Recommendation Letters

What's in a recommendation letter?

I typically write letters of recommendation for students in support of their application for internships, jobs, academic programs, and graduate school. A letter will usually answer these 3 questions about the student:

1) How well do I know the student? In what capacity?

2) How does this student compare to his or her peer group?

3) Why is this student a good fit for the [insert internship/job/academic program]?

Should I recommend you?

Given the details above, I usually can write you a strong letter of recommendation if you have one (or more of the following):

A) You have done well in my course (received an A or A-).

B) I know your academic/research interests well.

C) I know something about your abilities, skills, or interests that are not reflect on your resume/transcript that might be valuable to the position/school that you are applying to

Note that if you did not do well in my course BUT I know B) and C), I still might be able to write you a strong letter.

If you do not have A), B), or C), then it will be difficult for me to write you a strong letter of recommendation.

How to request a letter

To request a letter, add your information to this list and then email me. I will not complete your letter until you have sent me all the information that I request below.

Please request letters of recommendation 3 weeks before they are due. You are responsible for reminding me via email 3 days and 1 day before the recommendations are due. Please see below for which type of letter you need and email me the requirement documents.

Types of recommendations

Academic Recommendation (post-bachelor programs, master degrees)

    1. Send me your cv and unofficial transcript
    2. List which courses you took with me including the semester and year. Include your final grade.
    3. In one paragraph, state specifically why you want to study at a specific school or program. The more specific you are the better. Is there something unique about the school that you want to attend? Are there specific professors whose research attracts you? Simply stating, “I really want to study at “X” school because I think will be interesting” is not sufficient.
    4. Using bullet points, send me specific examples of your work with me (in class or on a thesis) that highlight your strengths. For example, what's something that you did with me that required your creativity? Intellectual curiosity? Team work?
    5. Include a copy of work you submitted to me (i.e. final paper/project).

Academic Recommendation (PhD programs)

    1. Please email me to set up an appointment to discuss (MUST meet at least 8 weeks before the letter is due).

Study-Abroad at Oberlin

    1. One paragraph statement on why you want to study abroad
    2. Transcript (unofficial)
    3. Courses that you plan on taking while abroad.

Internship/Job Recommendations

    1. Email me your cv, unofficial transcript
    2. List which courses you took with me including the semester and year. Include your final grade.
    3. In one paragraph, state why you think you would be a good fit for the internship or organization that you are applying for. The more specific the better.
    4. Using bullet points, send me specific examples of your work with me (in class or on a thesis) that highlight your strengths. For example, what's something that you did with me that required your creativity? Intellectual curiosity? Team work?
    5. Include a copy of work you submitted to me (i.e. final paper/project).