Prospective Students  |  Reference Letter Requests

Prospective Students

** As of Spring 2018, I am not accepting new graduate students to work with me at the University of Toronto. If you’re interested in working at the intersection of cultural geography, critical Korean studies, and interdisciplinary gender and sexuality studies, please get in touch with me at the UCLA address. **

Reference Letter Requests

I’d be glad to provide reference letters for graduate school, employment, and other opportunities for students who have worked with me as research assistants or taken courses with me. Please email me with a formal request with the following information.

  1. I will gladly provide reference letters for students who have earned at least an A- (above 90%) in my courses and research assistants who have impressed me with their initiative, reliability, intellectual capacity, and organizational skills. I generally do not provide references for students who have not completed at least one course with me.
  2. When you email me, please use an informative subject line, i.e. not something vague like “hello” or “reference letter question.” Something like “Letter request due 18 Jan 2019” would be perfect.
  3. Please remind me a little about who you are and how we know each other. Tell me why you want a letter from me.
  4. I ask that all reference requests be made at least 3 weeks before the deadline. Once I agree, I also ask that you send me an email reminder 1 week before the deadline.

Once I say yes to writing a reference letter for you:

  1. Let me know the method of submission. Am I supposed to print the letter, sign it, and send it by postal mail? Will you enter my email address in an online application so that an automatic notice will be sent to me? Is there a link where I’m supposed to fill out a form? Am I supposed to email the letter directly to someone?
  2. For graduate school, let me know the mailing address and URL for the department/program you’re applying to. I also ask that you send me your statement of purpose even if it’s still a draft. The more I know about what you’re applying to and why, the more I can customize the letter for you.
  3. For reference letters for employment, send me the job description blurb or URL if there’s any. The more I know about how you’re qualified for the position, the more I can customize the letter for you.
  4. Attach an up-to-date resume/CV that includes information about your background such as major fields of study, honors and awards, volunteer experience, and employment history. I welcome information about extracurricular activities, activist involvement, and community service. The more I know about you, the stronger the letter will be. Word or PDF files, please.
  5. Attach an unofficial transcript (a screenshot would suffice). If you took a class with me, remind me which class, and a brief description of what grade you learned.
  6. For file attachments, please use an informative and unique file name such as “Han CV 2015-12.pdf” — not “my resume.pdf.”
  7. Keep the email thread together so our communication could easily be traced. This means you should always reply to my email quoting my earlier email to you. You should never start a new email with a new subject line unless you’re starting an entirely new topic of conversation or the email thread has grown so long that it has become unwieldy. See this email etiquette.
  8. Please remember that I consider a reference request to be a formal and professional correspondence. Don’t send a request from your smartphone (I can see the “sent from iPhone” signature, you know) as though it’s an afterthought and you couldn’t be bothered to sit down and draft the email. Please proofread carefully. Correctly spelling my name is always a good place to start. 🙂

Good luck!