Keeping in touch and letters of recommendation

One of the best parts of being a professor at McGill is being able to teach McGill students. I also love to hear about what my students end up doing after they leave McGill, and to help my students take the next step in their lives after McGill.

All this is to say that if you took a class or classes with me, and felt you got something out of it, please do get in touch to let me know! Likewise, if you think a letter of recommendation from me would be helpful for a job application or application to graduate school, I’m usually more than happy to oblige.

If you’d like to request a letter of recommendation from me, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. How well do I know you? How many classes have you taken with me? Were they smaller lecture, larger lecture, or seminar classes? For me to write a strong letter of recommendation, I have to be able to say something specific about you as an individual student that goes beyond the grade you received in my class.
  2. How soon do you need the letter? Especially if it is the first time you are asking me to write a letter for you, I need as much lead time as possible, so please do not delay in reaching out to me about the possibility of writing a letter. At a minimum, I would ask that you contact me at least four weeks before the letter of recommendation is due, if not earlier. When writing me, be very clear about the due date for the letter.
  3. Have you provided me with the materials I need to write the letter? Generally, in order to write a strong letter of recommendation, I need students to provide me with the following materials:
    • Your current, up-to-date CV;
    • Your cover letter or personal statement for the job/program to which you are applying;
    • Your current (unofficial) McGill transcript; and
    • A writing sample

If you have questions about any of this, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Again, reiterating point #2, the sooner you can do this, the better!

And one final note: if I do agree to write you a letter, please don’t be shy about reminding me about the deadline! I try my best to stay on top of my deadlines, but despite my best efforts, some things fall through the cracks sometimes. I promise I will not be annoyed at all if you send me e-mail reminders as we approach the due date for your letter.