Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Requesting Letters of Recommendation

When you approach a person to ask for a letter of recommendation, ideally, you ask someone who knows you well.

When you ask for a letter, be prepared to remind the person of your name, the class and semester you shared, and a sentence or two about your plans. If you can, try to connect something positive that happened in class to help the person remember.

You can ask in person or in email. 

Don't be upset if the person declines. Good letters of recommendation are detailed and personal. If the person you ask does not feel like they can write a detailed, personal letter, then declining is in your best interest. You do not want a vague letter that does not offer much in the way of details.  
TIP: By providing details about yourself and how the person knows you when you ask for the recommendation, you are making a case for the person to say YES to your request. Your details will help them realize how much they know about you. Requests that come in without any details may lead to No. 
This is the first step. Once the person agrees, you have some more work to do. I’ll go over that on Friday.

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