Letters of Recommendation
(Modified from suggestions due to Michael Orrison at Harvey Mudd College and William Velez at the University of Arizona.)
If you are asking me to write a letter of recommendation for you, please consider the following general principles:
If possible, at least two weeks before the first letter is
e-mail me a copy of your resume and/or personal statement and/or
your answers to the following questions unless you are sure I already
know them (the more details the better):
is most appropriate to ask for letters from instructors who know your
work well, through both written submissions and in-person questions and
conversations, and in whose class you did well.
- Minimize the amount of work needed to write the letter by providing
- two weeks advance notice for the letter to be written if at all possible,
- any required forms,
- as much useful background information about you as possible (some specific suggestions appear below), and
addresses or necessary web site addresses for electronic letters,
and/or addressed envelopes for hard copy letters (ask in PS 318
for a white Math Department envelope if it is to be sent
somewhere else off campus, or for a blue campus envelope if it is to be
sent somewhere on
Please send me e-mail reminders as deadlines approach, and feel free
to chat with me about other ways you can make the letter writing
process go as smoothly as possible for you and your letter writers.
Good luck and please follow up and let me know the outcome!
- What is your name, year, and major?
- For what are you applying? (scholarship, student teaching, tutoring or other job, graduate school,
- List the programs to which you are applying, together with the deadline by which my letter is due.
How long have I known you, and what is my relationship(s) to you?
(instructor, advisor, etc.) Have you graded or tutored for me? If
so, for what class(es) and when? Have you served in the Math/CS
Club? If so, in what capacity and for how long?
- What class(es) have you taken from me, what final grade(s) did you earn, and how did you distinguish yourself in my
- How would you describe yourself?
- What are some of your academic accomplishments?
- What are some of your nonacademic accomplishments?
- What makes me particularly qualified to write a letter for you?
- What qualities that you possess are especially important for this
position/honor/award or what makes you particularly qualified for it?
- What are your long term goals and will this position/honor/award
help? If so, how?
- Additional comments or anything else I should know (other mathematical or other types of experience, interesting jobs,