Reference Letters

It is the reference letter season and I will write here what I often find myself repeating to students working with me on projects.

Good communication skills, good work discipline and grit are just as important as intelligence in an employee or grad. student. A student who is very good academically, but who doesn’t show up on time or write up their research findings, or doesn’t have the curiosity to take the prof’s to do list one step further is not going to get the top marks.

Note that ideally, you should have at least one solid references saying that “you were great in this course/project”, which will depend on all of the above aspects of (research) working together.

If you ask a reference letter from me, please read below:

  • Write a skeleton for me so I dont have to ask on email your grades, GPA, ….  E.g. Al is graduating from the CS program. Her current GPA is …. She has taken … from me and received …. grades. She wants to do ……
  • I know some of you worry about how to write something good about yourselves, I expect an objective plus statement. That is, write mostly facts, but feel free to write a line or two about your strengths, that I may not know of.