Recommendation Advice

adapted from Graduate Admissions Essays by Donald Asher


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  2. Always ask for letters in person, not via email
  3. Everyone prefers human communication to digital, and it helps show your enthusiasm. Also, in a face to face meeting, there is no mistaking your tone and respect for your recommender's time.

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  2. Come to your meeting prepared. Bring
  3. 1. Your unofficial transcript printed from Webstac. Highlight for the faculty person the most important classes for the application for which you seek their support.
  4. 2. A copy of work you have done for them, a paper, etc. showing some of your best work.
  5. 3. A resume, or CV, especially if the faculty person does not know about some of your work or internship experiences. Be prepared to tell them about it in your meeting if it relates to your application.
  6. 4. A list of your activities, extra and co-curricular.
  7. 5. A copy of the latest draft of your personal statement.
  8. 6. Print out and bring the Recommendation Request form from the PIR website - be sure that you have waived your right to see their letter. The instructions for writers on how to submit your letter can be found on the form as well.
  9. 7. A written reflection piece with suggested "talking points," especially if you do not know the faculty person very well. Do some reflecting about your experiences in the classroom with this person, what skills you learned, how your experiences relate to your decision to become a doctor, etc.
  10. 8. Follow-up your meeting with a Thank You email which includes a gentle reminder of the due date and a summary of your visit and reflections.

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  2. Ask questions at the end of your meeting
  3. "Do you have the time to write me a letter?"
  4. "Do you feel you know me well enough to write a strong letter?"
  5. If they say "no," accept that. Thank them for their time and move on to your next possible recommender.

Remember, getting strong letters of recommendation is a collaborative process with your faculty person. Help them to understand your motivations and abilities so they can do their best.