Skip to main content

Letter of Recommendation

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:

  • a description of the job or graduate program and an explanation of your interest
  • a signed FERPA release form (click for form)
  • a signed letter of recommendation form from LSDAS if you are applying to law school
  • a resume that includes your GPA and appropriate extracurricular activities
  • a reminder about specific courses you took from or papers you wrote for the instructor
  • any other information that would be helpful and relevant to include
  • clearly note the deadline and provide information about delivery
    • How should it be sent?
    • if you are using regular mail, include a stamped, addressed envelope

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.

News

Paul B. Henry Congressional Internship

Paul B. Henry Congressional Internship

January 18, 2017

The Henry Internship places a GVSU student in the Washington, D.C. offices of one of Michigans U.S. Representatives or Senators during the spring/summer 2017 session.

Professor Walhof's Book: The Democratic Theory of Hans-Georg Gadamer

Professor Walhof's Book: The Democratic Theory of Hans-Georg Gadamer

January 17, 2017

Walhofs book examines the distinctive contribution that the writings of Hans-Georg Gadamer make to democratic theory.

Scholarships from the Grand Rapids Sister City Perugia Committee

Scholarships from the Grand Rapids Sister City Perugia Committee

December 13, 2016

Two visiting students from the University of Perugia receive scholarships from the Grand Rapids Sister City Perugia Committee

GVSU Interns in Washington DC, Fall 2016

GVSU Interns in Washington DC, Fall 2016

October 25, 2016

Washington Center Interns Fall 2016

GVSU IR Grad Working on Clinton Campaign

GVSU IR Grad Working on Clinton Campaign

October 10, 2016

GVSU 2011 IR graduate Kelly McCurdy is working on the Clinton campaign in Pennsylvania.

View More News

Events

International Relations Students Study Abroad and Internships Abroad Scholarships

International Relations Students Study Abroad and Internships Abroad Scholarships

February 13, 2017 All Day

Three grants of $500 each will be awarded to International Relations majors and minors who plan to study abroad in the Spring/Summer 2017, Fall 2017, or 2017-18 academic year. Grants may be applied...

Summer Orientation Assistant

Summer Orientation Assistant

February 13, 2017 All Day

The application for the Summer Orientation Assistant position is now available.  It has been posted online at Laker Jobs and is attached below. The deadline to apply is Monday, February...

Outstanding Paper Award

Outstanding Paper Award

March 14, 2017 All Day

The Department of Political Science and International Relations program are holding our fourth annual Outstanding Paper Award competition. We invite all students who major or minor (including...

Miller Johnson Michigan Diversity Scholarship

Miller Johnson Michigan Diversity Scholarship

April 1, 2017 All Day

Miller Johnson West Michigan Diversity Law School Scholarship Students of color (African American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islander) accepted to or presently attending an accredited...

Warner Norcross & Judd, LLP Minority Scholarship

Warner Norcross & Judd, LLP Minority Scholarship

April 1, 2017 All Day

Warner Norcross & Judd Law School Scholarship Students of color accepted to or presently attending an accredited law school within the US with a permanent residence in Michigan or attending...

View all Events