How to ask for a letter of recommendation:
Choose wisely. The recommender may come from someone outside academia (internship advisor, etc.), so think broadly about possible letter writters. Ask the recommender to write a GOOD letter. The office is willing to preview a letter for a letter writer should they need assistance/feedback.
Plan in ADVANCE.
Ideally, never give the person less than four weeks to complete the recommendation.
Request recommendations from those who know you, since they will be better equipped to write a compelling recommendation for you. Ask the recommender for the strongest possible letter.
Provide your recommender with the all of the essential information:
– the name of the fellowship you are applying to,
– some information about your fellowship program,
– instructions of how to submit their letter
– you may want to give your recommender an early deadline (to ensure the application will be
submitted on time).
Provide your recommender with your resume, a writing sample (from their class or the writing
sample you intend to submit with the application), and a list of your extracurricular activities. It
is important for your recommender to know about your academic accomplishments and
experiences to provide a more personalized letter. Your resume should be up-to-date. Include a
copy of your unofficial transcript and a lit of class(es) you have taken with your recommender.
Give your recommender an early deadline. You can let them know when you would like to pick
up their recommendation in order to send it as part of a complete application packet. Or you can
ask the recommender to send the recommendation electronically by a specific deadline.
Remember to follow up with your recommender! You might want to meet with the
recommender one week before the letter is due. Be sure to ask your recommender if they need
any additional information from you before they submit their letter. You might want to ask them
to email you once they submit their letter of recommendation.
Send your recommender a thank-you letter. A hand-written note is always a nice touch.
Let them know whether or not you were awarded the fellowship position.