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Requesting Letters of Recommendation

When you apply for work or graduate school, you will likely be asked to submit letters of recommendation from your professors. The following guidelines will help you get good letters of recommendation from your CCJS professors:

Reach out to the CCJS professors who know you well and find out if they would be willing to write you a letter of recommendation. They are in the best position to evaluate your capabilities and potentials. While any professor may write you a letter of recommendation, you need someone who will write you a strong letter of recommendation. Use the following questions as guide in choosing whom to ask:

  • Did I take more than one class with the professor?
  • Did I perform well in the professor’s classes?
  • Did I work with the professor outside of his/her classes (e.g. doing an independent research or working as a teaching assistant)?
  • Did the professor serve as my faculty advisor?
  • Did the professor see my growth as a student?

Make the request as soon as possible — ideally, at least 2 months before the letters of recommendation are due. Keep in mind that your CCJS professors have very busy schedules and get many requests from students to write letters of recommendation. The earlier you make the request, the more likely that they will say yes.

If your CCJS professors agree to write you a letter of recommendation, provide them with the following information:

  1. your updated resume
  2. your cumulative GPA and SSU GPA
  3. the CCJS classes that you took with the professor and your final grade in those CCJS classes
  4. the job position or graduate program that you are applying for
  5. the qualifications for the job position or the graduate program
  6. a brief statement of why you think you are the best candidate for the job position or the graduate program
  7. the full name, title, and position of the addressee (e.g. Captain Robert J. Morris, Chief of Police)
  8. the complete mailing address of the addressee
  9. the deadline for submitting the letter of recommendation
  10. instructions for submitting the letter of recommendation 

If your letter of recommendation has not been submitted a week before it is due, send your CCJS professors a friendly reminder of the deadline for submission.

Do not assume that your CCJS professors will agree to write you a letter of recommendation.  Never list a professor as a reference or someone who can provide a recommendation  without his or her permission.