Professional Associations and Resources

The small size of our program offers a unique opportunity to work closely with faculty on individually-tailored programs. We also encourage students to work with each other in writing and thesis groups; to take part in Departmental Colloquia; to present theoretical papers and research findings at professional meetings.

Tips for Asking about Letters of Recommendation

When you are competing for a place in a graduate program, for a scholarship, or for a job, sometimes -- most of the time, in the case of scholarships and grad school applications -- your letters of recommendation from people who know you and know your work are the deciding factor in whether or not you will succeed. Here are some hints for improving your chances. The earlier in your career here at Cal State East Bay you start working towards effective letters of recommendation, the better your chances of standing out above the crowd and demonstrating the traits that these committees or employers are looking for. Look carefully at what's wanted by the people or the committee the letter will go to. If they ask for a statement of purpose and/or mention specific criteria they want addressed, make sure you actually "fit the profile." Prepare a draft statement of purpose and also prepare a draft of short paragraphs that could honestly describe you. Tie the criteria or "power words" to specific tasks or projects you did that the professor knows about (in a course, in an independent study or Co-op Ed project, in a field placement or internship). Don't make them try to remember everything you did -- refresh their memories with specific examples. Take your drafts to at least one of the people you want to recommend you, and see if they will help you to make them sound as professional as possible -- and as truthful and accurate as possible. It is a very BAD idea to have spelling and grammar errors or typos in these drafts... Also bring along anything else relevant -- a copy of your transcript, copies of all the materials the grad school or employer sent you, your resume, etc.

For more hints about getting good letters of recommendation, try some of the following university
web pages:

How to get good letters of recommendation Forthright Letters of Recommendation
Remember -- no one is required to write you a letter of recommendation, so ask nicely and give them something to work with.