Letters of recommendation — Joyce’s Career Tip of the Week

Have you ever applied for a scholarship, a research position or an internship that requires a letter or letters of recommendation? In many cases, the application directions say that at least one letter must be from a faculty member.

You want someone who will write a letter that includes specific examples of your skills and accomplishments. The letter should also include the author’s opinion of why you are a strong applicant for the position. This means that the person writing the letter should know you well. Not only is he or she able to talk about your academic performance, but can also articulate how the program fits into your goals and how you can contribute to the program.

How does one find people who can write these letters? Get to know your faculty! You do this by making it a part of your student experience. You are prepared and participate in classes. You go to office hours, not only to ask for help when you are confused, but to get feedback on your ideas and goals. Keep in touch with former professors — especially if their areas of expertise align with your career goals.

Applications for Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) and the Helios Scholars at TGEN will be due in the early part of 2019. Now is the time for you to start thinking about your application essays and letters of reference. Consider which faculty members you will be asking for recommendations and talk to them about your plans.

Are plans to attend graduate school in your future? If the answer is yes, you are going to need faculty letters of recommendation. Don’t let your college experience go by without getting to know your professors. Also, be sure that our faculty members get to know you!


Joyce Donahue is a Certified Career Counselor in the Fulton Schools Career Center.