Information I need from you:
I will need at least 3 to 4 weeks notice
for any letter of recommendation.
The less notice I receive from you, the more likely
I will say no or submit your letter late.
For undergraduates asking for a letter of recommendation
for graduate school/summer REU/scholarship
I require a grade of:
A for students in a large lecture class (50 or more students)
B or higher for students in smaller classes (25 or fewer students).
Exceptions will be made in very special circumstances.
You must waive your right
to see my letter.
Programs will not take my letter seriously if you have
access to it.
If you are worried about something I may write,
as you are consistantly late to class, do not always
attend class, you hand in homework
late, you never ask or answer questions in
class, etc. then
you should ask another professor
to write you a letter.
Be sure to
use my correct email
when you submit your electronic application.
Otherwise I will not receive the letter request.
A paper and electronic copy of:
Follow-up from you:
Current transcript (unofficial is okay)
Information about the program you are applying to
Tell me why you are applying and what makes you particularly qualified
for this scholarship/summer program/graduate program/etc.
A list of other individual(s) who are writing letters for you.
I don't want to replicate items in their letters.
Specific instructions as to where I should submit my letter.
Please remind me
one week before the due date
that the deadline is drawing near
if you have not received an email from your applicant site
or an email from me
stating that my letter has been submitted.
I may have gotten sidelined by some unforeseen
emergency, jury duty, or simply just forgot
since I have too many other things to juggle at the
Unfortunately students who have been asking me to write
letters for them recently
simply do not understand that my job entails
a lot more than
showing up to class and lecturing. A typical professor spends
60 to 70 hours per week
preparing classes, lecturing, grading, holding office hours,
serving on committees, reading job applications,
writing grant proposals, refereeing papers, doing outreach
As a mathematician, I also learn and discover new mathematics
which requires me to attend conferences, workshops,
give talks and host
I am very busy.
Please step back and count how many hours
you as a student
spend per week attending class, studying and doing homework.
Many of my guidelines have been inspired by guidelines
from other professors.
See the pages of:
Tom Roby, and