Requesting A Recommendation
Perhaps the most important thing to be aware of is if I don't know who you are, then I can't write you an effective recommendation. If there is someone who knows you better, you should ask them instead.
Letters that consist primarily of "X took my course and did well" are not strong letters, and if you believe this is all I can say about you, then I'd suggest asking someone else.
If you are planning on asking me for a recommendation, you should come to office hours throughout the term so I can place your face to your name, answer (or ask) questions in lecture, and stand out by doing extra credit, asking for clarifications, etc.
If you've decided to ask me for a recommendation, please do the following things: Read this section carefully. The only reason I tend to turn down recommendations is that someone hasn't read these instructions.
- Make sure to ask me at least two weeks in advance. If you ask me only a few days before the deadline, I will likely be unable to write the recommendation for you.
- Set up an appointment with me using this website. Make sure to mention (1) exactly which classes you've taken/TAed with me, (2) the timeline on the recommendation, and (3) why you're asking me specifically.
- After we've met, if we've decided that I'm the right person to write a recommendation for you, I will need the following materials (via e-mail):
- Your resume/CV
- Your transcript
- A short description of who you are as a person outside of classes
- A short discussion of why you're applying to the job/program/school that I'm writing a recommendation for
- How the program(s) you're applying to advances your future goals
- What I, personally, can contribute to your application (to put it another way, why did you ask me and not someone else?)
- Deadlines and names of the schools/people I am writing a recommendation for