Even before you begin your college career, the necessity of providing references and good recommendation letters is clearly apparent. They are required for entry to degree programs, employment positions, and funding opportunities. While a great reference does not necessarily guarantee employment or funding, a poor reference can impact your application in a negative way. It is therefore in your best interest to secure the top references and recommendation letters available to you.

Because references and recommendation letters can have such a profound result on the outcome of a student's application, I take the writing of recommendation letters very seriously. I receive many requests for letters for a variety of reasons (job candidates, conferences, Ph.D. programs, scholarships, etc.). As a result, I now have guidelines for students to follow for requesting a letter of recommendation.

If you are interested in asking me for recommendation letter, please read the following guidelines carefully:

Guidelines

  • You should have taken at least one course with me and received an A in that course. Students who have received a B will need to provide an especially persuasive argument as to why I should write a letter. Any students who received a grade lower than a B in one of my courses should consider other sources for a recommendation letter as I will not be able to provide a particularly strong recommendation letter.
  • Download and turn in the recommendation request form found here: NEIU Recommendation Request Form
  • Requests must be made at least three weeks in advance of the deadline for the letter. This allows me to take time to review the materials you have provided and to put significant thought into your letter. However, feel free to send me a reminder email a week before the letter is due if I have agreed to write the letter and I have not yet confirmed that it has been written and sent out.
  • Provide me with a copy of your most up-to-date CV or resume. Be sure to include information about your non-academic extra-curricular activities, academic or non-academic honors and awards, any employment experience, and other skills.
  • Provide me with a copy of your most recent grade transcript (at this point, this would include all courses up through the Spring 2016 semester). Make sure to highlight the course(s) you took from me, and the grade(s) that you received.
  • A brief (less than 1 page, single-spaced) written statement about your future goals, and why this application/letter is of importance to you. In addition, you should include any additional information or pertinent aspects that you would like me to address in your letter.
  • You should follow up with me regarding the status of your scholarship, graduate school application, job application, etc (i.e. did you get the scholarship, job, entry into the program...) otherwise I will not write a recommendation letter for you in the future.
  • Please note that I do not write generic recommendation letters. All letters are tailored to a specific student and application.

Additional Thoughts/Hints

After you have completed the application process, you should remember to send a short note of appreciation to all your references. The reference has not only put a significant amount of time and thought into writing your letter, but you may also need a reference or another letter from them at some point in the future.