LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION & REFERENCES

  Updated June 19, 2017

The following guidelines will be strictly adhered to.

  1. Requests for recommendation letters will not be honored unless you completed my course(s) with a minimum grade of "A-".  This includes recommendations for summer internships, scholarships, study abroad programs, medical/dental/ pharmacy/ law/professional school and employment (GMU and elsewhere).
  2. If you have not taken a course from me and/or I have not served as your advisor, then you should seek out someone else to write your letter of recommendation (LOR). 
  3. Online requests for recommendations without my prior knowledge will not be entertained.  You must get my permission to submit my name to the requestor prior to them sending me an e-mail.  Failure to do so will result in an automatic deletion of the e-mail request.
  4. Requests and my agreement to write the LOR must be reached well in advance of the deadline.   Last minute requests because you "discovered" a program that you want to apply to will not be advanced to the top of the queue of LOR's currently waiting to be written. After meeting with you and discussing the program(s) you are applying to, I will not complete additional online recommendations (or otherwise) that you "discover" after the fact and request notices be sent to my Inbox.
  5. As a rule of thumb, you should meet with me in person at least six (6) to eight (8)  weeks prior to the deadline to discuss the LOR and program requirements, etc. in order that an agreement/understanding might be reached.  If you completed my course(s) several semesters ago, a meeting is certainly necessary to refresh my memory.
  6. If I am unable to write a strong LOR for you I will not write one at all.    FYI, some general areas that evaluation forms require our assessment of you are:  intellectual ability, social interactions, project and time management, communication skills, emotional maturity and character, observational or aesthetic appreciation, and manual or tactile skills.
  7. All necessary paperwork and forms should be delivered to me in a folder with your name and deadline date(s) on it, along with SASE as directed by the program being applied to at least four (4) weeks prior to the official deadline.  It is your responsibility to ensure that all forms are in order and properly signed before you leave them with me.  I will not chase you down because of an oversight on your part.  Your failure to follow directions, resulting in a delay of the  process and positional change in the LOR queue, does not constitute an emergency on my part.  For example, if you request a LOR to be written to the Pre-Health Advisory Committee and fail to indicate which program you are applying to, then it will be impossible for me to write the LOR and assess whether or not you are a suitable candidate.  If you cannot follow the directions on the form, then you are probably NOT a suitable candidate.  Case in point.... you must specify whether you are applying for allopathic or osteopathic medicine. 
  8. I will not deliver a copy of the recommendation letter to you to be used without my knowledge, so do not ask for one. Letters will not be written for students that do not waive their rights (see #6 above). Recommendation/Evaluation Request Forms generally have a section similiar to the following: To the APPLICANT: The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (1974) and Public Law 93.390 allow you a choice regarding access to letters requested after January 1, 1975. Because letters submitted in confidence carry greater weight, it is suggested that the right to access be waived." Make sure you are checking the correct box on the form.
  9. I WILL NOT WRITE AN UNLIMITED NUMBER OF LETTERS FOR ANY STUDENT in a given period of time.  You must decide on the program(s) you are most interested in and narrow the choices down before you meet with me.  You must be considerate and remember that you are not the only students (i.e., most recent CHEM 212 STUDENTS) that are requesting LOR's.  If you need help "pruning" your list it will be done. 
  10. If a program changes an official deadline, it is your responsibility to notify me in writing, preferably via e-mail marked URGENT.  Make sure you know the actual deadlines.  Some programs require that the LOR be postmarked by a certain date whereas other require that the LOR be received by a certain date.
  11. If a critical deadline is approaching and you have a concern about the status of your LOR a reminder email is certainly in order. Your letter is not the only one in the queue and friendly reminders are encouraged.
  12. Do not, under any circumstances, list my name on your job applications or resume as a reference without clearing it with me first.  If I am contacted and there is an inquiry regarding your academics or work ethics, etc., I will decline to answer the question and inform the caller that  (1) you did not have my permission to list me as a reference and (2) did not inform me of the nature of any job being applied for.  I will not lie for you.