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Comments on Letters of Recommendation:
Keep in mind when asking a faculty member or former employer for a letter of recommendation, that they are busy people. Your first step is to ask early. When you ask, be sure that you ask the person if they can write you a good letter of recommendation. This way, they can say "no" if they do not feel strongly about writing you a letter. If the person agrees to write you a letter, make this process as easy as possible. Remind them how you know each other. If you had a class with that indivdiual, tell them which semester and what your grade was in that class.
It is perfectly acceptable to remind your recommendation writer about projects you have done together, or areas where you have shown initiative. Tell the individual what information the school or job or internship is looking for. That way, they know which skills to best highlight. It is also helpful if you give your recommender a copy of your resume and personal statement (if applicable.) That way, they know your most recent experiences, and can speak to those accomplishments.
Should your recommenders want additional help in writing their letters of recommendation, please direct them to this website. Joe Schall is an excellent resource for letter writing.