Past success is the best indicator for future success. Therefore, it is common for programs to ask for letters of recommendation from other professionals.
Therefore, it is important to establish relationship with potential recommenders during the course of your academic career. Do not wait until your final semester to start finding recommenders.
When choosing who you should ask to write the letter of recommendation, we recommend a tier system.
1. Consider professors you have worked with on research/creative projects already.
2. Consider faculty members you have a good relationship with from your classes.
3. Consider if there are any professors within the area you are applying (but have less of an established relationship) who you could ask.
4. Consider professors outside of the discipline area.
5. Finally, consider professional staff.
When asking for a letter, be sure to give enough time for the recommender to write a thoughtful letter (a minimum of two weeks but sometimes they ask for more). Provide as much information about the program as possible including your resumé/CV and personal statement. This will help provide background for what you are saying and what the program is seeking.
If someone suggests that can’t write you a letter, it could be because they know they cannot write you a strong enough letter from their interactions with you. This could be due to limited professional interactions or because they do not want to write a less-than-stellar letter. If this happens, move to the next individual and build up your professional interactions with this individual if you plan to ask them for a letter later on.
It is okay to follow-up with your recommender prior to the deadline to remind them if they forgot. However, unless you are asked to do so, do not write a sample letter of recommendation for them.
Not sure how to document the student research/creativity that you have done at NKU? Check out our comprehensive guide!