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Requesting Letters of Recommendation

Tips for Requesting Letters of Recommendation

Faculty members are usually happy to write letters of recommendation, provided the students who request them observe a few common courtesies.

  1. You should get to know professors from whom you expect to request a letter of recommendation. Stop by office hours and introduce yourself, and otherwise try to distinguish yourself in their classes. Not only does this help a faculty member know who you are, but it also enables them to write more persuasively on your behalf. A detailed letter of recommendation indicates to its recipient that you have made a genuine favorable impression on the faculty member writing the letter.
  2. Please ask professors if they are willing to write on your behalf a MINIMUM of two weeks before the letter is due, even if they have written for you before. Do not expect them to drop all other obligations to prioritize your needs.
  3. When asking for a recommendation via email be sure to clearly indicate the nature of your request in your subject line and to address faculty in a courteous and respectful manner.

Once a professor has agreed to write on your behalf, she will require the following: