Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation are the most important part of any application package. This is the reviewers only way to see if you are as good as you look from your statistics. The faculty who write your letters of recommendation can give insight into your ability to do research and what kind of student you are. You need to have good recommendation letters, glowing would be even better. In order to get the letters you need, you will need to select faculty who know you. Good choices would be someone who has:
- Advised your Undergraduate Research
- Taught two or more of your classes
- Been your Mentor
- Taught an upper level course
- Any combination of the above
Asking for a Letter of Recommendation
You will also need to know how to ask for a letter of recommendation. Do not leave a form in their departmental mailbox with a Post-It attached asking for this letter in two days. You will need to meet with the faculty member and ask if they could write a good letter for you. Make sure you ask early enough that they can write the letter in addition to their many other commitments. Two or three weeks is the minimum time between when you drop off the information and the deadline. Provide the professor with your resume, transcript and any other information which may be useful while writing.
Do not be afraid to call as a friendly reminder about one week before the deadline. Ask if they need any more information? Keep in mind that too many phone calls could be irritating, but one could be a welcome reminder.