Congratulations! That you are asking for a letter of recommendation usually means you are setting your sights on a new adventure – academic, experiential, professional or exploratory. I applaud your setting out on this venture and will help and support you in your endeavors.
While this is not always possible, please try to give me as much advance notice as possible (4-6 weeks is ideal) so that I can write a thoughtful rather than a hasty letter for you. Please follow the directions below carefully:
1.If you would like me to mail hard copies of letters, please either leave on my door (OLRI 213) or (if you are away from campus) mail to me c/o the Biology department: 1) addressed envelopes and 2) any forms that need to accompany letters that are mailed. You do not need to provide postage.
2.If you would like me to email a letter or recommendation or upload it to a website, please provide all necessary details in an email clearly stating the deadline in the text of your email. If a recommendation service, university or other organization will contact me directly with a request on your behalf, it is helpful if you let me know in advance.
3.Finally and most importantly, send me an email with the following information in the text of the email (NOT AN ATTACHMENT). Increasingly students are asked to draft their own letters of recommendation. While this is not currently my practice, I ask you to reflect on the content and nature of the recommendation that you expect from me and to that end, ask you to answer the questions below. This will help me best understand what you would like this letter of recommendation to be rather than the generic “strong” or “solid” recommendation.
a.A brief description (1-2 sentence) of the program, course of study, internship, opportunity, job for which you are applying.
b.Courses you have taken with me, grades you were assigned in those courses.
c.All capacities in which you would like me to serve as your recommender — e.g. instructor, research supervisor, independent study adviser, internship superviser, health professions adviser, academic adviser, any special circumstances etc.
d.Your strengths, talents that make you a strong candidate for the opportunity you seek (be brief but precise here).
e.Challenges that you might perceive (e.g. a GPA that is lower than you think you need, lack of a particular kind of experience etc.)
f.Any particular aspect of our work together that you want me to discuss.
g.Anything else you would like me to know.
h.Last but not least, please paste the text of your most current draft of your letter of interest for this opportunity in the body of this email.
4. If you are on campus and would like to meet with me to discuss any of the above or anything else related to your job/school/internship application, please make an appointment to meet with me. I look forward to talking with you.