“Professor! Could you write me a letter of recommendation?”
“I’m sorry, do I know you?”
Nightmare fuel, right? Here are some tips to ensure this scenario isn’t one you encounter.
- It’s never too early to begin to build relationships with faculty members.
Get to know your professors in class. Utilize their office hours – and not just to stop by and say hello. Show them that you are taking responsibility for coursework, ask pertinent questions for furthering your knowledge of the material, and ask their expert opinion on making the most of things.
- Make it easy for them to write a strong letter.
Beyond your performance in class and scattered conversations, how much does your professor really know about your aspirations and what you’ve done in pursuit of them? Submitting a resume with your request including all pertinent information will help them provide salient details for an impressive letter of recommendation. This should include name, contact information, headshot, clear instructions for compilation and submission of the letter, any matching forms, academic record, and brief version of what a personal statement for your final application may look like, outlining your motivations and activities.
- Make it easy for them to submit the letter in a timely fashion.
Include clear instructions for submitting the letter. They should know to whom to address the letter, whether to postal mail or submit online, deadlines for submission, etc. In the event that you are asking early (or for a possible later application), it may behoove you to create an account with an online distribution center such as Interfolio (Interfolio.com).
These tips and many more are outlined in detail on the prehealth, pregrad, and prelaw websites.
University Career Services