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Recommendation Letter Instructions

Instructions for Student Letters of Recommendation

Chris Lovelace, Ph.D.
Shepherd University Department of Psychology

I am happy to write recommendation letters for Shepherd University Psychology majors whom I know reasonably well and about whom I can say some good things. These letters are an important element of your application for graduate study. As such, you’ll want your writers to be faculty who know you well and can speak to your many strengths and fitness for graduate study.

To help me do this, you should give me as much supporting information as you can that will help. For example, if you took a class from me, remind me of that fact, and the grade you received.
If you’ve worked in my lab, make a list of some of the things you’ve
done. If you were active in, and in particular an officer of, a student organization I advise, be sure to remind me of that.

Please note, I usually require at least three weeks to write a letter of recommendation. If your application deadline is sooner than that, I may not have enough time. Get in touch with me to see.

If you would like for me to write a letter for you, then you should
do the following:

  1. Send me an e-mail politely asking whether I would be willing and able to write a letter for you. (If I don’t think I will be able to write a strong letter, then I may decline.)
  2. Make sure that I’ll have at least three weeks (preferably longer) before the first letter must be submitted. If it must be in sooner than that, go ahead and contact me, anyway.
  3. If I agree to write a letter then you should bring me a packet (or send electronic docs) containing the following items:
    1. a copy of your transcript (unofficial is okay),
    2. a copy of your personal statement (written for your one of your applications)–this will give me some indication of why you are applying,
    3. a list of all the places you’re applying, with the name of the university, department, and program (e.g., “University of Missouri – Kansas City, Psychology, Ph.D. in clinical health psychology”),
    4. for each program, indicate the application due date, and order the list by order of due date with the soonest dates first,
    5. a list of all classes you’ve taken from me, including the semester in which it was taken and grade you received,
    6. a list of your accomplishments at Shepherd, including any club or organization memberships and officer positions held, research done with faculty, publications, conference presentations, and any other great stuff you’ve done I can focus on in my letter,
    7. for programs that have a form that I must fill out online, send me an electronic document that contains each link (so I can just copy & paste, vs. having to type it in),
    8. for programs that have a form that must be mailed, supply two copies of the form and an envelope (stamped and addressed if I’m to send it to them, with your name and the name of the school if I’m to give it to you),
    9. for programs that do not have a standard form, indicate this on the list.
  4. You may send me gentle reminders prior to the deadlines (but not more than once a week).