For Students

Directions for Letters of Recommendation

I am always happy to write a letter for outstanding students who I have taught in class. “Outstanding” does not necessarily mean students who earned an A. Attendance, participation, and humor are just as important, as is treating the classroom experience with respect. Academic integrity and professionalism also things that matter a lot to me. I won’t write a letter for someone who falls short on these!

Keep in mind that writing a letter is time-consuming. To ensure that your letters get submitted on time, please note the following:

  • I require at least one month’s notice before letters are due. Don’t even ask for a letter with less than a month’s notice.
    • Fair warning: if you claim to be in desperate need of a letter with less than one month before it is due, I’ll probably put something about poor time management in the letter!
  • Add the tag [LETREF] to the subject line of your email requesting a letter or reference. Otherwise I may ignore your email.
  • You will have to send me relevant materials, such as your CV and statement of purpose.
  • I will also ask you to send me an organized list of the programs or jobs to which you are applying, including due dates and contact information.
  • To help me write your letter, you must send me a 1-2 page document explaining why I would be a good letter-writer for you. Please detail how you contributed to my class, what you learned from me, and why you think the material you learned in my class will be useful for your future endeavors.
    • Graduate programs often request that letter-writers comment upon your writing skills. This document will help me to better incorporate an assessment of your writing skills in my letter.

Most importantly, let me know how it goes. I am always interested to hear the outcome of your applications and am looking forward to updates!