Requested information for letters of recommendation and other references

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Note: If you ask me to write you a letter of recommendation or to serve as a reference, you are implicitly granting me permission to talk to people about your grades and academic performance.

I've found that a surprising number of students ask me to write letters of recommendation or to serve as a reference for them, even though they may have only taken one course with me, and that may have been an introductory or very large course. (At Grinnell, I don't have really large courses, but at Dartmouth some courses had more than ninety students.) In order to write the strongest possible letter of recommendation or successfully discuss a student with a recruiter, I find that it helps if my students provide me with the following information.

Your note should include:

In some cases, I write recommendations for students who have what I'd call "hiccups" in their history (e.g., low grades). It helps if we discuss those and consider whether and you'd like me to address them.

The final questions I took verbatim from Freda's form. While they are a little odd, we've found the answers students give are often both useful and enlightening.

Copyright © 2017--20 Samuel A. Rebelsky.

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Samuel A. Rebelsky