Guidelines for Letter of Recommendation

An effective letter of recommendation should verify your academic competence, confirm your experiences, and help build your credibility. Therefore, in order to write you a good letter of recommendation, I must know that you are competent, experienced, and credible.


If you think that I can vouch for you on the above qualities, then feel free to ask me if I will write you a letter of recommendation!

If you have COMPLETED at least one of my classes and received an A– or higher or have been a member of my lab for at least a semester, then this will probably apply to you. However, just because you meet (or exceed these) does not guarantee that I will agree to write you a letter, so you still must ask.

If I receive a request for a recommendation from a school or program and you have not asked me whether or not I am willing to write you a letter, I WILL NOT complete the form.

Unless I have some way of knowing about you, your personality, your work ethic, and your accomplishments from interactions that you and I have had OUTSIDE of class, I will only be able to write a letter about your academic performance in class.


Once I have agreed to write your letter, I will ask you to send me the following items electronically:

  • Letter of Recommendation Form (this will be given to you once I agree to write you a letter).
  • A copy (unofficial is fine) of your college transcript.
  • A copy (draft is fine) of your personal statement.
  • A copy of your vita or resume.
  • Any other forms that I might need, such as the LSAC forms or forms for particular schools.

Please have the information about me (e.g., name, title, address) already completed on the form.
Please provide envelopes that are already addressed and stamped.


For graduate school applicants, I need a list or spreadsheet of all schools, programs, contact information for programs, due dates, formats in which the letter is expected (e.g., electronic by email, electronic by website, hard copy to you, hard copy to them), and locations to which the letter should be sent (e.g., email address, website, address)

Contact the Career Services office (http://careercenter.umich.edu/) for information if you are unsure of how to create a vita or resume, how to write a personal statement, etc.