Asking for Letters

Asking for strong letters of recommendation is really nerve-wracking! It feels like a lot to ask of someone to tell a university that you’re a good candidate for their program. I’ve been asking my professors for letters this week after I saw a Research Assistant opening at the University of Texas Austin… It’s my #1 choice school and a great lab, so it all feels very high-stakes. I’ve been getting some excellent advice from the professors that I’m asking for letters, so I thought I would pass it along.

  • As long as you’re doing well in their class and proving yourself capable of the work, it’s not an issue or a bother for a professor to write a letter- they do it all the time.
  • One professor told me today that it’s not a bother to rewrite letters for different programs or schools either, since the bulk of the letter does not change, just the names.
  • Make sure you specify that you would like them to write a “strong” letter of recommendation. This gives them an out so they don’t feel obligated to write you one if they know that they aren’t the best person to represent you.

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