Letters of Recommendation

Students request letters of recommendation from faculty to apply for internships, jobs, graduate school, field camp, grants, and other things. Letters of recommendation are perhaps the most important things for advancing your career.  Letters of recommendation take substantial time and care to write. Please help this process, and yourself, by following to these guidelines:

  1. Do your best. Good letters of recommendation cannot be written without your demonstrated long-term efforts.
  2. Do more than the minimum to get by. Good letters of recommendation need to mention things that make you stand out.
  3. Be a good person. Good letters of recommendation are based in part on personality and friendship.

These guidelines do not require top grades or other kinds of stellar performance. Grad schools and other programs do not necessarily require these either, and many of our average students do very well.  Indeed, our average students typically start out better prepared than most of their grad school peers.

Letters of recommendation are written with the whole history of the applicant in mind, including signs of improvement. When requesting a letter of recommendation, please include the following:

  1. All necessary forms properly filled out by you beforehand.
  2. Proper addresses and other instructions for the recommender.
  3. Appropriately addressed envelopes for all applications.
  4. A recent transcript, copies OK.
  5. A letter explaining your interests and goals pertinent to your application.
  6. All items clipped together and put in a package.
  7. A list of due dates for all of the applications.