Getting Letters of Recommendation
(As always, follow basic etiquette if you first approach me about about getting a recommendation via email.)
If you would like me to write a letter of recommendation for you, please make an appointment to meet with me first, or stop by during office hours. Ideally, we would meet about 4 weeks before your application is due. (If I've already written letters for you before, then 2 weeks is plenty.) For this meeting, bring the following with you:
1. a summary of the different jobs, fellowships, or programs you're applying to, their addresses, and their deadlines,
2. your résumé or curriculum vitae,
3. a paper or an exam for the class you took with me, and which you feel exemplifies your work,
4. a copy of the application essay or personal statement, even if it's in draft form,
5. a transcript or academic summary,
6. the actual recommendation and waiver forms, and
7. an informal, confidential note about where you really want to go and why, how you're feeling about the process, what you're excited and what you're scared about, and what you think your strengths and weaknesses are. If there are extenuating circumstances you may want me to mention in the recommendation letters, write them down; we can work together on how you should approach the applications.
With these materials, I'll be able to write you a much stronger recommendation. Please note that I only write confidential letters of recommendation, which selection committees take more seriously than open ones.
Oh, and don't worry about postage or envelopes.