Policy on Letters of Recommendation

Policy on Letters of Recommendation
This information is for students requesting a letter of recommendation from Dr. Pasion in the Department of Biology, SFSU.  This information does not reflect the official requirements for SFSU faculty.

It is essential that you allow sufficient time for preparing the letter, so you must contact me a minimum of ONE MONTH BEFORE the letter deadline.

•links about requesting letters of recommendation
links for letter writers

If you are interested in obtaining a letter of recommendation, you must approach me with the following information:
1.    Complete name of school (or scholarship program) to which you are applying
2.    Complete mailing address for letter of recommendation (Most letters are submitted online, but for those letters that will be sent by regular US postal service, an addressed envelope with sufficient postage would be appreciated--see format for addressing the envelope here. Please do not put the stamp on the envelope, in case a new envelope is required)
3.    Form(s) to be sent with letter.  In some cases, the school/scholarship program has a form or template for submitting the letter of recommendation.  Many programs have online letter submission - please provide me with a list of all programs you are applying to with the application deadline.
4.    Signed form waiving your access to letter of recommendation.  The University provides this form


If you do not waive your right to access, the letter of recommendation is considered not confidential and may be discounted by evaluators at the recipient institution.  For online submissions, please provide me with a signed statement listing all schools that you WAIVE your right to access the letter. I will not write a letter of recommendation if you do not waive access to your letter.
5.    A copy of your unofficial SFSU transcript.
6.    A copy of your personal statement to be submitted to the school (or scholarship program).  I am looking for an explanation of your career goals or type of job or graduate school you hope to enter if this is not included in your  personal statement.
7.    Your contact information (address, day and night telephone numbers indicating acceptable contact hours, your e-mail address--in case I need additional information).  If you were a student in my class, please indicate the specific details (class, semester, and grade received)
8.    If you are using a campus letter writing service, provide all relevant information and forms.
9.    Specific deadlines for receipt of the letter (or when you will be picking up the letter if you need to send the letter with your application packet).
10.  You must meet with me to discuss aspects of your academic performance or other characteristics that will help strengthen your letter of recommendation.  Be aware that a letter for entry into a medical school or a graduate program will emphasize different aspects of your academic performance compared to a letter for a scholarship program.
REMEMBER that you should REMIND me (by e-mail, is fine) about the letter approximately one week before the deadline.

  • You should have all the information available in an electronic format (send by e-mail).
  • Even if I have written a letter for you before, it is a good idea to provide all of this information again (so that we do not lose time looking for the previous information)

Information for students who are requesting a letter of recommendation

Career Center-UC Berkeley Graduate School Letters of Recommendation
All about letters of recommendation
How to ask a Professor for a letter of recommendation

Recommendation letter etiquette

Information for people writing letters of recommendation
Ten tips for recommenders
Writing a letter of recommendation letter (HHMI)

Tips for writing strong letters of recommendation

Most letters of recommendation are submitted ONLINE. No stamp/envelopes required if the letters are submitted ONLINE. If the letter of recommendation is to be mailed  -- Format for addressed envelope (no stamp...Leave the return address blank):

envelope with mailing address


General disclaimer:  The URLs listed are for information only and do not reflect endorsement of any commercial properties associated with the listed web pages.
page updated 2/9/22