Guidelines for Requesting a Letter of Recommendation—Musicology Division, TTU

One of the perks of being a professor is that we have the honor of recommending our students for graduate programs, teaching positions, awards, jobs, and all kinds of things. However, this is a time-consuming activity—at certain times of the year we may literally be asked to write between 10-20 letters in a relatively short amount of time.

In order to facilitate this, we in the Musicology Division of the Texas Tech School of Music respectfully request that when asking for a recommendation, please observe the following guidelines.

1. First of all, please consider whether you have asked the right faculty person to recommend you.

If the professor’s interaction with you was limited to one class four years ago in which you were one of over a hundred students, that is probably not the right person. Choose someone who knows your most recent work, especially work that is related to the program, position, or job that you are seeking, and someone who has interacted with you directly on many occasions. In most cases, most appropriate people to ask will be the chair of your thesis committee, members of your thesis committee, primary applied teacher, ensemble directors, or others who have mentored you directly.

2. Please give your recommender the following information about yourself:
  • Most recent CV (if you don’t have one, you’re not ready to apply for jobs or programs). Make sure that your CV includes the DATES of your accomplishments, prior degrees, graduation from TTU, et cetera.
  • Some “talking points.” What do you especially want them to know about you? What awards, performances, publications, research areas, etc. would you like me to emphasize?

3. Please give your recommender the following information about the recipient of the letter:
  • If it is a job, please send the job posting.
  • If it is an academic program, please give your recommender a sentence or two about the degree program. Why have you chosen this school/workshop/program?
  • The preferred format of the recommendation – will they contact the recommender electronically, which is the most frequent method these days, or should he or she send an e-mailed letter, or a hard copy?
  • The name of the person or office to whom the recommendation letter should be addressed
  • If a hard copy is needed, the complete address to whom it should be mailed.

The above will greatly facilitate the process, and we appreciate it. If we have to spend forty-five minutes searching the web for the above information, that is forty-five minutes we could have been spending on your letter itself.

Writing letters for students and colleagues is a very important part of our job, and one that we take very seriously. Thanks for helping us in our attempts to bring about the best possible result for you and your future career.