Letters 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

Chelsea Kendziorski's Research Published In Pi Sigma Alpha: The Undergraduate Journal of Politics

Chelsea Kendziorski's Research Published In Pi Sigma Alpha: The Undergraduate Journal of Politics

July 16, 2015

Recent PLS graduate, Chelsea Kendziorski, has had an article published in Pi Sigma Alpha's Undergraduate Journal

Veronica Beltran Receives Thomas M. Seykora Award for Outstanding Contribution

Veronica Beltran Receives Thomas M. Seykora Award for Outstanding Contribution

May 05, 2015

Political Science and Spanish major, Veronica Beltran, is a recipient of the Seykora Award

Quinlyn Mork Receives Excellence-in-a-Discipline Award

Quinlyn Mork Receives Excellence-in-a-Discipline Award

May 05, 2015

Graduating Senior, Quinlyn Mork, was recognized as the outstanding student majoring in Political Science

Andrew Plague Presented with Kenneth R. Venderbush Student Leadership Award

Andrew Plague Presented with Kenneth R. Venderbush Student Leadership Award

May 05, 2015

Political Science Major, Andrew Plague, is the 2015 recipient of the Venderbush Award

Model EU

Model EU

April 20, 2015

GVSU students travel to Indiana University for Model EU.

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Events

International Relations Open House

International Relations Open House

September 16, 2015 5:00 PM - 6:15 PM

Calling all Business Majors!! Consider adding an INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS Major or Minor to your degree! For more information please click the link below: International Relations...

Political Science and International Relations Mixer

Political Science and International Relations Mixer

September 23, 2015 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Career and internship information will be provided. Prospective majors/minors welcome! Please click the link below for more information: Political Science and International Relations Mixer 2015

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