Letters of Recommendation
I am happy to be a reference or write letters of recommendation for students.
The more contact you have had with me, and the closest I got to know you and your work, the more I will be able to write. Recommendation letters are a very important part of the graduate school application process, and they are more impactful when they are strong and personal. Because I want you to have the most compelling application possible, I give reference letters to students who have taken at least one of my seminar courses.
Please send me an email with the following information: (ii) deadlines/name of the programs/universities you are applying for, (iii) details of what I should mention (if you developed a research project within one or more of my courses, please share details of your project with me [topic you worked on, semester/year when you took the course, etc), and (iv) the documents you will submit with your application (CV, transcript, cover letter, etc).
Please, remind me to submit your reference two days before the deadline.
Get to know your professors. The best letters will come from those who know you and your work best. It can be hard to get to know professors personally at a large school; try to make this happen from an early stage by going to office hours, participating in class, and participating in research opportunities. Simply getting a good mark in a course does not make for a particularly strong letter; this can already be seen from your transcript. Letters of recommendation can help show how you stand out from other students.
Be specific! It is extremely helpful if you highlight specific things you would like your referee to include in the letter. For example, if you remember getting good feedback on a course project, remind them of this! It may feel like this is bragging, but the professor may not remember otherwise, and they will be happy you reminded them.
Ask well in advance. Letters can take a long time to write; professors will vary in how much time they require, but two weeks before the deadline is probably a reasonable rule of thumb.