How to obtain letters of recommendationYou are ready to apply for graduate school or for a job, and you need some letters of recommendation. Here are some tips that should help you get the best possible letters from faculty at SFSU.
Choose faculty members who know you well: your thesis advisor, or someone
who has taught you, preferably in more than one class.
Ask each faculty member that you choose if they would be willing to write a letter for you. Allow plenty of time- faculty are busy people and they may be writing letters for several students.
It is the policy of this Dept. that letters of recommendation can and shall contain information such as gender, grades, exam scores, and other information normally considered confidential. By requesting that letter(s) of recommendation be sent, a student automatically consents to the disclosure of this information to all recipient(s) of the letter(s).
Prepare a package for each faculty member that contains the following:
- A list of the schools or employers for whom you are requesting letters, together with appropriate deadlines
- The forms that each school requires. If there is no special form for a school, please say so. Complete your part of each form. Don't make the faculty member write your name N times, where N may be large! (Not applicable for on-line forms.)
- A copy of your SFSU transcript
- A statement of purpose, if you are including one with your application, or a short statement of your goals
- If the letter is to a prospective employer, the resume that you have sent to that employer
- A stamped, addressed envelope for each letter (Not applicable for on-line forms)
- Your GRE score(s), if you have them
- Decide whether you want to sign the confidentiality waiver. Bear in mind that some schools place less weight on letters that are not confidential. If you decide not to sign, make sure that the faculty member knows this is not an omission, but is your choice. Some faculty will not write letters unless the waiver is signed- check with each person when you ask her/him to write the letter.
- Fill out the release form and give a copy to each person whom you are asking to write a letter. Without this, we will not be able to write a meaningful letter.