I am more than happy to write letters of recommendation for students. However, just as students have the right to ask for letters, I have the option of refusing to write such letters. My main criteria for agreement are these:
These criteria ensure two things. First,
if a student has earned a high grade in my course(s), we both know that
I think highly of the student’s performance and
abilities. The second
restriction makes certain that I know a particular student well enough
to write more than an extremely generic letter that would not
ultimately serve to help secure acceptance to a graduate program.
(Students should seek recommendation letters only from professors who
have such respect and hopes for the individual applicant's academic
If I agree to write a recommendation, the student has several responsibilities:
All of the materials that you submit to
me should be placed together in a large envelope, with your name
written on the outside. While not a necessary part of your request, you might also include
other relevant information, such as citations for/copies of any writing
you have published, particularly high GRE scores you received, or the
personal/academic interests statement you will submit.
Please send me an e-mail reminder one week before the letter needs to be sent. In addition, I would appreciate it if you let me know where you get accepted.
Finally, realize that your request for a letter of recommendation represents your implicit permission for me to discuss otherwise confidential information concerning your performance in my course(s)--for example, the grade you received and the reasons why you earned it. I will provide an honest assessment of your academic skills.
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Last modified: September 7, 2006