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Jim Rafferty
Recommendation Letters

I encourage you to talk with me about the possibility of writing a letter of recommendation for you.  You should not ask, “Will you write me a letter of recommendation?” but instead, “Can you write me a strong letter of recommendation?”  If I cannot, then I will tell you, and you can decide if someone else is in a better position to write you a letter.  If I can, then I will happily agree to do so, but I will ask some things of you:

1)  To fill out a general form that I have prepared.
2)  To provide a recent copy of your BSU transcript and highlight all of the courses that you have taken with me.  The transcript need not be an official copy.
3)  To provide a copy of your resume (if you have one).
4)  If you are applying to graduate school, to provide a copy of your GRE scores (if available).
5)  To assess and convey to me your relevant knowledge, skills, and characteristics by filling out a second form.  These will differ somewhat depending on whether you are asking for a letter for graduate school or a letter for job placement.

You can provide the above either in hard copy (in a folder with your name on it) or electronically (each item's name should begin with your last name).

It takes time for me to write a good letter for you.  Please allow a minimum of 3 weeks for me to complete your letter.  Remember that the ability to plan ahead is one of the topics I may address in your letter.

[This strategy for developing letters of recommendation is adapted from:  Appleby, D. C. (2005).  A developmental strategy to write effective letters of recommendation.  Observer, 18(5), 36 ff.]