Recommendations and Transcripts

Advice for Requesting Recommendations

  • A useful reference for what fellowships are looking for in a recommendation can be found at and shared with your recommender
  • Request letters of recommendation immediately. One month’s advance notice is the standard etiquette. Provide recommenders with the description of the fellowship and any application essay drafts you have available.
  • When requesting a recommendation in person or by email, be sure to ask the professor directly: “Do you think you can provide a positive recommendation for me?” Any hesitation should encourage you to consider alternatives.
  • Ask professors who have taught you classes in which you have earned an A.
  • Stick to having professors write your recommendations unless the application specifically requires something else.
  • Ask professors to speak to your maturity and ability to perform well under the circumstances of the fellowships
  • Develop relationships with professors throughout your academic career. Visit office hours to discuss the course material and the profession, even if you are not struggling in the course.
  • Pursue research or internship opportunities that your professors recommend or sponsor. The best recommendations come from professors who have seen you doing significant independent research and projects.
  • You will often be asked to “waive your right” to see your recommendation. You MUST waive this right. In general, waiving rights does not feel right, but in this case, it’s the appropriate choice. If you want to discuss this further, contact the fellowships advisor.
  • One week before the recommendation is due, gently remind your recommender by email if you have not yet received it.
  • Always send a THANK YOU NOTE to recommenders after the process is over and let them know the outcome if you win.

Requesting Transcripts

Simple: just go to Request transcripts at least seven working days before the due date to ensure they arrive in time.