Thank you for reaching out to me about a letter of recommendation!
In general, letters from me will be most effective when relevant to either undergraduate study (study abroad, scholarships, etc.) or my professional area of expertise: English literature and composition.
In order to write the strongest possible letter, I will need a few things from you when you request the letter, at least three weeks prior to the letter’s due date:
When applying to graduate school, students sometimes ask about whether they should choose to waive their rights to access LOR files. This is a completely individual decision, but in general, a strong letter in which the student has waived their access rights weighs more favorably to graduate committees than a letter in which the student has maintained access. This is because they assume faculty will write with more candor in a confidential letter, and that your waiver of access is an expression of trust in your faculty and your past performance.
Like most faculty, if I cannot write you a strong letter of recommendation, I will let you know. Most students prefer to be told this honestly, so that they can pursue a strong letter from another faculty member. There are a few reasons a faculty member may be unable to write a strong letter of recommendation, including: