Sunday, October 17, 2010

Letters of Rec

It's that time of year again, and when school applications are due, so are letters of rec. There are some things you can do to make it easier on your would-be recommenders.

Some tips and suggestions regarding letters of rec, IF a school requires them (not all schools do):

-ask for letters from people who know your artistic practice, your character, and your potential to excel in a graduate school environment.

-if you are asking for a letter from someone you have not seen in over a year, be prepared to put in the effort necessary to get that person up to speed with your practice and intentions (talk to them, show them your work, explain your reasons for wanting to go to grad school and why THAT school in particular, etc...).

-provide your recommender with the following (this is what I require before writing a letter): a copy of your artist's statement, a copy of the description of the program to which you are applying, a link to your website (or, if not up to date, a copy of your latest body of work), a copy of your application essay, a copy of the portfolio of images that you are applying with

-BE SURE to provide the requirements of the letter as stated by the school(s); the EXACT AND FULL address of the person and department that it needs to go to, and the POSTMARK deadline by which the letter needs to be sent. If a  hard copy is required, provide a stamped and addressed envelope.

-give your recommenders at LEAST 1 MONTH to write the letter. Send them a gentle reminder 2 weeks before the deadline.

-Be prepared to write the letter yourself (for the recommender), and then send it to the recommender for modifications. This may mean the difference between getting them to 'write' you a letter and not getting a letter.

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