Please read the following carefully.
It is my responsibility to write recommendation letters for students, whether you are applying for graduate school, fellowships or jobs. My responsibility extends not only to you, but also to all other students and my colleagues, so I am obligated to write accurate letters, which constitute detailed evaluation and full disclosure. If I think I cannot write a good recommendation, I will let you know. It is up to you to decide if you wish to use my recommendation.
The most valuable letters of recommendation are rich in information and detail. Therefore you need to provide me with the following information:
(1) any “recommendation” forms provided to you by the institutions to which you are applying. You must complete those portions of these forms that pertain to you. Sometimes the institution sends me these forms via email directly. It is your responsibility to make sure I receive them.
(2) the persons, or committee to whom the letter should be directed, including their address(es).
(3) Any specific guidelines for the letter. What is the nature of your application: Graduate school? Employment? The more you tell me about the position you applying to, the easier for me to write a concrete letter.
(4) the deadlines for the letters.
(5) a reminder of what courses, if any, you took with me and in what years and semesters. What grades did you obtain? What was the topic of your paper? Any concrete history of our interaction adds value to the letter I write. Do not forget to include the statement written by you as part of the application, and your resume.
(6) For any letters to be submitted on-line, provide the url by e-mail.
(7) The telephone number you should use for me is (973)216-7874. This is the number you should give to the institution, in case they wish to contact me.
Please be kind and make sure I have all the information I need in ONE email. You are not obligated to do this, but it helps me to not miss any pertinent information.
I need a minimum of two weeks AFTER I receive all the above information to be able to write a letter. During summer and winter breaks, I am often travelling. Be prepared for delayed communication, and longer turn out time. Whenever possible, try to get your letters done during regular semester schedules.
If you are a student, you will one day graduate and you will be needing letters of recommendation. THROUGHOUT your study period, you should prepare for these letters by meeting with your professors regularly and keeping them informed of your plans and achievements and working with them to make sure these letters are done well and done on time. A last minute “Hey will you write me a letter?” email is not good strategy.