Career Pathways

Recommendation letters

Letters of recommendation are often required for graduate programs, scholarships or fellowships.
While each program or school may have specific guidelines, most will require you to submit a number of letters of recommendation from professors, a supervisor or someone who can speak to your knowledge, skills, abilities and/or passion for the field.

When considering a person to ask to write a recommendation, make sure that the person

  • Knows you well enough to speak to your abilities
  • Knows your work
  • Is able to speak positively about you
  • Is able to write a letter properly

When asking for a recommendation

  • Don’t wait until the last minute to ask. Your reference may have several other letters to write. Ask for a recommendation six to eight weeks prior to the deadline
  • Find out if the program you’re applying to requires a form, a letter or both. If a form is required, make sure that you find it and give it to your recommender.
  • Provide the recommender with everything they need to write a letter (e.g., forms, resumes or transcripts) at one time.
  • Always write a thank-you note to the recommender.