- Always ask your professors if they are willing to write for you.
- Make sure to give your referees adequate time to write your letters (at least three weeks).
- Let your referees know the outcome of your application and thank them for their help.
Choose professors who know your work well:
- Faculty with whom you have taken several classes and/or small classes that have given them an opportunity to get to know you and your work
- Faculty who have supervised an independent research project or enlisted you to assist with their own research
- Your honors or thesis advisor
Assisting the Professor
Provide a cover letter in which you explain:
- What you are applying for (attach information about the fellowship, if possible) and the address for the scholarship's website
- When the letter must be sent (this may be a campus deadline or the final deadline posted by the scholarship)
- Where the letter should be sent – the Fellowships Office or the Foundation – and provide the correct mailing address
- What courses you have taken (from the professor)
- Be sure to include the form on which the recommendation should be sent or, if the letter is to be submitted online, make sure that you have the writer's correct e-mail address. Many online applications now ask for the e-mail address in order to send the recommender directions on how to upload the letter.
- If you need to fill in the names and positions of the referees on the form, ask your professors for their precise titles (i.e. instructor, visiting professor, assistant professor, etc.)
- Provide a copy of your resume, personal statement, and other essays you will submit as part of your application.
- Provide contact information (phone numbers, e-mail address, etc.) so that your referees can reach you if they have any questions.
- Provide copies of work that you completed for this professor so that s/he can refer to specific examples when writing your letter.
- Offer to meet with the writer if sh/e would like to learn more about the fellowships and/or get to know you better.