CSD Department Policy: Letters of Reference
Students may request letters of reference for a number of reasons to include:
- prospective employment
- graduate school applications
- scholarship/grant applications.
To help us accommodate your requests for recommendations, we ask that you follow these guidelines when asking for letters of reference.
- Choose carefully. Consider how well the faculty member knows your work. The strength of the recommendation will be based in part on the faculty member's familiarity with you and your work. Before you ask for a recommendation, take time to get to know your faculty members and let us get to know you. Visit us during office hours. Participate in class. Show us your best work so we can write a strong recommendation for you.
- Recommendation are a gift to you. Faculty members are happy to provide l recommendations for students. Please be aware, if a written recommendation is requested, faculty members write these letters on their own time, in addition to their university workload. In order to meet your request for a recommendation, please give ample time and plan ahead with your requests. Please also note that faculty do not expect anything in return but your thanks. No gifts, please.
- Make your request at least four weeks, and sometimes months, ahead. It often is best to do this in person or on the phone, though emails can sometimes be a last resort. The faculty member may want to visit with you to gain information for providing the recommendation. Note that most faculty may not be available over the summer to provide recommendations.
- Provide the written request and authorization form. Per university policy, students must provide the written request (see link below) asking for the clinic instructor or faculty member to provide a reference.
- The request should be made with at least 4 working weeks´ lead time; some faculty members may have more stringent or liberal timelines. It is best to ask the faculty member about their preferences. Bear in mind the breaks in the academic calendar are not included in the four weeks´ lead time.
- The Reference Request and Student Authorization form serves as your written request. You must complete this form and submit it to the faculty member. Without your written consent, the faculty member is not at liberty to discuss your academic performance.
- Provide the faculty member with additional information and forms. Provide information and forms in a user-friendly, organized packet.
Examples of information to provide include:
- Information regarding your academic achievements, especially courses you took with that faculty member.
- Informaiton on relevant extracurricular achievements
- Information about any internships
Examples of forms include:
- A list of agencies/universities, contact information, and dates due.
- All of the necessary agency forms(check to make sure you have completed/signed any forms before forwarding them to the faculty member.
Keep Track of the status of your recommendations. You will want to keep in contact with the faculty member and the agency to which the recommenation is being given. You are responsible for keeping track of the completed and outstanding requests for letters. You also are responsible for mailing letters.
- Envelopes for any letters that need to be mailed out. Address and stamp envelopes in advance. Provide self-adhering envelopes if possible.
- If recommendations are to be in electronic form, you are responsible for having the link sent to the faculty member from the program to which you are applying.