Letters of Recommendation

Before asking me for a letter of recommendation, please read this in full.

Letters are important.

As you may be aware, a good letter of recommendation can help your application stand out from a pool of candidates. When I can write a strong letter in support of a student, I am always happy to do so. I believe that my role in helping you shape your future does not end when we leave the classroom, and like many faculty, I take great pleasure in helping former students succeed.

Help me help you.

Writing good letters is time-consuming (one letter can take hours to write), and I get many requests to write them. If you want a strong letter from me, it is important that you:

Please note that a letter from me will not help you if I can't write you a strong one. Be prepared for the possibility that I will suggest that you seek a stronger letter writer than me. Of course, having taken a class with me helps me to know you, especially if I observed you grow during our time together. However, be aware that my best letters are often reserved for students with whom I have worked with more closely. Students who have

can often get very strong letters from me. Note that the above generally holds true for other faculty.

How to ask for a letter.

To request a letter of recommendation, please do the following in this order:

  1. Fill out this form.
  2. Send me an email with your request. Be sure to include your CV/resume.

I will acknowledge your request once both things have been done. The purpose of this exercise is not to throw arbitrary hurdles at you, but instead to help me write you the best letter that I can.

Letters are about trust.

Letters of recommendation form a kind of "currency of trust" among academics and prospective employers. I take the responsibility seriously not to misrepresent a student's abilities. Doing so does not help prospective employers/other academics, and it reflects poorly on me. By requesting a letter from me, you are giving me permission to freely discuss my interactions with you here at Williams, including items from your academic record, like grades, and in cases where I have knowledge of such things, outcomes of disciplinary hearings.