Reference Letters
So you want to go to grad school...

I often have the privilege of being asked to provide references for students applying to grad school. This page lists some things you should keep in mind if you're considering asking me for such a reference. I can generally only write letters for students who've taken one of my classes and done well (in general, A– or better letter grade).

Helpful Documents

Please send the following information and documents, so I can quickly determine whether I can write a strong and enthusiastic letter in support of your application:

  1. Transcript ("unofficial" is great) and a reminder about which class(es) you took with me
  2. Updated resume or CV
  3. Any statement of purpose, essay, or writing sample you're planning to send departments
  4. A (plain, headshot) photo, as sadly I often have trouble matching names to faces
  5. A list of departments and institutions to which you're applying
  6. Your motivation for pursuing further education, in case we have not discussed this in person previously: what do you hope to achieve by pursuing a MA or PhD degree, what type of career path you're envisioning (academic, government, industry), etc.

Based on these documents and our previous discussions, I might have more questions before I can decide whether a letter from me would be helpful.

Other Considerations

I generally offer these pieces of advice to students looking to go to grad school. Your mileage may vary. Caveat emptor.

This is a great time to be a quantitative social scientist!

Best of Luck!

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