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Letter of recommendation

  1. Nov 18, 2009 #1
    OK, here's the situation. I'm applying to college this year, and my research professor is keen to write me a letter of recommendation and I had already prepared my CV.

    But now I'm feeling a little nervous because my CV is sort of, generalized, with lots of activities/distinctions that are not related to the research project, so I'd feel bad making him sieve through the whole thing to pick out those which he has a part to say in.

    1. He mentioned to "supply him the details of what we have done over the course of our research"... I guess it's basically to give him a plan of what to write, just what I need. But how should I write this? Like a resume with a short, 1-2 sentence description of each key point? Like a short essay/personal statement?

    2. Do you usually describe yourself in 3rd person in these?

    3. I read a guide on writing recommendation letters, and it seems it's a norm to focus on my personal qualities, too. Am I supposed to... 'hint' which personal qualities I'd want him to talk about, knowing roughly what my college is interested in finding out about me? If I am, how should I do this? It would be really silly if I wrote things like, "<my name> displayed <characteristic> in..." And I'm actually confident that he knows what to do here without me supplying any further detail, since he should be used to it in his job already, but I just need assurance here.

    Thanks in advance (:
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 18, 2009 #2
    He doesn't want you to write the letter for him, just to remind him about your major contributions to the project. I'd write it like a resume, with bullet points for your main accomplishments. If there is some interesting story that you'd like him to use, by all means write a bit more about it so he'll be familiar with the details.

    I'd also shy away from using the 3rd person, but that's just me.

    Finally, if there is some personal quality you feel that he needs to stress for some reason, mention it. If you don't have a compelling reason though, just trust that he will do the right thing for you.

    And of course be grateful that he is so keen to write you a good letter!
  4. Nov 18, 2009 #3
    OK, I will write it in resume form and 1st person as suggested! Ah OK, good to hear that it's OK to write a short story/mention personal qualities if necessary. Thanks a lot, problem solved.

    Yes I'm really glad that he's willing to help me... I did think that maybe one day someone else would ask me to write a letter for him/her, and I'd surely follow his example and extend my help.
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