Obtaining Faculty References

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Consider the following information before selecting Faculty References.

Academic references should be faculty members.  The most appropriate faculty referees will, in most cases, be those professors who can speak about your motivations, maturity, and independence, as well as those from whom you have received high grades.  You will, therefore, be best served by selecting referees who know you fairly well.  Students who do not know their potential referee(s) well should visit them during their office hours to discuss your interest in the award.

Providing the referee with a résumé or short biography will give your referee a definite idea of what your goals are.  It will also allow the referee to understand what the award is and why you are applying for it.  

Finally, make certain to give the referee adequate time to complete the letter.  Referees who do not have ample time may neglect valuable details when writing the letter or may fail to submit the reference on time.  It is your responsibility, as the applicant, to check in with your referee prior to the deadline to inquire about the status of your letter.  You can send a friendly reminder, voice mail, or drop by their office hours to ensure that your letter arrives on time.