Dr. Michael LaBossiere's Philosophy Classes

Philosophy Stuff

Letters of Recommendation

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This is a quick guide to asking me for a letter of recommendation.

Should you ask me for a letter?

  • Familiarity: Do I know you well enough to write a substantial letter? A recommendation letter should be written by someone who knows you well enough to write a proper letter. If you just took one class with me, all I can probably write is “s/he took a class with me and got a grade.” That will not be a strong letter.
  • Good Grades: Did you do well in the classes you took with me? Obviously, my main way of assessing a student is how well s/he did in the class. If you have generally gotten Bs or As in my classes, then I can write good things about your academic abilities.
  • Relevance: Do I just need to assess qualities demonstrated in my classes?   I can assess a student’s academic ability in general and ability in philosophy in particular. However, I cannot write letters that comment on qualities or abilities that are not demonstrated in my classes, such as person’s ability to work well with patients or get along with co-workers on the job.

How to ask for a letter

  • You can ask me in person, by email or by phone.

 What I will need from you

  • A list of the classes you took from me and the grades.
  • Information about what the letter is for.
  • The deadline for the letter.
  • Your resume and any other relevant material.
  • Any forms, such as evaluation forms, that must accompany the letter.
  • Stamped and addressed envelope for each letter (if the letter needs to be mailed-I do not get free postage just because I am a philosopher).


If there are forms that need to be completed be sure that you complete all the parts that you need to complete before giving me the forms. It is especially important that you complete the waiver regarding your right to see the letter. While I will write letters for people who do not waive this right, not doing this is a bad idea .

Do not just email me forms that are not completed-I cannot fill them out for you, especially the legal waiver.

Honesty & Speed

  • I write honest letters. I will tell you whether I can write a good letter for you or not so you can decide whether you still want me to write the letter.
  • I get things done quickly. I can usually have a letter completed the day I get all the materials or the next day. However, do not wait to the last minute-that could be the time that I am unable to get to the letter quickly.

Useful Links

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Written by Michael LaBossiere

January 11, 2013 at 9:10 pm

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