Letters of Recommendation:
If you would like me to write you a letter of recommendation,
please drop off (or mail to my office) a packet with as much of the following information as possible:
(Hard copy, please. Yes, really. Why do so few students believe me
when I say this? )
In addition, please be sure to:
- A note telling me
- who the audience of the letter is
(e.g. M.S. admissions committee, Ph.D. admission committee,
potential employer, etc.)
- If I've written you a letter before (e.g. for a summer
internship and now you are applying to graduate school), please
remind me of this. Even if it was just a few months ago, I am so busy that I probably have forgotten.
- A list of all the schools you want letters for, whether paper
or electronic, and the ONE date by which you want me to put ALL the
letters in the mail and fill out any electronic-only
recommendations. I will sit down and do all of them at once because of
the context-switching burden (and computer use burden) of
doing letters for the same student on different days. This means you
need to have already completed and submitted any applications from
schools that refuse to let me use a paper form well in advance of the
earliest deadline you have, and then confirm with them that they've
emailed me the information I need to fill out their electronic
form. (Note that if you can get paper recommendation forms for all
the schools, you don't need to fill out any of the other schools'
forms ahead of the first deadline date.)
You might want to use the UCB career center letter service as a
- The recommendation form(s)
- Your resume
- A copy of your transcript (a xerox is fine)
- A draft of your statement of purpose (or equivalent). I will
often be able to give you feedback on your draft as well.
- If you have worked on a research project with me, please write up a
couple paragraphs describing your contributions and accomplishments.
- Otherwise, include a summary of key or memorable interactions that we have had. E.g.:
- "My final project was the only one that ..."
- "I came to office hours and we talked about ..."
- "I usually sat on the right side of class and asked lots of questions."
- Fill out the forms to the extent possible with my name
and contact info:
- Tel: (510) 642-9359
5145 Etcheverry Hall #1740
Berkeley, CA 94720-1740
- Many schools ask for electronic
recommendations, but because those are hard on my RSI, please ask
whether they have a paper version of the form that I can fill out
instead. (They don't like to advertise this option since it is more
work for them, so you need to specifically ask someone at the admissions
office if their website doesn't have a link to it, and beg
and plead for policy exceptions for recommenders who have RSIs.) I
prefer to do as many as possible of the recommendations on paper
- Provide stamped, addressed envelopes for paper forms to be
sent directly to institutional recipients.
- If you are using the UCB career center letter service, instead of using stamps, please ask
the faculty support staff on the 6th floor of Etcheverry for an "inter-office
mailing envelope" and address it, including the
career center mail
code (4350), as illustrated here.
Note: If you are applying to schools that have very specific questions
or ranking grids on their recommendation forms, I recommend using
the individual forms instead of the generic letter service
form. This includes Berkeley.
- To the extent possible, give me all of the materials at once.
Please use these instructions as a check-list before you submit the
packet to me; I am not likely to praise your "attention to detail" if
you haven't followed them!
After you accept a graduate school admissions or job offer, do please drop me a line to
let me know how your applications fared and what you've decided to
do. And I always enjoy hearing back from students about what they've
gone on to do, and what they
found most useful and applied in future endeavors from what they've learned in my classes or on research
projects with me (or what they wish they'd learned that wasn't covered!).
| Portions of these instructions were stolen and
adapted from Kris Pister.
Send comments to
update on or after: October, 2012