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Writing a Letter of Reference

Writing a letter of reference is an important and time-consuming responsibility. The best letters paint a picture of that person in concrete terms—how and when you knew the referee and your assessment of those encounters. Giving a concrete example is very powerful. Please be advised that asking the student for a resume, transcript or samples of work from your class can really assist you in writing and an effective letter. You can find a sample of a reference form below:

  • Faculty Reference Form [Word] [PDF]

Some faculty/staff prefer to write a letter on departmental stationery. Either way is fine. Remember to keep a copy of any reference you write for often students will ask for a new reference after several years.

All reference information should be based on firsthand knowledge and, if possible, written documentation. When providing information, you should avoid personal matters (e.g., marital status, health, disabilities, race, religion, etc.) that by law should not be included in employment decisions, even if you believe that such information might enhance the student's candidacy.

If you would like resources on how to construct a letter of recommendation, please click on any of the sites below.

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