Q: Who should write my letters of recommendation?

Q: Who should write my letters of recommendation?

A: We require two letters of recommendation for each applicant. Who writes the letters is completely up to you.

Deciding who to ask to write your letters of recommendation can be a tricky process. Should you ask undergrad professors? Your current boss? A former boss? What about a coworker? Or friend? Your mom?

While we are sure that your best friend or your mom would write a stellar recommendation letter, unfortunately they are not who we are looking to hear from on your behalf. Rather, we recommend that you consider faculty members, advisors, an internship supervisor, or employer. Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to your letters of recommendation:

  • Generally, the person(s) writing your letters of recommendation should know you well, know your work, have a high opinion of you, know to where you are applying (nothing like receiving a letter of recommendation for an applicant that was intended for another MA program…) know your educational and career goals, be able to write a well-written letter, etc.
  • Obviously there are very few people in the world that will cover all these criteria (read: best friend and mom), so consider asking people who can cover your overall skill set.
  • Your referrals will likely evaluate you on things such as your ability to work with others and alone, creativity, dedication, leadership, integrity, organizational skills, social skills, maturity, initiative, etc.
  • Ask early – the last thing you want to have happen is for someone who you know would write the absolute best letter of recommendation for you to decline because of lack of time. Or, imagine if the professor you want to ask is on sabbatical? Or, imagine if you are the 100th former student to ask the professor for a letter of recommendation just in one semester? Ask your recommenders early!
  • Ask before you provide their information – the way our online application system works, once you input a recommender’s email address, they will receive an automated email with instructions on how to submit their letter on your behalf.

You know you love us.


Josef Korbel School Office of Graduate Admissions Team


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