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Letters of Recommendation

Many students have difficulty deciding whom to ask for letters of recommendation when they apply for graduate study, a job, or a special opportunity such as residence hall assistant. Personal contact with several members of the faculty is essential for meaningful letters of recommendation. Doing an internship, completing a Special Project course, serving as a teaching assistant, making a special effort in a course, and working with a faculty member on his or her research are all ways that faculty get to know more about you.

Because you may eventually want a letter of recommendation from a professor who has not seen you in several years, it is useful to keep a file of excellent work you have done at Beloit College. When you ask for a letter of recommendation, it is helpful to remind faculty of your strengths and offer copies of your past work. Two rules of thumb: don't assume faculty will remember your work in detail and don't be humble.

Faculty members do not honor all requests for letters of recommendation. A professor may feel he or she does not know you well enough or cannot recommend you for a particular position. Please ask each faculty member whether he or she is willing to write a strong letter. If the faculty member agrees to write a letter, be sure to provide an addressed, stamped envelope for the faculty person to use in mailing your recommendation. Your letter may be delayed if you do not provide an envelope and postage. Remember to tell faculty about the position or award you are seeking because different strengths may need to be emphasized for different applications.