Letters of Recommendation
I am generally happy to write letters of recommendation for students. If you
wish that I write you a letter of recommendation, please adhere to the
following guidelines. I ask these things both so that I can write you
a good letter, and also so that it doesn't take me an inordinate amount of time
to do so. [Note, this information was assimilated from similar pages
other math faculty have on this topic, primarily those of
Michael Orrison and Ravi Vakil].
First, e-mail me and ask me if I am willing to write you a letter.
If I agree, provide the following information to me (either e-mail
or hard copy) at least two weeks before the first letter is due.
- What is your name, year, and major?
- An unofficial copy of your transcript.
- For what are you applying (e.g. scholarship, summer research
experience, grad school)? List the programs, the
due dates, and how the letter should be sent (e-mail or snail mail).
- If letters need to be sent in the snail mail, please provide
addressed envelopes (WFU students do not need not provide stamps).
- A copy of everything you will submit with your application
(personal statements, answers to questions on the application, etc).
Very good drafts will do in a pinch.
- How long have I known you (years and months),
and what is my relationship with you (instructor, research advisor, etc.)?
For what classes have I had you, and what final grades did I assign you,
and how did you distinguish yourself in my classes?
- How would you describe yourself? What are your strengths? What are your
weaknesses? This question is quite important, the more details you can
provide, the better.
- What are some of your academic and nonacademic accomplishments?
- What makes me particularly qualified to write a letter for you?
What makes you particularly qualified for this position/honor/award?
- What are your long term goals and will this position/honor/award
help? [If you haven't decided on your long term goals, and this position/honor/award might help direct this decision, you should say so].
- Is there anything else I should know?
Please send me e-mail reminders as the deadlines approach. When I send out
one of your letters, I will inform you. This means that if you haven't heard
from me, your letters haven't been sent!
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