Emails to Recommenders

Writing emails can be scary! Just know that the professor reading your email will probably skim/read it fast and likely won't catch your grammatical errors (but do try your best to make it polished). Here are some tips on writing emails to recommenders:

  • Ask recommenders >2 weeks from deadline

  • List key details in email, what you want them to mention, due dates, name of school/application

  • Attach relevant info such as resume, transcript, and your essays (your current draft is fine for this)

  • For a competitive application such as graduate school or NSF, you can specifically ask “will you write me a strong letter of recommendation?”

  • Be sure to spell recommender’s name correctly in your email and on your forms

    • I once applied for an internship, and incorrectly spelled the name.. He also somehow submitted the recommendation within 30 minutes of my request.. I didn’t get into the program.

Email Example:

Dear Professor (Insert Last Name),

Thank you for supporting me through my undergraduate studies at (insert undergrad school) and for providing a letter of recommendation for my graduate school applications. I am currently entering my second year at (insert grad school) in the (insert program, ex. Mechanical Engineering) PhD program and I am applying to the NSF GRFP this Fall. I feel that you know me and my work ethic very well. Would you be able to provide a strong letter of recommendation for this fellowship?

The deadline will be on Nov. 1, 2019 at 5PM. If you are able to submit a letter, I will enter your email in the portal, then you'll receive a submission link.

I have attached drafts of my Personal Statement, Research Statement, Transcripts, and CV.

Please let me know if you have any questions. I'd be happy to call or skype to talk more about this.

Thank you,

(Insert your name)