Writing Letters of Recommendation
Date: 12:40pm - 1:40pm PDT October 16 Location: J.R. Howard Hall 302
J.R. Howard Hall 302
At this time in the semester, many of us find ourselves busy not only with prepping, teaching, and grading, but also with writing letters of recommendation. Writing recommendation letters can be both a challenge and a reward to us as teachers/mentors. Of course we all know how important our letters of recommendation can be when determining whether a student gets admitted, wins an award, or secures a position. But it’s not always easy to decide whether to say ‘yes’ to a student’s request (or not), how best to describe a student as a candidate, and how to be efficient (as well as effective) in our letter writing process.
- How have you relied on letters of recommendation written on your behalf in your own career? If you found it difficult to ask for recommendations, what might have made that process easier?
- Do you have a policy (either stated or unstated) for writing letters of recommendation? What are you (or could you) be asking students for when they request these, in terms of the amount of time you need or the materials you wish to consult as you write?
- When necessary, how can we tell students “no” in a way that is clear and fair, and that could be helpful to them in the long run? How can we avoid bias in saying “no” as well as when writing a letter?
- What makes for a positive experience when writing letters of recommendation? What about when reading them? What do you do to make your letter writing process more efficient?
- What information about writing a letter of recommendation for L&C students would be helpful to you as a professional resource? (Maureen looks forward to hearing from faculty about this question as she considers how best to help those of us writing letters of recommendation for fellowship applicants.)