Letters of Recommendation
Sometime in the course of your academic career, whether for practicum, grad school, or jobs, you’ll need to ask for letters of recommendation from your professors. You want to ask people who know you and your work well, and, obviously, those from whom you think you might receive a positive evaluation.
Before asking for a recommendation, you should prepare materials for your referee. Have a print out of your transcript, a copy of your resume, and information about the place to which the reference will be sent (a program description is also helpful). It is especially good to have a bullet point sheet of some of your accomplishments at the college and in the community. You usually must prepare a personal statement when applying for graduate school. Include this in the packet for your referee (you might choose a faculty mentor or one of your referees to help you with this personal statement earlier on). If there is a special form that your referee must complete, always check the box that says you waive your right to view the reference and sign to acknowledge that. Confidential references are always taken more seriously, and, in some cases, they are the ones that are accepted.
When you approach your referee, do it in person. Do not ask at the end of a class or other time when the referee might be in a rush. Make an appointment to chat about the reason you’re asking for the reference or see your referee during office hours. Do NOT assume that your referee will agree to recommend you: ASK! If your referee suggests you ask someone else – do it. You don’t want a reference from someone who does not think she or he should recommend you. That person is doing a favor by being honest with you. Do yourself a favor and find another supporter who is enthusiastic about endorsing you.