Letters of Recommendation

Policy for requesting recommendation letters from Professor Christakis

I am honored and delighted to write letters on behalf of students – who I come to know in diverse sorts of ways on campus. You should not be shy about asking for letters of recommendation from anyone, including me. It is generally good practice to ask people to write for you who know you well, and it is much better to have a strong letter from someone who can say something personal about you and about your abilities and interests than to get a letter from someone who you think is important.

If I have written a letter for you before, you need to ask me for any new letters you need at least two weeks in advance of the deadline. In addition, such a request must be accompanied by a paragraph that you write (written in the third person) that describes what it is that you are applying for and why you’re a particularly good fit for it. You do not have to worry that this is all I will use on your behalf, but this saves me the trouble of having to understand each of the hundreds of fellowships and job opportunities that different students apply for.

If I have never written a letter on your behalf before, you must also ask for it at least four weeks in advance. Your request should be accompanied by a personal statement, a C.V., an unofficial transcript, and once again, a short paragraph written in the third person about yourself that summarizes why your background is great preparation for the particular fellowship or opportunity you have in mind. I will of course edit this and, once again, write a whole lot more about you.   In addition, you must meet with me to discuss your interests when you ask for a letter; contact Kim to set up a time.  Meeting me in person makes you and your sterling qualities very fresh in my mind.

If you have taken a class with me, it is very helpful when you send your request if you include the grades that you got for my class or what it was in particular you found interesting about the class. All requests for letters should note the deadline and should cc my assistant, Kim Kuzina. You should feel free to follow up with Kim to make sure that your letter is done on time. It is your responsibility to make sure that your letter does not fall through the cracks. Kim will let you know when it is uploaded or you can check the website yourself.

Kim’s email: kimberly.kuzina@yale.edu