Psychology Department

Letters of Recommendation

Graduate programs and some prospective employers will ask for letters of recommendation from professors as part of your application.  The following information will be useful to you in helping your professors write the best possible letters of recommendation for you.

Ask professors well in advance to write letters of recommendation for you; a good rule of thumb is to ask at least a month before the letters are due, because we typically write for so many students we need to be able to pace out this work.  Remember that it is ultimately your responsibility to make sure the materials get turned in on time. Part of this responsibility is giving professors sufficient time to write your letters.  Ask them if there are specific pieces of information you can provide them with to assist them in the letter-writing. And, keep in mind that you want us to be able to say you have good attention to detail and can follow instructions, so your ability to get us complete packets of materials in a timely manner is something that can influence the recommendations you get from us.

Provide each professor with a carefully-organized packet of information - about yourself and the programs to which you are applying -  electronically or in a manila folder (or some other organization), soon after (or when) asking them to write the letters.  It is most helpful if you can provide all of your recommendation information at one time so important information doesn't get lost in the shuffle.  This packet should include:     

  • Contact information or ways of getting in touch with you in case the professor needs to contact you before the deadline for the letter; include your cell phone numbers and e-mail address
  • A current transcript (including grades for the current term, if possible) (this can be unofficial)
  • A list of what classes you took from this professor (transcripts don't list professors) and       when you took them along with a list of other activities outside of class (such as advisee, reading group, research group, club officer etc.) that you did with them to jog their memory.
  • Relevant information about your performance within your Psychology courses (such as the titles of papers you wrote and the grades you received, research you conducted as part of the course, presentations you made in class or at conferences)
  • GRE scores (General and Subject) or other relevant test scores, if applicable
  • A resume/vita (including your activities, accomplishments, honors, etc., during your time at Hendrix)
  •  A statement of why you are applying to each particular program, what your career plans are, and whether you are applying to work with a specific faculty member. This will allow us to tailor letters to different programs.
  • A list of  the programs and schools, type of degree(s) sought for each program, and due dates for the application materials.  Arrange the list chronologically by due date so that each letter can be received by the program's deadline.    
    • Example of master list of schools:
                          1. January 1: University of Florida (Ph.D. in clinical)
                          2. January 15: University of Alabama (Ph.D. in counseling)
                          3. January 31: Washington University (M.S.W.)
                          4. February 15: Emporia State University (M.A. in experimental)
                          5. February 28: University of Memphis (Ph.D. in clinical)