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Reference / Support Letters Policy

Thank you for checking my reference letters policy page

I recently compiled data on my teaching experience in last 15 years and I am grateful to all of my students who have been part of my teaching career:

University Credits taught Courses Taught* Enrollment
Thompson Rivers University 75 25 463
Bohdan Khmelnitsky National University 3 1 25
Wilfrid Laurier University 18 6 129
University of Northern British Columbia 3 1 13
Dalhousie University 102 34 1355
University of Manitoba 423 141 3732
TOTAL 624 208 5717

As I now have more than 5700 former student connection I have been overwhelmed with requests for academic references, job references, awards and scholarship applications.  It is becoming harder to keep track of all student names and papers to write a relevant support letter. Starting from September 2020 I have decided to update a Support Letter Request Policy to properly balance my available time.

Please note that due to limited time I only review support letters requests from students who submitted all the documents listed below and maintained an active connection with me after course completion (students who worked as an RA / TA with me on projects, students who completed volunteer / practicum program under my supervision, presented at the conference, contributed to information that I shared on my webpage krasun.ca). Students who only completed courses can still receive a reference but it will be very limited and focus only on the course experience.

For students who only have taken one or two courses with me, I encourage to engage in research or service activities that I can supervise so I will be able to provide a reference letter based on multiple activities the student has performed under my supervision (not only graded papers from one or two courses).

If you want me to review the reference request from you please send to my e-mail okondrashov@tru.ca the following documents ideally four weeks before application is due.

  • Course outlines from the courses I taught you.
  • A draft letter that highlights your strengths you have demonstrated in the activities I have supervised you (teaching/service/research). Please write the letter using the criteria your reference letter will be evaluated to help me in reviewing your request.
  • Copy of assignments submitted for grading
  • Final Letter Grade

I will not review incomplete requests

Due to high volume of requests I will only be able to respond to 2 support requests per month during academic year (September-April). Priority will be given to student who have taken 3 or more classes with me, maintained active contact after course completion and participated in extensive volunteering, service, research, grading and/or other supervised activities.

Once you submitted your complete request please book an appointment with me via calendly: https://calendly.com/krasun/ Ideally please book an appointment at least one month in advance before your application deadline so if I need to make a lot of changes from your draft letter I will have time after our appointment to update your letter (when necessary).

Usually I will review your draft letter during appointment and complete the application process, so make sure your letter has as much information as possible to write a strong support letter.

Here are some of the questions that can guide you in writing the draft support letter:

1. Please state how you know me (e.g. how many courses you took with me, when, where or what projects we worked together etc).

2. Please provide some examples of skills you have enhanced when mastering course learning objectives or working on teaching/research/service project (e.g. public speaking skills, academic writing skills, critical thinking skills etc)

3. Please name qualities that you possess and was able to demonstrate in the course that is helpful in your selected field of study. (e.g. being independent learner, communicative, punctual etc.)

4. Please suggest how the course helped you to choose your selected program of studies/area of employment (e.g. the same field of studies, focused on relevant skills for your future practice etc)

5. Please share any information in your draft letter that you think will help me to strengthen your recommendation based on our interaction in the course. (e.g. volunteer experience during the course, helping other students in the course etc).

6. Please list any activities you completed under my supervision outside of the course. Please know that employers and university award/admission committee want to see your strengths in multiple areas and providing examples on you demonstrated your multiple talents in our interactions is extremely helpful.

You can also review samples of reference letters and follow their format as you complete your letter.

Once I complete writing the reference letter I usually provide students with the copy of the reference letter for their records and/or future requests. If I agreed to write the letter after our online meeting/e-mail confirmation, I will provide a strong reference based on the knowledge and skills you have demonstrated in class and/or in other forms of professional relationship.

Many times students did not share with me about the outcome of their application which is a personal choice but I wish at least when the outcome is positive to be informed instead of seeing “news” on Facebook or finding out that the student was accepted in the program 1-2 years after the reference letter was written. It is a good practice to write a follow-up e-mail to inform me about the outcome of the application process whether successful or not.

After you receive the scholarship/award/job/admission please also let me know if I can contact you in the future for possible research/community engagement/support requests etc. I appreciate an ongoing connection with my professional network.

Please review your School deadlines to make a timely appointment and submit your completed request before your selected appointment date:

DAL MSW deadline https://www.dal.ca/faculty/health/socialwork/programs/master-of-social-work.html

WLU MSW deadline https://www.wlu.ca/programs/social-work/graduate/social-work-msw/application-checklist/index.html

UNBC MSW deadline https://www.unbc.ca/calendar/graduate/admissions

U of M MSW deadline http://umanitoba.ca/faculties/graduate_studies/admissions/programs/social_work.html

UBC O MSW deadline https://socialwork.ok.ubc.ca/msw-program/

U Waterloo MSW https://uwaterloo.ca/school-of-social-work/msw-how-to-apply

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