Requesting a recommendation letter from Joe P. Chen

***Please read these instructions carefully***

Firstly, thank you for requesting a recommendation letter from me.
By its very nature, it is a letter meant to recommend you for the appropriate program or job.
Therefore, if I do not feel confident enough to write at least a good letter on your behalf, I will politely decline your request.
(A tepid or weak letter does no good to you or me. It would be better if you can find another person that can vouch for your credentials.)

Surefire ways to make me happy to write a letter for you:

Situations where I will most likely decline to write a letter:
Depending on the purpose of your request, my standards for accepting it differ.
Roughly speaking, in order of increasing standards:

Reference for job application = Colgate-internal reference < Summer REU application = Masters program application < Fellowship application = PhD program application.

Some DOs and DON'Ts: All of these come back to the first point I made: A recommendation letter is meant to recommend you for the appropriate program or job.
When you present yourself as a strong, worthy candidate, it makes my recommendation all the more convincing and glowing.

Thank you, and best of luck with your application!

Back to JPC's homepage