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.
February 05, 2016
Registration for Student Scholars Day is opening soon! REMEMBER: it is so important that you showcase your academic work! Do not miss this amazing opportunity!
January 26, 2016
The Political Science Department is proud to announce Professor Miller-Adam's research was a leading influence in the White House this past week! Download her book here!
January 22, 2016
The Political Science Department is proud to announce the publication of Professor Donald Zinman's book: The Heir Apparent Presidency
December 15, 2015
The Kutsche Office of Local History at Grand Valley State University, building on the work of Professor Andy Schlewitz, received a Common Heritage Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to collect oral histories of Michigan migrant workers.
November 17, 2015
Political Science minor Mollie Smith founds BRCAn't Stop Me.
The Department of Political Science and International Relations program are holding our third annual Outstanding Paper Award competition. We invite all students who major or minor (including...
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Though 70% of Americans believe the U.S. should prevent mass atrocities world wide, according to a recent study by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, how do we do it? Dr. O'Bannon discusses...
Career Fair is for Everyone! First & Second Year Students: explore job titles, career paths & employers Juniors: meet employers & learn about internship opportunities Seniors &...