How to ask for a letter of reference

An unenthusiastic reference can be worse than no reference at all. Adam Chapnick, writer for University Affairs and assistant professor of defence studies at the Royal Military College, blogged a few tips on how to ask for and secure the perfect referee. Here’s a sampling of his post which is available in full on the the UA website.

How to choose a referee:

– Create a shortlist of potential referees five or six weeks in advance of your deadline.

– Target people who are well known to the selection committee.

– Choose only people who know you. If they’re going to vouch for you in any meaningful way, your referee has to know (and like) the person behind the student number.

Be upfront — mention these three things when you initially approach your referee:

– Make it clear that you want a strong reference

– Be clear about why you want them to act as a reference and be sincere.

– Let them know you’re on a deadline.