PROF. FACCIOTTI’S GUIDELINES FOR LETTERS OF REFERENCE
Letters of reference are important elements in any graduate, job, or professional school application and I am generally very happy to write one on behalf of students I have taught or worked with. Your letters of reference represent a unique opportunity for someone other than yourself to communicate your best attributes to a potential employer or school. These letters can be very influential in the selection process and I therefore, take this task very seriously.
While I am always happy to help you reach your personal goals, I note that writing good, individually tailored letters of reference can be very time consuming. I get numerous requests for letters throughout the year, particularly during Fall Quarter, and would therefore appreciate some help from applicants to make the process easier.
First, I ask you to think hard about why you want me to write you a letter. What special things can I say that will set you apart from other people? If you can’t think of an answer to this question, you may want to think harder about whether I should be writing you a letter at all.
Second, if after all that you still would like me to write a letter on your behalf, please consider the following:
BEFORE YOU ASK ME FOR A LETTER:
- You must make your request for a letter a minimum of 3 weeks prior to when it is due. This is particularly true in Fall quarter when graduate school applications results in many requests. I will likely refuse to write a letter without appropriate lead time.
- I will request from you:
- a copy of your transcript
- a copy of your CV
- a copy of a written statement explaining what your goals for the letter are (e.g. why are you applying to graduate school?)
- a written explanation about why you’ve asked me for a letter (e.g. what is it that you think I can communicate about you?)
- a written statement/list telling me things about yourself that I might not know that would be relevant to how I will construct the letter
- When contacting me, please schedule a time to meet with me ASAP. I will not write letters unless I have a chance to review your materials and talk with you.
- Your communications with me regarding letter requests should be professional and well organized.
Finally, I will be very direct with you about the type of letter that I can write on your behalf. If I feel as though I can’t write you a positive letter, I will let you know. It will then be up to you to decide if you still want a letter from me.