A Letter of Recommendation

You’re applying for a job or the 4+1 program or a PhD program, and you’d like a letter of recommendation. That’s great! I’d probably be happy to help you. Here’s what to do:

1) Write to me and ask me. Please write to me at least 2 weeks before the deadline.

2) If I say yes, I’ll refer you to this page and ask you to submit the following:

  • A printout of your poly profile page (that is, your internal transcript) as a PDF, let me know if you have any trouble finding it.

  • As part of your application to an academic program, you’ll probably write a “statement of purpose.” If you share this with me, I’ll probably be able to write you a better letter.

  • A resumé or CV. It should probably include things like your senior project, relevant internships, and other employment.

  • A brief summary of what you’ve done with me. Include courses taken, research work we’ve done, etc. Go into detail (a “brag sheet”, if you will) on things that you did with me that I should be reminded of. Include anything from homeworks you did especially well on. You should be very generous to yourself here; I am always free to leave out something I don’t think is noteworthy, but you should certainly assume I don’t remember everything you did that is noteworthy. This is your chance to make sure your letter is not victimized by my poor memory.

3) Please feel free to check in with me repeatedly. Specifically, if you send emails to me with 2 weeks to go, one week to go, and two days to go, I promise I won’t be irritated. If you have the bandwidth to begin your subject line with [rec], it might be easier for me to find when I need it.

Many thanks to Shriram Krishnamurthi for large portions of this text.