Student Expectations

On Recommendations

I write a lot of recommendations for students. It’s a karma thing – my profs write a lot of them for me. That said, I have between 75-150 students per semester so keeping things at the front of my brain can be challenging. Here are some ways you can endear yourself to me and get a speedy and well-thought-out recommendation.

  1. Be getting (or have gotten) a B or better in my class(es).
  2. Introduce yourself to me early in the semester.
  3. Speak up in class regularly (especially if it’s a big class).
  4. Come to regular office hours (once or twice a semester, not every week).
  5. Come to informal office hours and help me get to know you.
  6. Have good attendance.
  7. I’m good at faces but I suck at names. I’m working on this, but regular contact with me helps.
  8. If I have agreed to write you a recommendation, it is your job to pester me until I get it done. I will not find this annoying, I will be grateful because I have to remember too many damn things at one time.
  9. Apropos of #8, don’t ask me to write you something at the last minute. 2 weeks advance is good, if not more. If you don’t have a choice, sit on me until I get it done.
  10. Send me a DIGITAL packet of your resume/cv, any major writing you did for my course, and anything you want me to highlight (but that has to be stuff I actually have experience of – don’t ask me to highlight your work in your sorority because I don’t have contact with you in that context).
  11. Figure out if I have to submit your recommendation through the mail or digitally. If it’s through the mail, give me an addressed envelope with a stamp. No, I’m not cheap, I just use stamps once a decade and don’t always have them around.

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