Letters of Recommendation

Most applications require at least two references. As a general rule, academic grants require references from academics (i.e., Ph.D.-holding professors). Additionally, graduate student’s committee chair absolutely must write one of their references, as an application without a letter from the chair sends a major red flag to reviewers.

A few best practices to keep in mind when soliciting references:

  • Ask early. Many professors want at least 2 weeks’ notice before a letter is due.
  • Provide your reference writers with as much information as you can, e.g.,
    • a link to the funder website
    • the application deadline
    • drafts of your application materials
  • Attach the most recent version of your master CV and/or provide highlights of your proudest accomplishments in the body of the email.
  • Ask your references to emphasize certain (and different) aspects about you as a scholar and individual.