Are you planning to ask me to write you a letter of recommendation?
If so, please read this guideline.
First, unless I know you well enough (meaning you took my classes or worked under my supervision or worked with me for a good length of time) , I’d urge you to find someone else. If I don’t know you well, it’s hard for me to write anything other than a lukewarm letter, and, therefore, the letter will not be terribly useful for you. If I suggest that you find someone else, please do not take this personally. It’s for your best interest.
Second, give me the tools I need to write a strong, detailed, and thoughtful letter. Such tools include, but not limited to:
– your CV or resume
– the grades and titles/codes of the classes you took with me
– any (great) comments I have written on your exams or papers
– your overall GPA and your GPA in your major
– your personal statement
Third, please do allow for plenty of time to write these letters. I take letter writing seriously — no, I don’t write a generic letter. I have to write dozens (sometimes it’s over a hundred) of letter each year and they usually need to be out within the same few weeks.
Lastly, please be a considerate person by contacting your professor not only when you need a letter. What about, at least, drop us an email after we wrote you the letter(s) you needed? We would like to know what happened, whether you get the job, the award, are accepted at a graduate program, etc. Your news will motivate us to write better letters!