This is part of my job, is always an honor, and is usually a pleasure. I would not be writing such letters if others had not done the same for me. They “paid it forward,” and so do I. For example, link to: Memoir of Mentorship.
- FERPA: I can’t use or release any information on grades without your written consent per UCONN FERPA Rules. So, If you want me to do so, and before I proceed, please complete the release form http://ferpa.uconn.edu/forms/ Otherwise skip this step.
- FOI WAIVER. Let me know if you waive the right to see my letter. Doing so is usually seen as a benefit when they will be good, because the recipient knows I am being candid. Implicitly, I need to point out perceived strengths and weaknesses.
- THE APPLICATION FACTS: What specific programs are you applying to? What degrees are your pursuing? What are the deadlines? Make a clear list.
- A PERSONAL STATEMENT TO ME: Use these three headings,and then write a paragraph or two for each:
- Our History: Provide paragraph or so, reminding me when we first met, what courses we had together, when those courses were, what grades you got, and, if you did special projects, what they were about. Quoting comments I made on such projects is helpful.
- Your Goals: A statement of your short-term goals (i.e. grad school, internship, summer program, job etc.) in the context of your long-term goals (a career in….) that is relevant to the application.
- Your Application: Explain why the program you are applying to will help you meet the goals you just stated. Be specific. In other words, explain why is this the “right” program for you at this stage. This will take a few sentences. You may need different ones for different programs.
- YOUR RESUME: Make one if you don’t have a good one.
- YOUR UNOFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT: Provide an unofficial transcript. I’m only interested in placing the grades you received from me in the larger context. I will not be citing specifics.
YOUR RESPONSIBILITY: You must keep track of the deadlines and remind me a few days ahead of each, lest I forget.