Following are instructions for students requesting letters of recommendation for a job,
scholarship, or university admission.
1. I only write letters for students who have taken my classes.
2. I will not write you a letter unless I feel I can write a good one. If you have done
poorly in my class, or if I hesitate or suggest that you find someone else to write your
letter, you would be best to think of other options.
3. If you need a letter sent in support of a scholarship or university application other than
NCU, you must request it at least 1 month before it is due. For job applications or
letters to be sent within NCU, please allow at least 3 weeks. If the letter you are
requesting is the first one I have written for you, you are advised to ask me earlier.
4. If you plan to apply for anything, begin early—well before you ask for a letter. If you
are not sure what to do, ask one of your professors. Last minute applications are a lot
of trouble and rarely successful.
5. When you request a letter, do it by email. If you are not a current student, please tell
me clearly who you are, reminding me when you attended NCU and what classes you
took from me.
6. Along with your request, I will need the following:
a list of classes you took from me and your grades. If you have kept any of
your final papers or my comment sheets, these would be useful too.
a list of all other courses you have taken/are taking at NCU, and your grades.
If your letter is in support of admission to another university program, I will
need to see a copy of your NCU transcript in English.
all available information concerning the jobs, scholarships, or programs of
study for which you are applying
all materials you are sending with your application, including writing samples,
statement of purpose, résumé, cv, etc. These items don’t have to be complete,
but they should be far enough along for me to know what to say about them in
If you have been out of school for a time, write me a brief note saying what
you have been doing and why you want to return to school, get a new job, etc.
7. If possible, we should meet and talk about the application, especially if it is for
8. After I have agreed to write you a letter, I will need a list of names and addresses
where I should send it. The list should include the date when each application is due.
I will also need stamped envelopes with the addressed written on them. Please use
English department envelopes and print my name above the department’s return
9. Fill out all forms to be included with your application carefully. All application
materials should be double checked for spelling, typos, and other errors.
10. Fill out all reference letter cover sheets and include them with their respective
envelopes. Do this carefully. If you misspell my name, I will not send it. If you
mixing them up, they will go to the wrong places. Also be sure to fill out and sign the
confidentiality waiver—meaning that you will not see the recommendation written for
you. Letters of recommendation mean very little if you do not guarantee that it is
written in confidence.
11. For this reason, all letters are confidential and will be sent by me directly to the
university, employer, etc. There are no exceptions. While you will not see the letter I
send, during our discussion of your application it is entirely appropriate for you to
suggest things you would like me to talk about. And once again, if I feel I can’t write
a good letter, I won’t write one at all.
12. As deadlines approach, remind me by email.
13. I will let you know when the letters have been sent. I also keep copies for future
reference and in case anything goes wrong.