How do I approach potential letter writers? First, make a list of professors and/or supervisors who will be your best advocates. Then, set up an appointment to discuss your request in person. Do not make the request via email. Be prepared to articulate your interest and reasons for attending graduate school. Letters of recommendation are written strictly on a voluntary basis. The best approach is to ask potential letter writers if they are willing to write you a strong letter. If you sense reluctance or the answer is no, ask someone else.
Writing a letter of recommendation can be intimidating, especially because the person you’re writing it for is counting on you to pull through for them. Fortunately, there’s a general formula you can use to write a letter of recommendation that is both professional and effective.