Jack Reilly

Photo of JLR

Return to main page.

Student Letters of Recommendation

If you have been in class with me, been my advisee, or otherwise been acquainted with me at the college, I am generally more than happy to write you a recommendation letter for your applications to graduate school, internships, and jobs. However, please note that writing a letter is a time-consuming process. In order to ensure you receive the best letter possible, please heed the following steps.

Timeline and Approach

Please read this page and make sure you get me everything I need at least three weeks prior to any due date you have. Not all letters are the same: letters for graduate programs (especially doctoral programs) take more time than most job and career letters. If you are asking for a doctoral program letter, make sure to let me know in plenty of time - if you know that you're going to be asking me for a letter two months ahead of your due dates, let me know then.

You can ask me for a letter over email, but if possible, it is better to ask in person. (You can schedule appointments with me here.) This allows you to tell me about the programs and/or jobs that you are applying to, for us to talk about your application process, and for you to get a feel for the kind of letter I will be able to write for you.

Finally, if I have already written a similar kind of letter for you, future letters take less time, and I need less notice. In this case, 10 days notice is sufficient. However, if you are asking for a new kind of letter (say, you previously asked for an internship letter and now you are asking for a graduate letter) make sure to give me the full three weeks.

Materials

Once we have met, and you are sure that you want me to write a letter, please send me the following documents over email three weeks prior to your due dates:

  1. Cover page and/or information sheet, including all schools/employers that you are applying to, their deadlines, and the specific location where I must send their letters.
  2. Any additional forms I must complete with the letters.
  3. Any and all materials that you submit with your applications, including but not limited to:
    1. Cover Letter
    2. Resume or CV
    3. Personal Statement, Statement of Interest, Diversity Statement, etc
    4. Writing Sample(s)
    5. Standardized Test Scores (GRE, LSAT, MCAT, etc)
    6. Unofficial transcripts for any college level courses not taken at New College.
  4. Optional: A note about skills and/or attributes you are emphasizing in your applications.

Many students are often shy about including some of these materials (especially standardized test scores if they are low). However, they allow me to write you the best letter that I can. If, for example, I see that you have a low quantitative GRE score, but you have taken a quantitative class with me and done very well, I can note that in your letter as reason for an evaluator to discount your GRE.

On a broader scale, your goal in most applications (and especially in graduate school applications) is to present yourself as a coherent and compelling package of skills, attributes, and goals - and your letters are part of that package presentation. Seeing how you are presenting yourself though your materials enables me to buttress that presentation in my letters.

Reminders

If I have agreed to write you letters, and you have provided me with the above information, you are on my mind and in my calendar. However, sometimes things slip - do not be shy about sending me a reminder one week before and 48 hours before your deadline (in fact, I strongly recommend it). I will email you with a confirmation when I have submitted your letters.

Let me know what happens!

Finally, if I have written you a letter, that means I have invested a significant amount of time into trying to help you get into a career, internship, or graduate program. (Not to mention the amount of time I likely had you as a student or advisee.) Let me know how the applications go, if you got in, and where you will be attending school/accepting a job!