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Guidelines for Political Science and International Relations Students
Students frequently ask instructors for letters of recommendation for graduate school or for employment. Professors are willing and able to write these letters so don’t be afraid to ask. However, it is important that you understand a few things about the process.
First, be sure to ask the best person. Don’t just ask the professor who seems most approachable. Ask a professor who knows you well and has a positive impression of you as a student and as a person. Grades matter for graduate or law school, as the schools are looking for people who can speak to your academic potential.
Second, don’t ask for a letter “on the fly.” Visit the professor during his/her office hours (or make an appointment). Discuss the reasons for the letter and ask to use him/her as a reference. Another option is to email the professor with a polite request, the reasons why you are asking for the letter, and the information listed below.
Third, don’t ask for a letter to be written if you aren’t sure you will apply. These letters take time and faculty are asked to write many, many letters.
Fourth, provide all the information necessary to write a detailed letter. It is in your interest to provide the professor with all the information he or she needs to write a detailed and specific letter. This includes:
Fifth, it is not appropriate to offer or give a gift to a faculty member in exchange for or as a thank you for writing a letter of recommendation.
Finally, keep the letter-writer informed. Once the instructor has spent time writing a letter, s/he will be interested to know whether or not you were given the opportunity.
July 18, 2016
As part of her winter 2016 sabbatical project, Professor Polly Diven spent the month of February teaching and researching in Sri Lanka.
June 28, 2016
Many of our students are pursuing internships this spring/summer at a variety of Grand Rapids, DC, and international placements.
June 07, 2016
Khader Jabbar was one of two Grand Valley students who were recently selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship
June 07, 2016
Congratulations to Jiri Aberle, GVSU IR 2016, who won the Thomas Seykora Award for his "outstanding contribution to the campus community" and excellent academic standing.
June 07, 2016
Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 IR Scholarship for Study Abroad and Internship Abroad!
It’s not too late for Fall 2016! Come find out about internships for credit in Political Science and International Relations. Wednesday, August 31, 6-7:30 pm in Kirkhof 2266 *Summer...
Learn about study abroad, internships and careers. Eat pizza and socialize with your peers and professors. Open to current and prospective majors and minors. For more information...
Professor Diven will present her sabbatical research on Sri Lanka, including background on the history and culture of this "Pearl of the Indian Ocean." She will summarize her research into...