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Like many colleagues, I supply hundreds of reference letters per year, so I depend on your help in keeping the process clean and clear, most of all during peak season (Fall). Please follow these instructions:

1. Contact me at least 21 days before the reference deadline to see if I’m in a position to write the kind of letter you need. Among other things, this will mean that you participated strongly in your course with me and (for postgraduate study applications) obtained an overall A- (80) or higher.

2. If we then go ahead, supply all relevant material (see checklist below) by email attachment to thomas.keymer [ ] utoronto.ca. In the body of the email, list all applications in order of reference deadline, and paste in any links I’ll need. If at all possible, supply everything in a single email, not a series. In general, keep email traffic to a minimum.

3. UTORmail occasionally disables attachments, so copy large attachments or zip files to keymerth [ ] yahoo.com as a back-up. If you are a current U of T student, supply hard copy as well as email attachments, and use my term-time office hour (Wednesday 9.10-11 in UC277) if any issues need to be discussed.

4. Wherever possible, complete in advance all routine parts of every reference form (print or online). This includes my contact details as well as yours:

Name, position:         Thomas Keymer, Chancellor Jackman Professor

Mailing address:        University of Toronto English Department, 170 St George St (6th Floor), Toronto, Ontario, CANADA M5R 2M8

Phone, email:            416-978-6270; thomas.keymer [ ] utoronto.ca

5. Most references are now uploaded in response to email prompts to the referee from the bodies to which you’re applying. It’s essential that you flag up to me any cases in which I need to be proactive without waiting for such a prompt.

6. Some stone-age outfits (e.g. OLSAS) still ask for reference letters in hard copy. Provide stamped addressed envelopes and hard copy of any necessary forms or cover sheets for all references to be mailed.

7. References carry most weight when rich in detail and specificity (and, for postgraduate study in the US, when you have waived your right to see the reference). Include in your package to me as many of the following as are relevant to the kind of letter needed:

(a) your transcript (unofficial printout is fine)

(b) your CV and, where applicable, your personal statement / covering letter

(c) a paragraph reminding me of the work you undertook in my class: the topics of your presentations / essays, with a summary of your approach and argument

(d) a note of any specific areas of coverage required by the recipient of each letter

(e) any particular points (e.g. awards, service) that you’d like me to consider for inclusion or emphasis.

Many thanks, and good luck. Remember that the simpler you can make this my end, the easier it is for me to write effectively and punctually on your behalf.