Advising

Letters of Recommendation

  1. Arrange to meet with the faculty member / prospective letter writer in person, explaining in an email, by phone, or face-to-face that you would like to get together to discuss your plans in "x" and the possibility of a letter of recommendation. Remind the individual how you know him/her (faculty teach many, many students each semester, so a little memory jog doesn't hurt), how he/she helped you in ways that are related to your future plans, why you feel he/she might be able to speak on your regard, etc.
  2. Indicate what you will bring with you to the meeting. Suggested materials include the following: a resume or cv, a personal statement/statement of intent/short paragraph explaining why you want to apply, a list of relevant courses or other activities not included on your resume, unofficial transcripts, sample papers/projects from relevant courses, pamphlets or prints outs on the programs you are applying to, etc. Of course, exactly what you bring and what the letter writer might find useful depends on the position/opportunity for which you are applying. It's not a bad idea to ask directly what might be helpful to the letter writer.
  3. Take notes during the meeting and come prepared to ask what suggestions he/she might have. Whether it is graduate school, an internship, study abroad, or a job, the position for which you are applying is, ostensibly, related to the person's field. In other words, he/she knows something about that field and the application process.
  4. Follow up with an email indicating the deadlines and other requirements for each application (for example, many graduate schools require online submissions).
  5. Thank the person. Once all is said and done, a brief email or note is always a good idea.

What is Humanistic Studies? What can I do with that?