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Sample Letters of Recommendation for Graduate School

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					Letters of Recommendations
For admission to Graduate School
By: Jocelyn VanNederynen
How important are letters of
Recommendation?
 They are required for almost every graduate school
  application and are a very important part of the application
  process.

 Grades and test scores factor most heavily; however, your
  letters of recommendation could be the deciding factor in
  the admission process.

 Strong letters of recommendations can strengthen your
  application and if there are deficiencies in your application,
  they can help to out weight them.
 How many letters of
 Recommendation do I need?

 Each institution you apply too will let you know
  how many letters are required.

 Generally most institutions will ask for 3 letters.


 It is recommended that you send only the amount
  of letters requested. Admission committees do not
  have the time to read extra letters.
Whom should I ask for a
recommendation?
 Someone who knows you             Someone who has
    well.                            academically evaluated you
   Someone with title of            in an upper-division class.
    “Professor.”                    Letters from family friends,
   Someone who is a professor       political figures, and the like
    at the school granting you a     usually are discouraged and
    BA degree.
                                     may be detrimental to your
   Someone who has earned the       acceptance.
    degree which you are
    seeking in your graduate
    work.
   Someone with an advanced
    degree who has supervised
    you in a job or internship
    aligned with the graduate
    program you are pursuing.
Best Letter Writers:
 Those that know you well and can provide an
  evaluation of your ability to perform and succeed at
  the graduate level.
 If you are planning to attend grad school, take every
  opportunity to get to know your professors:
   – Go to office hours.
   – Ask questions in class.
   – Seek advice about your career.
   – Do independent research or study with a professor
      whose recommendation you may want.
How do I approach potential letter
writers?
 Make a list of professors    Letters are strictly on a
  or supervisors who will       voluntary basis; a
  be your advocates.            faculty member may
 Set up an appointment         decline to write them.
  to discuss your request      The best approach is to
  in person.                    ask potential letter
 DO NOT make the               writers if they are
  request through email.        willing to write you a
 Be prepared to discuss
                                strong letter.
  your interest and            If the answer is no, ask
  reasons for attending         someone else.
  graduate school.
When should I approach letter
writers?
 Faculty is especially busy during the months of November
    and December.
   Be considerate of your letter writers’ time and workload,
    and approach them at least 2 months in advance of your
    request.
   A good time to approach is early fall of your senior year if
    you plan to attend immediately.
   Ask during the school year; sometimes professors are hard
    to find in the summer.
   If you plan to take time off ask for a letter of
    recommendation before you leave. Be sure to place it in a
    safe place. When ready to apply to graduate school, contact
    professor again, and ask them to update your letters.
What information do my letter
writers need to write good letters?
 You can help your letter writers
   by giving each of them a
                                      Recommendation
   portfolio that includes:           Forms:
    – Info on how to get in touch      – Applicant information
       with you.
    – What you would like                typed in.
       emphasized in each letter.      – Recommender’s name,
    – List of schools you are            title, contact info
       applying to and due dates.
                                         (telephone, fax,
    – Any other info that is
       relevant.                         address, ect.) typed in.
    – Open and close your note
       with thanks and
       acknowledgement.
Recommendation Forms
(cont.):
 Your unofficial transcripts (note courses you took
  with them).
 A draft of your statement of purpose.
 A copy of your best work in the course (with
  instructor comments on it), lab evaluations,
  projects, publications etc.
 Your Resume.
 Stamped and addressed envelopes to send letters
  and forms directly to the Career Center Letter
  Service or schools of your choice.
Do graduate schools care if letters
are confidential or not?
 Graduate schools in general prefer confidential
  letters.
 Admissions officially say that is displays more
  confidence on the part of the applicant if letters
  are confidential.
 “Confidential”- meaning you , the applicant
  cannot see the letter.
 As of August 1, 2001, the Letter Service is
  required to indicated on the letter if it is
  confidential or non-confidential.
Why should I use the Letter
Service at the Career Center?
 If you are applying to more than three
  schools, or you think you want your letters
  held for other opportunities in the future,
  you should plan to use the Letter Service.

 Your letter writers will write one letter and
  fill out one form, rather than filling out a
  different form for every school and
  fellowship program.
References:
 Career Center- Letters of Recommendation
     for Graduate school.
     http://career.berkeley.edu/Grad/Grad   Letter.stm   Pages
     1-4.
 Recommendation Form [sample]
     http://www.pcu.edu/departments/Behaviorals_Science/handbook/
     recommendation_form.htm    Pages 1-3.

				
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