Recommendation Letter Requests: The Standardized Email Reply

If you are like me, you regularly receive recommendation letter requests from current or prior students. I’ve created a standardized reply to such requests, and it has simplified my work life. I’ve pasted the text below. Feel free to copy, alter , or ignore it.


I can usually provide a recommendation or reference letter under the following conditions:

  • The deadline for me to submit the letter is at least two weeks from the time I receive the information requested below.
  • You were a student in at least one of my courses or interacted with me in some other significant academic capacity.
  • You have waived your right to view the letter that I submit. If you do not believe that I will write an accurate letter of recommendation, you should not be asking me for one.

For me to write an effective letter, I need you to provide me with the following information:

  • What is the letter for, how do I send it, and to whom do I send it?
  • Copies of your resume and cover letter/personal statement essay that explains how this opportunity fits into your academic/career goals and the benefits you expect to gain from it.
  • A brief description of two or three experiences that were especially meaningful to you in the course(s) you took with me.

Once I have the information listed above, I will try to email you within two business days to let you know if I can write the letter. Please send a second email if you don’t hear back from me after two business days.