How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation

1.   Please send an email with your name, context of our relationship (course, semester), position for which you are applying (grad school, law school, med school, internship, scholarship, job, etc.), and some brief mention of the project/s you did for my class (especially important if it's been a while since you've been a student of mine). This email should request a letter of recommendation so that I have the opportunity to say yea or nea.

2.   If I agree to write one, then you should provide me with copies (preferably electronic) of:
  • your most current résumé
  • a personal statement or essay (if applicable)
  • copies of class work you did for my class with grades listed as well
    • if you revised a paper, include both grades -- believe it or not, grad schools like confirmation of "teachability" and improvement!
  • any forms required by the school -- please fill out my information as well (see below)
    • an envelope (stamped and addressed if I should mail it directly to institution)
    • if electronic submission, please fill out my information as completely as possible
  • a due date for completion (MINIMUM of four weeks)
  • a list of all the schools you are applying to with due dates (if different) -- that way, I know what to look for either in my inbox or by mail
3.  I will require a signed copy of the Letter of Recommendation release form (the FERPA release form)--
  • you can print it out, fill it out, sign it, and return it to me before I can write a letter on your behalf. This is a university-wide requirement.  OR
  • you can print it out, fill it out, sign it, scan it, and email it to me.
  • On the form, please check that I may comment on grades, GPA (though I will likely not do this), and Other -- in the space designated, please fill in "class assignments" so that I may discuss your work. 
  • I prefer that you waive the right to review the letter, though you do not have to do this. I will not review the letter with you personally before submitting it, though. You may be able to read your file after being accepted to a program.
  • The form is a pdf -- here -- .

4.  I will email you when I've completed the letter.  I will assume that I have all of the time alloted and would appreciate NOT receiving multiple confirmation requests. However, a single reminder email about a week before the due date is appreciated.  It is nice to send along a "thank you" of some kind (a simple email would do) when the letter has been finished.


5.  I would appreciate it if you would eventually let me know the outcome of the application!  Writing letters of recommendation is a pleasurable task (for the most part) but not an easy one, and it's rewarding to know when something works out.

Here is my contact information:
     Name:  Michelle S Schafer ("Mickey" is a nickname and the one I personally prefer -- but for letters, we have to use the official version!)
     Prefix: Dr (if not available, then "Ms")
     Position:  Senior Lecturer
     Address:  PO Box 112020   Gainesville  FL  32611-2032
     Phone: 352-273-2743
     Email: msscha@ufl.edu
     Department:  University Writing Program
     Place of Employment:  University of Florida