Finding a Mentor

Your SJSU faculty mentor writes your first letter of recommendation for the Graduate Equity Fellowship and will serve as your mentor during the award period. Ideally, he or she is a professor who has a deep appreciation of your academic work at San José State University and a continuing interest in your development as a scholar. If you already have a chair of your thesis or project committee, that person might be your best choice. If you do not, think about who in your program or department is most familiar with your academic strengths and abilities. Assuming you have already taken courses from that professor, he or she might be a good candidate to guide that process.  

The Graduate Equity Fellowship requires two letters of recommendation. When asking for a recommendation, give your recommenders at least three weeks’ notice and clearly state the due date and submission process. Help your recommenders by giving them all the materials necessary to write a strong recommendation on your behalf. These materials include a description of the fellowship program, a draft of your personal statement and other application essays, your transcripts, sample of your coursework and graded papers with comments, and resume. Meet with your recommender to discuss your interest in the fellowship and your goals and motivation in pursuing a master’s degree. Ask each recommender how he or she would like to be reminded of the impending deadline, and then do follow-up. Remember that you are responsible for ensuring all materials are received in Graduate Studies by the submission deadline.

Finally, let your recommenders know you appreciate their efforts on your behalf and keep them informed of the outcome of your application. Send a thank you email or card for the recommendation itself. Contact them again as you learn whether you were selected for the program or not selected. Remember to again thank them for their effort on your behalf when sending updates.