Dept. of Linguistics, UCLA
I'm usually a pretty good sport about doing this. Here are bits of
advice to help make the process go smoothly.
If possible, come tell me in person what your general plans are, so I'll
have background for writing the letter.
Put on paper what you are applying for, with addresses.
On the same document, remind me of what courses you took from me, and when.
Include copies of any material from the institution(s) you are applying to
that would help me to write a more focused letter.
Include all forms I have to fill out. If there are blank lines that
you can fill in in advance, that saves me a bit of time. (And a
letter-writer who is not pressed for time is a better letter-writer...)
If you have written term papers for me and still have copies, include
Xeroxes of these papers. I will reread them and make them part of the basis
of my letter.
In the paper document mentioned about, note all applicable deadlines,
using 36-point type.
If you like, as the deadline approaches, you can ask me if I've sent the
letter(s). I will not be offended by such requests. I'd
rather put up with being pestered than suffer the embarrassment of getting
your letter in late.
In general, I strive to write the most positive letter I possibly can, without
doing violence to the truth. If you want to know roughly what my letter
would be like, you can ask me in advance.
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