Letter of Recommendation Information


Below is information regarding how to obtain a letter of recommendation from any faculty member in the Social & Behavioral Sciences department.

Who Should You Ask?

If you are unsure whether or not a professor should write a letter of recommendation for you, please ask him/her. If one of us believes that we cannot provide the recommendation in the time frame you would like, or if we are unable to provide a recommendation that will be helpful for you, we will inform you. If we believe we are unable to provide adequate comments on your behalf, it is most often because we do not know enough about your academic record as a whole, your research abilities, your social skills and your abilities to interact and work with your peers, or your abilities in the area of professional (undergraduate level) writing. If you still want one of us to complete a recommendation for you, we may/may not be willing to do so, so please ask us specifically about this.

You will likely want to weigh heavily whether or not this professor would be willing to write a positive letter of recommendation for you. We reserve the right to be honest, straightforward, and direct with our professional opinions about your performance, abilities, and behaviors in our experiences with you. This may or may not be the type of information that will assist you in your quest. Please take all types of matters into consideration when you are choosing which professor you would like to ask to write a recommendation for you; this will likely maximize your chances of success with your endeavors.

Filling out a request for recommendation does not ensure that one will be received. All professors reserve the right to decline these requests. If you are requesting a letter of recommendation, you should take great care to identify which professors have seen your academic performance, abilities, and behaviors in a variety of classes and settings. You will likely want to avoid requesting this information from a professor that has only had you in one of his/her courses, and if you have only taken one of his/her courses, you will likely need to wait until the completion of that course before requesting the recommendation. This is to ensure the professor can comment accurately about your performance in the course.

How Long Might it Take?

If your request for a recommendation is approved, we will happily write the letter for you, but it may not occur in the time frame you desire. Please allow a minimum of 3-4 weeks for the professor to write the letter of recommendation. Be sure to allow plenty of time for the professor to write his/her letter, so that the recipient of this letter receives it in a timely manner. Remember that your recipient institution’s form is often not all that needs to be completed to make a recommendation (whether it appears that way to you or not), so the 3-4 week minimum time frame may not be as lengthy as it seems in order for the professor to adequately fulfill this request for you. It is important to note that your letter may take longer than the 3-4 weeks to be completed for other reasons as well. There are multiple factors that influence how long it takes us to get your letter written, including but not limited to, what time during our semester we receive the request (mid-terms, finals week, the number of papers being handed in for professor grading, etc). All of these factors (and more) readily influence our week to week work load and may interfere with the time frame within which you had hoped we would write the letter of recommendation.

Steps to Receive a Letter of Recommendation

1. Download the SBS Department’s waiver form and accurately complete it.

2. Sign the form and check the appropriate line stating that you have agreed to waive your rights to see the letter of recommendation.

3. Send this signed form to the professor you are requesting a letter from.

4. Communicate with your intended recipient institution that this professor will send letters of recommendation ONLY to the institution and not to students. If your recipient institution requests that all application materials must go to you (the student) and be sent to them in one complete packet, we will not agree to write the letter of recommendation. You will need to make these arrangements with them as the professor will not accommodate their requests in this manner.

5. Provide an envelope with the following:

-proper postage

-the name and proper title of the intended recipient & their department

-full address of the institution including the zip code

6. Complete the intended recipient institution’s recommendation form properly, including signing their waiver form also. Often the recipient institution has their waiver written as a brief statement at the top of their recommendation form. Be sure to sign that as well, waiving your right to review the recommendation form/letter.

7. Attach the intended recipient institution’s recommendation form to the NCU waiver form and the envelope.

8. Please bring all of these requested items to the SBS Department and it will be given to the professor that agreed to complete the recommendation for you. Please do not bring these items to class to give to the professor because they may get misplaced with class related materials, but instead deliver them to his/her office in the SBS Department.


We appreciate your attention to these matters and hope that you have found the information here helpful to you. By following the procedures identified here, you are likely increasing your own chances of success with these endeavors.

Thank you,

Dr. Daniel R. Nelson, Professor of Psychology, Department Chair

Dr. Kari J. Nelson, Professor of Psychology

Donna McElveen, Assistant Professor of Social Work

Karen Harrington, Assistant Professor of Social Work

Christina Calayag, Assistant Professor of Psychology