If you want a strong letter of recommendation to graduate school from a professor, make sure that you have done each of the following things. Have you:
1. ____ Discussed your choice of graduate schools with more than one professor in your major and with at least one of your Honors Directors?
2. ____ Considered asking Dr. Barnes to read your statement of purpose and curriculum vitae or resume before you ask professors to write letters of recommendation?
3. ____ Given each recommending professor a colored folder with pockets containing the material below, with your name and e-mail address printed large and clearly on the front?
The left pocket should include:
a. ____ A copy of your transcript with courses you have taken under the recommending professor highlighted in yellow.
b. ____ A separate list of the courses, grades, and titles of any significant papers you did with the professor. On the top of this list, include the month and year you first met the professor (month is optional, but it can help remind them of your first meeting).
c. ____ A list of points you would like the professor to emphasize about you--projects or experiences which you know they can address firsthand because you've worked together. The idea is to provide a list of reminders for their convenience. Let them choose their own superlatives; just give concrete suggestions about your activities and achievements.
d. ____ A copy of your statement of purpose*.
e. ____ A copy of your curriculum vitae or resume*. Make sure that you explain all items listed!
f. ____ A list detailing your service, leadership, teamwork, research, or other outstanding activities in the Honors Program and the ASG (or highlight them on your curriculum vitae or resume).
g. ____ Optional, but potentially helpful: A list of books and journals (titles and authors) that you have read outside of class in the last two or three years.
* Give yourself time to revise these items after getting some feedback from others. (Recommended: Dr. Barnes and a professor in your field who has recently finished grad school).
The right pocket should include:
a. ____ All your graduate school applications in chronological order by due date (highlight deadlines in yellow on each one).
b. ____ Pre-addressed, stamped envelopes in which the professor can mail your letters of recommendation. Paperclip stamps to envelopes; don’t paste them on.
Resume/Curriculum Vita Checklist
1. ____ Listed under "Education" your graduation in cursu honorum, as well as summa/magna cum laude, your GPA, and your expected graduation date? If your GRE, GMAT, etc., scores are impressive, list them under your graduation date and status.
2. ____ Listed specific Honors Program activities separately, such as Honors 1010 peer mentoring?
3. ____ Described any committee work with the Associated Scholars Guild? Spell it out rather than using the abbreviation.
4. ____ Listed all your research presentations (including conferences as well as Tech Research Day) separately? If you have a lot of presentations, make separate categories for papers in your professional field and those on other topics.
5. ____ Taught any classes? Led any workshops? Team taught? Given any other kinds of presentations? These are impressive resume items, so make sure to put them all on there.
6. ____ If you worked with a faculty mentor, tell who you worked with, how long you worked, and what you did.
7. ____ Removed all activities from high school, except Eagle Scout, National Merit status, or other national-level awards?
8. ____ Made sure to omit objectives, birth date and age, gender, race, marital status, and health? Such information is not appropriate.
9. ____ Explained what the activities on your resume are? Following is a list of Honors activities with descriptions for your reference. Don’t expect someone from a different school or company to understand the functions of our clubs and committees – you explain them!
The Honors Council, an elected board comprised of both students and professors charged with overseeing academic policy for the TTU Honors Program.
The ASG Steering Committee, the governing body for the student-run activities and extracurricular programs of the TTU Honors Program.Big Sibs, a group of upper-class Honors students who “adopt” incoming Honors freshmen and guide them through their transitions into college life.
Conference Committee, a committee responsible for organizing the Honors Program’s trips to state, regional, and national honors conferences.
Mindful Movie Committee, a film screening and discussion series that focuses on challenging films.
Faculty Unchalked, a program in which professors invite a group of TTU Honors students to their homes for an evening of informal discussion and refreshment.
Fresh!, a newsletter written by and for TTU Honors Program freshmen.
Honorable Mention, a newsletter for TTU Honors Program students and faculty, also distributed to Honors alumni and the rest of the TTU faculty.
Underrepresented Groups Committee, a standing committee charged with identifying and addressing needs and issues of TTU students whose experiences may not be addressed by other available programs.
The Associated Scholars Guild, the student-run organization responsible for extracurricular activities and services in the TTU Honors Program.
Honors Forum Committee, which coordinates a series of lunchtime speakers for the campus community on a variety of academic and social issues.