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

Outstanding Paper Award

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Outstanding Paper Award Submissions due by Thursday, March 12

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Scholarship Opportunities for 2020-21 for Political Science and International Relations Students

Alumnus Donor and Students Connect over Coffee

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Student scholarship winners meet with donor Tim Zeeb.

DEAN ANNOUNCES COMMENCEMENT MARSHALS FOR FALL 2019

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Dean Fred Antczak is pleased to announce that serving as commencement marshals will be Professor Polly Diven of Political Science and Jeff Kelly Lowenstein of the School of Communication.

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International Relations Students Simulate Response to Calamitous Global Event

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Democracy 101: Open Mic Night - LIB 100/201 APPROVED!

February 26, 2020 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

This intimate open-mic session invites students across GV to unplug think about the American Dream through spoken word, song, dance, etc. 

ReACT! presents: Like, Love, Lust, or Bust - LIB 100/201 APPROVED!

February 27, 2020 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Now that Valentine's Day celebrations (or lack thereof) have recently passed, here’s a chance to define the romance (or lack therof) in reationships in your life. How do you know whether...

Talk Back Tuesday - LIB 100/201 APPROVED!

March 10, 2020 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Join us for monthly discussions viewing and discussing current events and topics through modes of intersectionality. Held every second Tuesday of the month from 12pm to 1pm in KC 1201....

Democracy 101: The Opportunity Gap - LIB 100/201 APPROVED!

March 11, 2020 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Join us for this interactive session to explore the opportunity gap in America and how it prevents many in our country from achieving the American Dream. 

P.E.P. Talks Program - LIB 100/201 APPROVED!

March 11, 2020 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Peer Education and Prevention Talks (P.E.P. Talks) is a 90 minute program presented by Peer Educators who are GVSU students and are trained on understanding sexual assault and its impact on college...

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