Semester after semester, I find myself receiving an increasing number of requests to write recommendation letters. They are a pleasure to write. Unfortunately, my students often appear confused about who to ask or feel nervous to ask so that they send their requests at the last possible minute, thereby leaving me with little time to write the best letter for them. Another dilemma is that undergraduates often have never asked for letters and fail to supply all of the needed information, or do not know how to tell me the story of what they need and how they need it. Yet another issue is that students do not know the labor involved or the depths to which professors and others go in writing such letters.
In my new Pedagogy sub-page, “My Recommendation Writing Policy,” I share my recommendation writing policy with my Trinity students and also offer advice on how, when, and who to ask for all undergraduates. It’s a confusing practice and I hope this illuminates for all.