Advising Materials and Resources

How to ask for a letter of recommendation

Writing letters of recommendation is an important, yet often unrecognized part of the job of a faculty member. Being a faculty member at a liberal arts college such as Randolph-Macon College, I believe a letter of recommendation can serve as a reminder of how we are different from larger, impersonal research universities. When I write letters of recommendation, I strive to show how the relationship I have with my students allows me to know them well both as students as well as potential apprentices, scholars and employees. I enjoy this task, because it gives me a chance to reflect on the development and character of a student I have often gotten to know through several classes, mentorship experience such as summer research, and across years of their college careers.

For your part, dear student, what can you do to help me write the most effective letter of recommendation for you? You can reflect on your own. What qualities do you have that sets you apart from the 100 other people who are applying for this position? What have you done to demonstrate those qualities to me? I am likely to remember, but remind me in your own words what made my classes (or extracurricular experiences) mean something to you, and what you did in those classes to reflect that engagement? I have a set of instructions and a form to help you (and help me) with this process, inspired by Drew Appleby.

Career Advice for Psychology Majors


Randolph-Macon Psychology Major