Requesting a Reference or Recommendation from Paul Wilson¶
I am often asked to write reference or recommendation letters, or otherwise act as a reference, for current and former students, whether for employment, fellowships/scholarships, or graduate school admission. Since it is in your best interest to receive the best possible recommendation or reference, I have prepared these guidelines to help optimize the process.
The first section helps you decide if I am the right person to provide this reference. If you have already decided this and/or I have already agreed, you can jump to the next section.
Choosing the Right Person¶
The very first question is whether or not I am the best person to write you the reference you want. If you think so, in your request for me to provide a recommendation, please write me a brief paragraph explaining why. Please include the following information, at a minimum:
- how long I have known you
- in what capacity/capacities I have known you
- if I have been a course instructor
- which courses and semesters
- what was the topic of any projects you did in the class
- if I know you through the UW-ANS
- when and in what capacity were you involved in ANS
From this information, you should then be able to also give me a clear picture of why I am the best person to write a compelling letter in support of your application. Based on some of the information below, indicate which of your qualities I am best able to highlight to support your application.
The strongest recommendations are possible only for people I have interacted with closely in some capacity beyond simply being a course instructor.
Why are you the right person for this opportunity¶
For each opportunity in which you would like me to act as a reference, please provide information about why you are the right/best person to fill that opportunity. This would include:
- description of opportunity, such as:
- job description/position listing
- graduate program description
- scholarship/fellowship qualifications
- resume or CV
- other supporting parts of your applications, for example:
- cover letter highlighting which of your accomplishments and experiences qualifies you for a job
- personal statement and/or research plan for a grad school or fellowship applications