Better Letters: Equitable Practices

Sat, November 14, 2020
Better Letters Cover Image

Letters of Recommendation: How to Write, Read and Solicit Letters for Equity.

When graduate admissions committees meet to review applicant files, letters of recommendation are one component of the holistic review process that provides information about the applicant’s previous work, personality, and potential for success as a doctoral student. In order to ensure that letters of recommendation are effective tools for enhancing equity, we must critically assess how we write, read, and solicit letters of recommendation. This is especially important because numerous studies have demonstrated the presence of implicit biases in letters of recommendation (Dutt et al, 2016; Madera et al., 2019; Trix & Psenka, 2003). The presence of these biases in letters of recommendation can influence how prospective students are evaluated by admission committees and therefore may produce and reproduce racial and gender inequality in doctoral education.

This guide, created through collaborative effort of IGEN Research Hub members and available in the IGEN Resource Library, can be directly accessed and downloaded here.

Letters of Recommendation