Letters of Recommendation Policy

Thank you for considering me as a person whose letter of recommendation or reference you would like to have to advance your career in either academia or industry. In order for me to write you a strong letter of recommendation, I have formulated a series of guidelines and document requirements that aide in the letter writing process. Please note, as I am still a graduate student who acts as an instructor, the weight of my letter of recommendation may be viewed significantly less than that of an established tenure-track professor.

Guidelines

Prior to agreeing to write a letter of recommendation, I need to be able to say that I know you well. These guidelines characterize how well I know you. When trying to see how well I know you, keep in mind that the more positive your answers are the stronger and more specific your letter of recommendation will be.

  1. Frequency of engagement emphasizes the number of encounters I can draw on when writing the letter of recommendation. Strong letters of recommendation come through multiple engagements, e.g:
    • Did you visit my OHs frequently?
    • Ask well-phrased questions during class?
    • How often did we talk about your group’s final project?
      • Was it in a positive light?
  2. Duration of engagement describes how long we’ve known each other. For instance, have I only known you one semester or did you take more than one course with me?
    • Please note that I will only write a letter of recommendation based on past accomplishments.
    • That is to say, if you are taking a course in the same semester that you need your letter of recommendation, I will not be able to write it.
  3. Type of engagement describes how we were connected. Was I either your: instructor, research mentor, or activity leader?

If we have had no memorable encounters and you still need a letter of recommendation or reference, the best that I will be able to provide is a statement that describes your academic performance in the course. In which case, I would strongly suggest that you consider speaking with another person for a letter of recommendation or reference.

Document Requirements

When sending a request for a letter of recommendation or reference, please make sure that the following documents are attached:

  1. Headshot Photo
    • Helpful to jog my memory about the number of times we interacted during office hours or the course.
  2. CV or Resume
    • List of activities, accomplishments, and skills that you have.
  3. Unofficial transcripts
    • Provides an overview of the kinds of coursework and the quality of knowledge obtained.
    • Please make sure to include all transcripts for each University that you attended.
  4. Any application material prepared such as a personal/research statement, project portfolios, or certification tests.
    • These materials allow me to reference moments that you would like to standout to the admissions committee or industry recruiters.
  5. If Academia, please provide an overview of the Universities that you have applied to and their corresponding due dates for letters of recommendation.
    • Please supply a list that contains the following information for each letter:
      • University;
      • Program;
      • Degree Level; and,
      • Due Date
  6. If Industry, please submit the list of companies that you have applied to.
    • Please make sure that the list contains the following information:
      • Company Name;
      • Position Name;
      • Position Duties; and,
      • Date of Application

With this being said, please take note:

  1. Minimum turnaround time for letters of recommendation is 2 weeks.
  2. If I do not have your permissions to talk with a recruiter, I will decline to act as a reference.
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