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Successful Letters of Recommendation (LOR)
Here is some helpful information on how to request successful letters of recommendation (LOR) from SDSU Faculty. Lessons can be applied to other potential recommenders, adapt as needed!
LOR are KEY – LOR are extremely important, they provide support that you would be a good candidate or fit for the program of interest (whether it be grad school, internships, jobs or other professional positions). They can also help address any potential issues with your applications (e.g. poor performance in a given class, etc)
Step 1: The Ask
- When should you ask for a letter: You will want to give potential letter-writers at least a month to prepare your letter, so you want to ask well in advance, the earlier the better!
- Approach the person you are interested in having write you a letter (e-mail, in-person, etc) and ask if they would be willing and able to write you a positive or strong letter of recommendation.
- Wait for a response – Do not assume the answer is yes
- Follow-up as needed (but be polite, remember, you are asking for a favor)
- Once you receive a response, thank the potential letter writer (whether they say yes or no)
Step 2: Provide Relevant Information – Be prepared to provide any and all of the following, have it ready as soon as possible.
What to provide at minimum: (Click links for help and more resources)
- RedID (if SDSU Faculty Member)
- Resume – For Grad School Resume Tips Click HERE OR For Job Resume Tips Click Here
- Statement of Purpose (SOP) or Personal Statement (PS)
- Bullet Points of anything not included above that you would want included in a letter (e.g. languages written/spoken, first generation college student, transfer student, other experience, things that make you stand out/unique, etc)
- Draft Letter of Recommendation for recommender to start from and edit (e.g. write this as though you were the recommender, what should they say/include about you?) This will help the recommender get started, particularly if it has been a while since you interacted with them or you need the letter quickly.
Step 3: Follow Up & Send Reminders – It is important to remember your recommender as other things going on in her/his life! Friendly reminders are often essential. Ask your recommender if and how often and when they would like you to touch base or remind them about the letter. For Tips on Following-Up with Recommenders Click HERE.
Step 4: Thank You Note – Write a Thank You Note after letters are submitted (Can be e-mail or physical note). For Tips and Example Thank You Note Click HERE.
Step 5: Post-Acceptance Follow-Up – Follow-up and let your recommenders know if you were accepted and where! For Tips and Example Follow-up Click HERE.
For Additional information contact: PHundergrad@sdsu.edu
Happy Application Writing!