Requesting a reference letter from me

Reference letters

You should only consider asking me for a reference letter for your graduate school applications if you have worked on a research project with me, or:

  • You took an upper-level course from me; and
  • Your performance in the course was significantly above the class's average; and
  • You had the opportunity to have some conversations with me, either in class or outside class; and
  • The conversations were not only about the assignment questions, but also about the course material and related concepts; and
  • You meet the minimum requirements of the program (e.g. GPA) you are applying to, and significantly exceed them if the program is highly competitive (e.g. if you are applying for an MMath program in the C&O or CS departments at Waterloo, your overall average should be well above the minimum requirement of 78%, and you should have taken some challenging fourth-year courses).

If any of these conditions are not satisfied then it will be difficult for me to write anything but the most generic letterĀ that will primarily repeatĀ things that are already in your transcripts. A generic letter won't help your case much, and will likely hurt your chances of getting accepted to a competitive program.

If I do agree to write a letter for you, please send me the following information.

  • Your university transcripts.
  • Your resume.
  • A statement of your research interests and plans for graduate studies.
  • A list of programs that you are applying to that includes the name of the university, the degree, the name and type of the program (e.g. course-based Master's, thesis-based Masters, PhD), and the deadline for completing the letter.
  • Please give me at least 2 weeks notice.
  • Any other information that you think could help me write a stronger letter (e.g. relevant co-op experience, side projects, research assistantships). I am willing to meet with you to discuss these things.