produce the best possible letter; these often include a resume, personal statement, and/or a degree audit copy.
  • Give your recommenders their requested time (usually 2-3 weeks) after receipt of all pertinent information to submit your LORs on time.
  • You need to make every effort to have all program information compiled for your recommenders together at one time. We realize that deadlines may range from January to April, but it is challenging for us to have program information trickling in from a student. This may seem trivial to you, but please remember that faculty are often writing for so many people that they do not have the extra time to keep returning to one student over and over again.
  • The best thank-you a recommender can receive is feedback.  Did you get accepted?  Even if you did not get good news the recommender likes to know.  Check back with the recommender after the experience!