Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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Applying for a scholarship, job, internship, study abroad program or any type of honor organization usually requires one or more letters of recommendation. These letters provide an opportunity for the applicant to be seen as an individual.
It is important that the person providing the recommendation has a good understanding of your academic history, interests, goals, and direction. Normally, this type of recommendation letter is addressed to a specific person and is submitted along with an application or as outlined in the criteria for the scholarship, etc. Our office requires that you sign a request for letter of recommendation when asking any advisor to fill out information about you. It is also helpful to provide the following information:
- Academic performance
- Honors and awards
- Initiative, dedication, integrity, reliability, etc.
- Ability to work with others
- Ability to work independently
Schedule a convenient time with your advisor to meet to review the requirements and expectations of the recommendation letter. This process helps the person who is writing the letter answer questions, clarify points that may need elaboration and point out additional required information. Make this process easy by providing all of the information needed so that you can obtain an accurate and positive recommendation. A resume is a great resource for advisors.
When you request a recommendation, communicate your needs in a straightforward way. Explain what you are applying for and ask if the person can provide you with a good recommendation. If someone exhibits any uneasiness about providing you with a strong recommendation, be polite, thank him or her for their time and look elsewhere. If possible choose someone who:
- can provide a well-written letter
- knows you well enough to be credible
- thinks highly of you and your abilities
- holds a respected position
Keep in mind that the recommender is doing you a favor and has a busy schedule with other commitments. Make sure you allow enough time so that he or she can provide you with a well-written and effective letter.At least two weeks notice is preferable.
Resources: Thank you to Dr. Marvin Lufy, WriteExpress Chief Editor for the above information.