Letters of Recommendation
Recommendations on Recommendations
Letters of recommendation are important for employment and graduate school applications. However, a letter of recommendation from a professor that only describes the grades you earned and the nature of your coursework is not as helpful as a more personal appraisal. Professors who know you well and who enjoy their interactions with you are likely to communicate their enthusiasm to potential employers and admissions committees. Students applying for employment often need to submit the names of faculty members who can evaluate their personal qualities and skills. Those applying to graduate or professional schools usually need to submit letters of recommendation from several faculty members as part of the application process. Here are some suggestions for becoming better acquainted with professors.
- Take low-enrollment courses. Most upper-level mathematics classes are small; in other departments look for discussion-oriented seminars.
- Attend office hours. Discuss course material and seek academic advice.
- Work on independent study or research projects. Demonstrate how bright and intellectually curious you are, the range of skills you possess, and what a pleasure you are to work with.