Chapter Six: Letters of Recommendation and Sending Transcripts

When we last left our hero, Sir Stu had finished drafting and submitting his resume.

Today, Stu wanted to do something very important: ask people for letters of recommendation! But who would Stu ask? And when would he ask them?

“Most graduate programs require two to three letters of recommendation from people who can attest to the student’s potential for success in a graduate program” said Sir Internet, a great friend of Sir Stu. Who could best attest to Stu’s academic potential? Why his professors of course! So he sought out his favorite professors, with whom he had done any of the following things:

  1. Gotten to know well by taking their class, doing well, and going to office hours
  2. Done research for
  3. Been advised by
  4. Took their class, participated, and earned an A

He contacted two of these professors (for schools that required three recommendation letters, he would seek out, if possible, someone whom he had worked under in a professional environment) to ask for a letter of recommendation. He did this as early as possible, at least two months in advance, to ensure that his recommenders had enough time to write him a good letter. He also made sure to tell them by when the letter would be due, and reminded them of this due date a few weeks in advance, if the letter had not been received yet.

Some of these professors and/or employers would ask to read his personal statement or resume (or both!) in order to write him a good letter. They might also have asked to see his transcript, of which Stu had an unofficial copy handy from back when he was filling out his application forms. Stu quickly provided his recommenders with these items.

Next, Stu decided that he would send his official transcripts to his schools. Recall that Rutgers would send two transcripts for free, and each additional transcript would cost him $7 a piece. Although Rutgers mailed out transcripts quite efficiently, Sir Stu decided that he would send them out relatively early, before the end of the fall semester of his senior year, so that they would arrive on time, and so if any issues came up, Sir Stu would have adequate time to address them. He gathered the addresses of his graduate programs’ admissions offices, and sent off his transcripts. He received email alerts when they were sent, and when they were received.

Stu had now fed two more heads on the graduate school many-headed monster.

What would Sir Stu do next?

Read on tomorrow, as the journey continues…