Letter of Recommendation
Information for Students Seeking Recommendation Letters
The psychology faculty want to be able to write the strongest, most informed letter of recommendation possible. We therefore need students seeking letters of all kinds (including letters for graduate school, jobs, internships, study abroad programs, residence life, honor societies, etc.) to prepare an information sheet that includes pertinent information about your background, grades, honors, and interests.
In addition to following the below instructions carefully you should also consult this webpage regarding advice on letters of recommendation: Advice from the Social Psychology network
The information sheet should include (in a neatly typed page or two) the following information:
- your name, address, and phone number
- your overall GPA as well as your GPA in your major (plus expected graduate date)
- any honors and awards that you have received; briefly (i.e., in a few words) describe any that are not obvious
- organizations/activities (including service or social organizations, student government, other campus activities); again, briefly describe
- any employment or job experience, including paid work as well as volunteer work and internships; include a brief description of your duties and/or responsibilities
- your hobbies and interests (i.e., what you do in your spare time)
- a brief description of your future goals and plans
- what you consider to be your primary strengths and skills
- specific information about each program/job you are applying for; this is absolutely critical! In addition to due dates and a description of the program, state very specifically why you are interested in the program and why you make a good candidate (e.g., if you are going abroad, explain why you want to go to that particular country, what traits you have that make you qualified, and what you expect to get out of your trip)
- a list of courses you have taken from the professor (important: include semester, year, and grade)
You should provide the professor with a neat and organized package containing all the information needed. This makes a good impression and makes the job easier for the professor.
- Include the information sheet described above.
- Fill out as much information on required forms as you can. Make sure you sign the form if required.
- Include a pre-addressed envelope for each letter -- regardless of whether the letter is being sent through campus mail or the U.S. mail -- with postage affixed if the letter is being sent via U.S. mail. If there are graduate school letters that should be returned to you in a sealed envelope, be sure to write your name and the school's name on the outside of each envelope.
Because writing good letters of recommendation takes time, please be sure to give professors at least 2 weeks advance notice before the recommendation is due. Also it is much easier for the professor if you provide ONE organized package instead of supplying forms, envelopes and pieces of paper on many seperate occasions.
Finally, waive your rights to read the letter or form. Recipients place more credence on letters which are not read by students. If you are in doubt about the kind of recommendation the referee will write, ask.