Letters of Recommendation are one of the most important elements for opportunities outside the classroom-study abroad, internships, jobs, fellowships, internal grants or graduate school admittance. They provide important information about your intellectual abilities and give a well-rounded picture of you as a person. Therefore, I take them seriously and spend a lot of time working on each letter. Letters of Recommendation also tend to be due around the same time and I am rarely working on only one letter during that time. If you think that you would like me to write you a letter or recommendation, please follow these steps:
1. READ and PREPARE: Please take time to read through this page, and make sure you can get me the requested materials at least THREE weeks prior to the deadline of the first letter that you need.
2. EMAIL: Please send me an email with your recommendation request. This email should contain a) description of the opportunity b) what is required of me as a writer. If this letter is to support a request to fund UG research then I also need c) a research proposal.
I will let you know that I can either write a strong letter, an average letter, or a weak letter. A strong letter can provide specific examples of your knowledge, skills and abilities. I will also be able to address your analytical and writing abilities relative to the students I have encountered over the course of my career. For international opportunities, I will be able to address questions related to your ability to work in settings with limited resources and/or under uncertainty. An average letter will highlight your strengths and the context in which I have observed them, but may indicate that I have worked with you in a limited capacity outside of the classroom environment. A weak letter indicates that I don't know you well enough to provide sufficient information for a letter, or that I cannot strongly endorse you for a specific opportunity.
Please be aware that these categories do not correlate to the grade you received in my class as I consider a number of factors including effort, enthusiasm, maturity, and professionalism into the letters that I write.
3. MATERIALS: If you decide you still want me to write a letter, you will need to send the following documents attached to a single email, or in a folder of paper copies delivered to my office or mailbox in Adair Hall. The more clearly you present this information, the more likely I am to avoid making any mistakes that will slow down the process.
A. COVER SHEET Please prepare a cover sheet that includes the following information:
1. The requested format-is there a form that must be completed in addition to a letter? 2. Deadline by which the organization must receive my letter 3. Address the letter is to be sent and how it is best to send it (ie. by mail, email, in person pick up) 4. A short summary of the specific opportunity to which you are applying
B. INFORMATION SHEET FOR A LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION Please complete the 'Information Sheet for a Letter of Recommendation'. The best letters provide clear evidence and specific examples to support the recommendation. Therefore, I need to know how you perceive your strengths, why you think you are a good fit for the opportunity, and how you distinguish yourself from other applicants.
C. RESUME Attach a standard resume
D. MATERIALS YOU ARE SUBMITTING Please send any draft versions of the materials you are submitting-cover letters, research aims, statements of interest, writing samples, etc. This is critical if you are applying for UG research support. I cannot write a letter that recommends funding for your research project if that project has not been clearly articulated.
4. EMAIL: Please send me a reminder email one week before the deadline and 48 hours before the deadline. I will send you an email confirmation once I have submitted the letter.
5. FOLLOW UP: Please follow up with me and let me know if you were successful. If you are traveling as a result of this opportunity please send me a postcard. It is always fun to get mail with a fun picture on the front:
William and Mary Kinesiology and Health Sciences Department Carrie Dolan PO Box 8795 Williamsburg, VA 23187
6. ADDITIONAL REFERENCES: Once I have completed one letter of reference for you it is easier for me to adapt to future opportunities. It is still helpful for me to have the information outlined above, but I only need 2 WEEKS of advance notice.
Thanks! Settle, J. (2018, August 20). Rec Letters. http://jsettle.people.wm.edu/rec-letters.html