It is that time of year, before the term begins or before it gets really hairy…this is the perfect time for students to think about their grad school options. My words of advice is to be organized. Most students will approach faculty in October or later and this is when professors are writing lots of students letters of reference for graduate school. Be organized. You should hopefully have put together a list of schools that you’re going to apply to. Remember to include more than one school with this list! You should have a sure bet school, the programs you would really like, and then the dream options.
How can you make this application process easier?
1. Ask professors weeks before the letters are due.
2. Provide us all the information we need.
This includes~ Who, What, Where, and When, Fill out all necessary forms. Really organized students provide me a Word or Excel file with the schools, deadlines, and any additional information.
I ask for a copy of your letter of intent and cv/resume. I might even meet with you and ask what your motivation is for continuing your education.
3. Remind us. Send an email a few days before a due date.
4. Thank us. This can be an email or a note. It’s not necessary to do more. Remember that your tenure line faculty actually get paid to mentor and do things like write letters. Keep in mind that part-time faculty do not get compensated for this extra work. Remember to thank them profusely–a card, bottle of wine or a face to face thank you is nice.
Good luck with this process! And, remember this process is nerve wracking!