Things to give your reference/letter writers in the Psychology Department
- Cover Letter: You should include a letter that explains the type of program that you are applying to (e.g. Clinical Psychology, Counseling Psychology, Educational Psychology, Research Psychology (e.g. cognitive, developmental, social, neuroscience, etc.). In addition, it is helpful to explain why you are applying to that particular program and you should include your research interests. It may be helpful to include your educational and career objectives. If you have conducted a research project and/or presented at a conference include the title of your work and a brief description. Also describe any research apprenticeship or research assistant experiences.
- Resume: You should include a resume or list of recent accomplishments and/or employment. Please include your undergraduate GPA as well.
- List of Courses: Include a list of courses that you have taken from the professor with the semester and year taken included. You should also include the grade that you received in that course.
- List of Graduate Schools, Programs, and Deadlines: It is beneficial to include an organized list of the schools that you are applying to, what the program is (M.A., Ph.D., etc.), and deadline that the school gives. You should also include a column indicating the “instructions” – if the professor should give the letter back to you or send it directly to the school using the provided addressed envelope. On this document, it is most helpful to list the schools in order of when the letters are due. Here is an example of how you may organize this:
|December 15, 2005||University of _______||Social Psychology, Ph.D.||Please complete the enclosed forms and send the letter directly to the school via the addressed envelope.|
|December 30, 2005||University of _______||Social Psychology, Ph.D.||Please complete the enclosed forms, seal and sign the envelope and give the letter back to me.|
|January 8, 2005||University of _______||Social Psychology, M.A.||Please complete the enclosed forms and send the letter directly to the school via the addressed envelope.|
- Forms and Access to Information Waiver: Some universities require that your professor fill out a standardized evaluation form in addition to a recommendation letter. Complete the identifying information on the form before giving it to your professor. The school will probably want your name and the program you are applying to. Some forms require that you decide whether to waive access to the information that your professor is providing about you. Choose whichever option you feel comfortable with, but your professor may prefer that any information that he or she provides remain confidential.
- Addressed Envelope: Clearly identify if the letter is being sent directly to the university or if it needs to be given back to you. If it is to be given back to you, write the name of the university somewhere on the envelope so you will know which school the envelope should be sent to. Remember that any reference letter that is given to a student recipient is generally required to be in a sealed envelope.
- Check Back: It is helpful to check back with the professor one week before the letter is due to make sure that they are going to meet the reference letter deadline.