Tips for Requesting Faculty Recommendation Letters

Tips for Requesting Faculty Recommendation Letters

As a student, there comes a time you may need to request letters of recommendation from a faculty member. For example, the Alpha Sigma Lambda scholarship application asks for a letter of recommendation. Beyond that, you may need letters of recommendation for graduate schools, job applications, and more. Below are some tips for you to consider when you need to request a letter of recommendation. 

  1. Reach out to faculty who you recently took classes with. Remind them who you are- what grade you received, and anything else that may have stuck out (for example, the topic of your final paper or project, or if there were online discussions, how frequently or early you posted.)

  2. Mention a few things about yourself – what your educational and professional goals are, what your other responsibilities are in addition to taking classes.

  3. Clarify that the recommendation is meant to portray the type of student you are- which a faculty member can usually speak to from your behavior in their course.

  4. Offer to provide additional information if the faculty member feels it would be useful.

  5. Give the faculty a few weeks to complete the letter…don’t ask the week it is due.

  6. Ask a few faculty members for recommendations. So that if one or more don’t feel comfortable giving one, you don’t have to start the process over. It does not hurt to end up with more than one recommendation.

  7. For the Alpha Sigma Lambda Scholarship: Remind the faculty that the recommendation can be sent via email using their faculty email address (this alleviates any worry of having to use the school’s letterhead, which can be difficult for some non-local faculty to obtain).

Keep these tips in mind as you reach out for letters of recommendation. Also, if you know now that you plan to attend graduate school or go into a field that requires faculty references, start now to develop relationships with your faculty members while you are in their class. Being an active student in discussions, helping other students, and chatting with the faculty member (whether online or on-site) may help down the road when you need that reference. 


Learn more about Alpha Sigma Lambda Student Scholarships  for nontraditional students. 

Already applied? Visit STUDENT RESOURCES for more tips and scholarship opportunities. 

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