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Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Letter of Recommendation Requests

You will typically need 2 to 5 letters of recommendation from professors, supervisors, and/or employers. You should ask for letters of recommendation from an individual who is willing to write a positive letter or testimonial about your academic preparation, work experience, and desire to pursue an advanced degree. 

Provide the following information to the individuals writing your letters of recommendation:

  • Detailed list of your desired graduate programs, including letter deadlines and whether you will pick up the letter from them or if you need them to mail the letter directly to the program. If you are asking them to mail the letters directly to the program, you will want to include an addressed, stamped envelope as well.

  • Detailed reasoning about why you want to attend each program and possibly what type of research or which faculty members you would look forward to working with at that given school.

  • Copy of your statement of purpose to each program.

  • Resume chronicling your work experience and extracurricular activities would also help.

  • If you have the option, pick up the letters yourself from your letter writers and ask for them well before your own deadline.

Who do you ask?

¨ Professors with whom you have good academic standing

¨ Professors should have PhD’s or MFA’s.

¨ Employers you work (or have worked) for, only if it relates to your field of study (Employer references will be more effective if you have been out of school for an extended period of time).

¨ Advisors of clubs/groups/organizations you are involved with that pertain to your field.

Put a packet together for your letter writers that includes these items:

  •  List schools and programs you are applying to

  • Deadline that the letter is due. Give your writer ample time, 3-4 weeks is recommended

  • Be clear if the letter will be picked up by you, if it is an electronic submission, or if the writer needs to mail it directly, provide an addressed and stamped envelope

  •  If mailed directly, provide an addressed and stamped envelope

  • If it is electronic submission, provide a direct link to where the letter will be sent, not the school’s main website

  • Include your resume showing previous employment, volunteer and extra-curricular activities

  • Include your personal statement or a letter clearly stating your goals, your passions and your motivations for pursuing this degree and career goals.

  • A list of courses you had with the professor and the grade received

  • Attach a writing sample, especially if the school requires it.