Letters of Recommendation

You may have already been to the Career Center to set up a reference file, which will presumably include letters of recommendation from some of us in the Department. If you have not established such a file yet, we want to encourage you to do so soon. Even if you will not need references for a job or graduate/professional school applications this year, you should get recommendations on file now. Letters of recommendation written while you are still at Carleton can be far more concrete and precise and thus helpful to you, if they are written with all of your achievements still fresh in our minds.

You will help us further and enhance the quality of your letters of recommendation if you furnish us with as much information about your academic record and activities at Carleton as possible. To make your response easier we have listed a number of key questions below. Your comments will, of course, be kept strictly confidential.

We require that you discuss your plans for graduate school or employment with the faculty member from whom you are requesting a recommendation. This should aid you in choosing appropriate graduate programs and will result in stronger letters of recommendation.

Please keep us informed on the outcome of your efforts. In this way we can be of more help to you in the future, and we can better aid students who will make similar applications in the coming years.

1. Name

2. Class Year (e.g. 2008)

3. Major and areas of special competence within the major.

4. Areas of concentration and competence in other departments.

5. Analyze your transcript: In what courses did you excel? Why?
Where and when did you have difficulties? Language and quantitative skills?

6. What internships, research projects, independent studies have you done and what special skills and insights have you gained from them?

7. Summer experience.

8. Work experience during your college years.

9. What extracurricular activities have you participated in? What positions did you hold? What did you gain from them?

10. What significant travel experiences have you had?

11. What aspects in your background and your abilities do you believe justify recommending you specifically for this career or position?

12. Are there any other specific strengths or weaknesses you would like us to extol or explain in our recommendations? Is there any other information you think would be helpful to us in preparing these letters?

13. Have you taken any of the standard tests: GRE (graduate school in Classics or other), LSAT (law school) or other? Which? What was your score?

14. Your permanent address (through which you can always be reached, e.g. your parents' address).

It would also be helpful if you would remind the person writing your recommendation which course(s) you took with her/him, the term in which the course was taken, and other information to aid the memory (paper topic, discussions group, etc.).