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 - in a manila folder (or some other organization), with your name at the top, soon after (or when) asking them to write the letters. It is most helpful if you can submit all of your recommendation forms at one time in a single packet. 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 telephone numbers and
e-mail addresses, or plan to contact the professor yourself
____ 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)
____ Copies of GRE scores (General and Subject) or other relevant test scores, if available
____ 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.
____ Recommendation forms (if supplied) for which you have already completed (and signed)
your portion of the requested information. Most graduate program applications give
you the option of waiving your right to read your letters of recommendations.
You should be aware that most schools take the recommendations more seriously
if you do waive this right of access to these records. [A piece of advice: if you
can, TYPE the requested information onto the forms instead of printing it.]
____ Envelopes that are stamped and addressed to the appropriate party
____ 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. (You may wish to call
each program a few days before the deadline and ask if they have received all of
your information. In those rare cases when the mail got lost, the professor can fax
letters to the school.)
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)