Carol C. Shilepsky
Wells College, Aurora, NY
Here's what I need from you to give helpful recommendations.
Time. Give me requests at least 4 weeks
before they are due. A good letter requires time to think and rewrite. Many requests
come between the end of classes and Christmas since that is when you are done
with your work. I will get to them in January.
Information. You may not need to remind me that you
were President of Collegiate or received an award, but it helps to
jog my memory. Please include anything you think would be helpful. For example:
Where you are applying and anything special about the program
When the letters are due
Copies of personal statements you are sending
Stamped, addressed envelopes.
Email is becoming an accepted way to submit recommendations. Make sure you give
me the correct email address, as well as the title of the person and position
for which you are applying.
Waiver. If you waive your rights to see a letter or form, it has more
credibility. If I cannot write a positive letter, I will let you know.
I am happy to have you list me as a reference. Often this is even more effective
than a written evaluation because I can emphasize how you fit a particular position
and answer specific questions.
Include my title and position. For example:
Dr. Carol Shilepsky, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science.
Email is the best way for them to contact me for a time to talk, but also
give my home and office phone numbers:(315)364-7421,
Let me know to whom you have given my name and the position you want.
I can respond more coherently if I know that I might be called.
What you write to a prospective employer or school will be extremely important.
They will look for clear, correct, direct writing. A few suggestions:
- Your writing must be clear, correct, and direct. Spell and grammar check. Remove wordiness.
Have other people read you materials several times. This is especially
important if English is not your native language.
- If you have had relevant internships of work experiences, describe
them, indicating what you learned or accomplished.
- If you are working on your
thesis, describe it and, if possible, how it relates to your application.
Pick the person who knows you best and can comment most favorably on your
work. It doesn't help if I like you but don't know first-hand about what
you have done.
Have a safety option. Even if you should get in to
the schools you have chosen or position you want, the process can be unpredictable.
Consider the role of character in an evaluation.
Employers want to know how well you work with other people, that you are curious
beyond just completing an assignment, and that you are honest. Over the years,
Wells faculty get to know you well and being able to comment on these can contribute
significantly to your acceptance to a school or position.
Let me know what happens. It helps me with future students to know where you have,
and have not, been accepted.
Things to think of before you need a reference. Here are
questions I was asked for a recent graduate.