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Requesting recommendations

Posted by Robin Abrahams  March 27, 2013 02:41 PM

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In addition to invitations and thank-you notes, this is also the season of asking for letters of recommendation. The Everyday Sociology Blog has some good tips:

  • Come to class regularly
  • Participate in class
  • If you are struggling, seek help. I have written many recommendations for students who were not at the top of the class but worked really hard.
  • Take responsibility for your challenges; if you are concerned about a grade, ask what you can do to improve your work rather than argue about points. Someone only seeking a higher grade could be missing a major learning opportunity?and employers prefer to hire people open to receiving feedback.
  • If completing a group project, be respectful of teammates? ideas and do all the tasks you agreed to do. Many recommendation forms ask how well you can work with others.
  • Be polite to your professor, teaching assistant (if applicable) and fellow students.

Also, ask for recommendation letters well in advance, and give professors addressed, stamped envelopes (or whatever else they need), along with a summary of your work together ("I was in your History of Psych class and wrote a paper on the Stanford Experiment").

And then for heaven's sake let us know if you get in, will you? We care about you, you know.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About Miss Conduct
Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at

Who is Miss Conduct?

Robin Abrahamswrites the weekly "Miss Conduct" column for The Boston Globe Magazine and is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners. Robin has a PhD in psychology from Boston University and also works as a research associate at Harvard Business School. Her column is informed by her experience as a theater publicist, organizational-change communications manager, editor, stand-up comedian, and professor of psychology and English. She lives in Cambridge with her husband Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and their socially challenged but charismatic dog, Milo.

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