Requesting Letter of Recommendation

The Department of Anthropology is happy to support you in your applications for graduate school, jobs, fellowships, internships, service programs and more. To make this process more effective and efficient, we have compiled the following guidelines. Please note that these are guidelines and individual professors may request more/less information and supporting materials

Requests for letters of recommendation must be received at least two and three weeks prior to the letter’s due date, although a month is better. Please keep in mind that multiple requests letters for prestigious fellowship may require additional time.

When requesting a letter of recommendation, the Department requests that you include an updated resume or CV and any essays, personal statements, or cover letter submitted for application in either close-to-final draft or final submission form, as well as answers to the following questions as appropriate:

  • What are you applying to/for? (ex. graduate program, internship, job, fellowship, etc.) What is the name of the program? When does it take place? (ex. summer internship, fall study abroad, etc.).
  • Why are you applying?
  • Based on your relationship with the recommender, what about you do you think should be stressed or focused on in the letter of recommendation? Feel free to suggest a particular responsibility you had or assignment you submitted that might be used as a compelling example.
  • Are there other Anthropology professors who could offer an anecdote or quotation about you for this letter?
  • Is there somewhere the recommender can appropriately “help” or offer further explanation in your application? (ex. a dip in grades, leave of absence, etc.)
  • How is this letter/form submitted (via email, mail, weblink, etc.)? When is the absolute last date that it must be submitted? Please include any other submission details that are pertinent.

Depending on the faculty member and/or the nature of the recommendation letter, additional information may be requested.

If you are requesting that the recommender offer feedback on your application materials, such as essays or resume, please allow for 1-2 additional weeks of time. We advise students to utilize all the same best practices for completing successful writing assignments as they would for these application essays or cover letters:

  • plan ahead with sufficient time for multiple rounds of revisions;
  • research the opportunity/program fully in order to craft your essays specifically to its description;
  • write drafts and ask for feedback from friends, family or professors;
  • consult the Cawley Career Education Center and Writing Center as needed; and
  • read your writing out loud.

In the case of reference checks or phone calls, it is suggested that you ask the faculty member if you can list them as a reference and then supply them with the company/organization name, job description and your updated resume/CV.

Update us! It is a professional courtesy to update the recommender once you hear from the job/internship/fellowship/program, etc. (Yes, even if it’s not positive news.) It is also kind and customary to write a short thank you note to the recommender.