Requests for Letters of Recommendation

If you can answer “yes” to all of the following questions, please feel free to ask me for a letter of recommendation.

  • I have taken a class with Prof. Coleman in the last five years
  • I visited Prof. Coleman’s office hours at least twice during the semester I was enrolled in her class
  • I earned at least a B+ in her class
  • The recommendation is for graduate school or another academic-related activity
  • I have allowed at least 4 weeks between the date requested and date the letter is needed
  • I have an overall (or major) GPA of 3.5

Without meeting the above qualifications, I may not be able to write the strongest letter possible, so please consider carefully before asking.

Frequently asked question:
Q: I earned an A in your class. Why did you tell me it might be difficult to write a letter of recommendation on my behalf?
A: Organizations expect that excellent students will apply to join their ranks. As such, these organizations seek to learn more about you beyond your classroom performance (NOTE: It is illegal for me to reveal course grades). Letter writers are often asked very specific questions to assist organizations in getting at a far more comprehensive picture of an applicant. For example, they may ask the following:

  • How long have you known the applicant? The organization will include a prompt asking how many years I have worked closely with you. Noting 3 months/one semester of only classroom contact could hurt your application.
  • Outside of the classroom, in what capacity have you worked with this applicant? The organization may be looking for information on your work abilities as, for example, a research assistant or teaching assistant.
  • Describe the applicant’s research/professional/internship or extracurricular/volunteer activities. If the only thing I know about you is that you had good class attendance and completed all of your assignments satisfactorily, I may not be able to provide a narrative that speaks effectively to your other talents.

(Submit these documents ALL TOGETHER by email to or to Prof. Robin R. Means Coleman, Dept. of Communication Studies, 5370 North Quad, 105 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1285):

  • An updated resume or curriculum vitae
  • Information about the university/scholarship/program to which you are applying (supply a link if possible)
  • A copy of your completed statement of purpose/application letter
  • Any forms that must be filled out/links to forms
  • Stamped and addressed envelopes if letters are to be mailed
  • A .jpg photo of yourself (this helps me to remember you accurately; for example, I’ve taught approximately 75 students named “Sarah”)
  • A reminder of the work you did in my class, such as paper titles, and what grade you earned in the class

**Note, I will fill out the paper copies OR online, not both. Decide which you will request and let me know how to format/submit the letters.

Thanks to Prof. S.Y. Evans for permission to use this template.