Letters of Recommendation

If you need a recommendation or referral for study abroad, graduate school, a scholarship, or for a non-academic job, I am happy to assist you. Please consider first if I am the right person to ask for a letter. If you enrolled in one of my classes and earned a grade of “C” or lower, I won’t be able to attest to your academic excellence. If you did nothing more than just the required school and home work, I won’t be able to describe you as an outstanding student who “goes the extra mile.” Usually, a major adviser you worked closely with is much more suited as a recommender than a professor you had in a large general education class.

To discuss your person in a meaningful way in my letter, I require:

  • at least a week notice before the deadline;
  • the advertisement for the job or fellowship (a direct link to a website works).
  • the essay or statement that you are submitting to the institution or agency with your application or at least a description of what you are applying for and why you want to participate in or apply for it;
  • the name and title of the person(s) or committee to whom I am writing (unless I am merely filling in a form);
  • an addressed and stamped envelope for your hard-copy recommendation, if you give me a form or need an actual letter (Most institutions now ask references to complete an online form, in which case an envelope is unnecessary.);
  • a copy of your CV (curriculum vitae) or résumé – take a look at mine, if this is new to you;
  • a list of courses that you have taken with me (including the title of any papers or presentations);
  • any German-related extra-curricular activities in which you have participated (German Club, World Language Day, International Film Series, etc.) and give examples of your contribution to or initiative within those organizations.

Please use this form to relay this information to me.

Please know that I request this information, because it helps me personalize your letter and tailor it to your application. The more you help me, the more I can help you. Otherwise, the letter will be filled with common formulations, and frankly, meaningless platitudes, which selection committees will certainly recognize. In other words: if you can’t sell yourself to me, I can’t sell you to someone else.