Letters of Recommendation

There are many occasions when it is appropriate for students to ask Department faculty to write letters of recommendation in support of applications: for jobs, for fellowships, for admission to graduate schools, etc. Students should check with faculty members to make sure that faculty are willing to write such letters and also make sure that they are giving faculty members enough time to write them. (Students should discuss with individual faculty what length of time each faculty member considers sufficient for this purpose.) Additionally, the Department faculty would like each student to fill out an information résumé and give it to each faculty member who will be writing references for that student. Information that might be contained on such a résumé includes:

  • What position(s) are you applying for? Include dates when the material is due. Please list all institutions (including full addresses) and deadlines in one place on a separate page.
  • Scholarships and academic honors you have received.
  • Grades received in Music courses and the instructor's names.
  • Details of employment within the Music Department. What terms, what courses, what capacity, supervisor's name?
  • Other campus (or off-campus during the school year) employment.
  • Relevant work experience during Summer or Winter break. Relevant should not be interpreted in a narrow sense of implying a direct relation to music. In addition to that, cite evidence of your qualities of leadership, perseverance, and organizational ability.
  • Relevant extracurricular activities.
  • Are there particular strengths or weaknesses on your transcript that should be emphasized or clarified? (That is, have you done a lot of work in another area, such as foreign language?)
  • Is there any specific evidence of your ability to communicate well in speaking and writing--that is, public speaking experience, writing for the Carletonian or other publications, advanced rhetoric courses?
  • What do you perceive as your major strengths?
  • What are your immediate and long-range goals?
  • Is there anything else that might (or might not) be included to bolster your application? Remind faculty of the details of talks or projects or any other relevant special efforts you have done, (especially those you have done with the designated recommender), as these will enable faculty to personalize and greatly strengthen their letters.