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I am glad to write letters to support student applications for graduate school, fellowship or scholarship programs, jobs, and other activities. Do your best to contact me at least 3 weeks before you need a letter. That will allow me to compose a tailored letter, rather than one that contains generic boilerplate language. Once you have contacted me and I have agreed to write for you, please send me the following items.
1. The date by which I need to complete the letter.
2. The address and name of the person or organization where I should send the letter. (You can make this real easy by providing me a pre-addressed envelope---William and Mary will pay postage.) Alternatively, just tell me if I should return the letter to you in a sealed envelope.
3. Any forms I need to fill out that must accompany my letter, with your portions of the form, if any, already completed.
4. If available, an internet link to the organization or program to which you are applying, and the specific degree you are seeking (i.e., M.A., Ph.D., M.P.P, something else . . . ).
5. A copy of your resume.
6. A list of courses you have had with me, when you had them (i.e., Fall 2004 semester), and the grades you earned in them.
7. Your grade point average. (If possible, breaking this down by overall GPA and GPA in major is helpful.)
8. A copy of a personal statement or other essay(s) that you are composing for your application. It's okay if these are in draft form. Basically I'm interested in seeing how you are pitching yourself, which can help me play up common themes in my letter.
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Finally, I would appreciate an email reminder a week in advance of the due date. In fact, the more reminders you pass along the better. Be brutal. Don't allow me to miss my deadline. And do not worry---your persistence won't make me cranky.