Requesting a Letter of Recommendation

Back by popular demand . . . from my old, defunct class blog.

I am happy to write letters of recommendation for students and former students who have impressed me with their intellect, creativity, motivation, leadership, or ability to surmount challenges.

Writing a good letter of recommendation takes some time—time for reflection on the student being recommended, time for a bit of research to refresh my memory of grades earned and/or assignments submitted, time for drafting and revising—so I require at least two weeks notice for writing letters of recommendation.

In addition to at least two weeks notice, I will need the following from you:

  1. Any official form the organization I am recommending you to wants recommenders to complete.
  2. The name by which I should refer to you (for example, I may know you as “Susan,” but Susan may be your middle name and the program you are applying to may know you as Lorraine).
  3. The deadline by which the letter is due.
  4. The address the letter should be sent to.
  5. A copy of your personal essay (if you are applying to a college or for a scholarship). I like to be able to emphasize something you’ve said in your essay in my letter.
  6. Your resume, if you have one. I like to be able to refer to items in your resume if I can.
  7. Information, in writing, about what you plan to major in, what your career goals are, and why you are applying to the college or job or whatever that you want me to recommend you for.

Please give me all of these items at once, if possible, paperclipped together or in a manila folder or attached to the same email.

I will put your letter on MSCD letterhead in a MSCD envelope and will send it via MSCD mail (unless the college/scholarship organization wants the letter in another format), so you do not need to provide envelopes or stamps.

And finally, do let me know if you were accepted to the college or were awarded the scholarship or got the job!

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