Biology Department

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Getting Recommendations from Faculty

Chances are, whether you are headed into the job force or onto graduate study, you will need recommendations from a faculty member. This is part of our job, and we enjoy being able to support our students, so you shouldn’t feel hesitant about approaching us. You may want to consider the following suggestions and guidelines for asking faculty members for a recommendation:

  • Choose recommenders that know you the best. Faculty who know you only from a very large introductory course are less likely to have much useful to say about you than those who have taught in a more intimate setting or served as a research advisor.
  • Give your recommender plenty of time. Four weeks is usually a good rule of thumb, but if you’re in a jam, don’t hesitate to ask us if the deadline is sooner.
  • Ask your recommender about any particular requirements they may have.
  • Provide your recommender with written details regarding the recommendation. What is this for? Is there anything in particular you would like us to highlight? Where do we send the recommendation? In general, unless a recommendation must go back to you, we will prefer to send the recommendation directly to the school or employer.
  • A pre-addressed envelope is nice.
  • Make certain that you waive your right to see the recommendation. If you do not waive your right to review the recommendation, the school or employer may not take what we write seriously.