Letters of Recommendation

If I write for you, I will include your letter grade and your rank in my course according to your overall score, e.g., K^th out of N students.  I will emphasize positive things such as improvement over the term.  In the case of TAMS students I describe the TAMS program.  If your grade is low I can still sometimes write a helpful letter: feel free to discuss it with me.

I prefer on-line to paper forms.


At least one month before the first letter is due, send me an email asking me if I can write for you.  In this letter, you must tell me the due date of the first letter.  

(2) If I say yes, send me a second email containing all of the schools you will apply to, and the format (electronic or paper) and due dates of their letters, in chronologically increasing order, as follows:

                 University of ...                                                           Electronic letter, due Nov. 1

                 College of ...                                                               Paper letter, due Nov. 15

and so on.  The school information should be easy for me to read: each line should have one school and its letter format and due date, and these lines should be double spaced.  You should attach to this email any electronic documents you want me to have, e.g., scans of your transcript and/or 1 page personal statement (see the bottom of this page).  This way I have one email containing all of your information.  I will let you know if I need anything else and tell you when your letters have been sent by replying to it.

Fill out all paper application forms as completely as possible!  Accept or decline all waivers, and sign your descision.  If you leave anything blank that you could have filled out, including routine stuff on my section, I will leave it blank too.  In particular:

Fill in my name, address (Charles Conley, Math. Dept., Univ. of North Texas, 1155 Union Circle #311430, Denton TX 76203-5017), phone number (940 565 3326), email address (conley@unt.edu), length of time I have known you, capacity I have known you in, high school name, high school address (TAMS, UNT, 1155 Union Circle #305309, Denton TX 76203-5017), etc. You should say that I have been teaching for 25 years if they ask.

I want to send all of your letters at the same time.  If you request them in more than one batch, you will need to explain why or I will not send any but the first batch.

Make sure that all paper application forms (e.g., the common application form) and information sheets you give me are two-sided!

(6) If you mess up anything above, I won't write your letter until it's fixed, and I may not have time to contact you before the deadlines.

I will not write a letter to just one school (e.g., Stanford!).  Use the same set of letters for all of your applications - otherwise you are being inefficient with the time of your recommenders.


Give me only one copy of the common application form: I will photocopy it once it is completely filled out (excepting my signature, which will be original).

Give me an addressed stamped envelope for every letter!  Note: the UNT post office requires that all 8.5 by 11 envelopes have two stamps, even if they weigh under one ounce.

Make sure that all envelopes you give me are self-adhesive!  (I'm not going to lick hundreds of envelopes.)

(4) Put my return address on all envelopes or the UNT post office will not take them!

(5) Do not fold the teacher evaluation forms or put them in their envelopes.  (I need to fold them together with the letter I will send with them.)


If you like, I will write your letter based solely on your performance in class.  In that case I don't need any information.  If you want to give me information, it may include any of the following (but nothing else, please).  It is best if you send it as an attachment to your main email (see above), by scan if necessary.

An unofficial copy of your transcript.  For TAMS students, only your UNT transcript.

On at most ONE page:

(1) Goals:
What you want to major in as of now and what careers you are considering.

(2) Extra Information:
Describe only major things such as summer research, summer schools, major awards, life-long hobbies like music or theater, and multiple languages.  You can skip the volunteer work.

(3) Personal Statement:
You can add anything you want me to know about yourself.

(4) Proof read!  Grewsum spelling and grammer does not make a good impression.  i am especially averse to improper capitalization and punctuation