Guidelines for requesting a letter of recommendation

I am happy to write letters of recommendation for students I know and recognize.

Make yourself known to me

If you anticipate requesting a letter of recommendation, please put forth a strong effort to make yourself known to me as a student.

This includes doing things like:

  • Sitting near the front of the classroom, being engaged, and actively participating in class
  • In online classes: Keeping your webcam on and actively participating in class
  • Visiting me during office hours:
    • To ask questions to gain a deeper understanding of the material. This demonstrates your curiosity and drive to learn.
    • To ask for help with homework. This demonstrates your willingness to work hard and overcome obstacles.
    • To share about your ambitions, goals, or other interests.
    • When you make a visit in office hours, be sure to introduce yourself by name. You may need to do this several times until I begin to say hello to you by name.
  • Actively participating in class discussion forums (not anonymously) to show your ability to explain concepts and help others.

Requesting the letter

When making your request, please do it in person or via Zoom. If I agree to write your letter of recommendation, please send me an email with the following materials.

Materials

  • A short summary of who you are and how I should know you. If you have any stories that will help me remember you, that is also helpful. For example, "I always sat in the front row of 102A. One day we had a conversation about the video game Civilazation."
  • Printout or screen-capture of the grades you earned in my classes from CCLE. If you are able to include the actual assignment grades, that is also helpful.
  • Current UCLA transcript (unofficial is fine). If you are a transfer student and believe it could be helpful, you can include transcripts from your previous school.
  • Resume
  • A current picture of yourself
  • Link to your LinkedIn profile (if you have one)
  • Any other information you believe will be useful for writing a letter
  • A list of particular topics / stories that you would like me to mention in the letter. For example, your group did an impressive project in my Stats 131 class and I praised your work.

The email you send me (after I agree to writing your letter) should have the subject line in the following format: "Joe Bruin Recommendation Letter materials. First deadline: Dec 15 20XX"

In summary, I have a lot of students, so anything you can do to help me really remember who you are will be helpful.