One way to ensure that your professors write good letters of recommendation is to do as much groundwork as possible for the professor. This is part of your responsibility as an applicant.
Start the process early in your senior year. Make an appointment to discuss graduate school and your letter. Don't just hand a professor a form as they are walking out of their office on the way to class. Do all the necessary background work for your professor.
Materials to bring to your appointment with your professor should include:
- An updated transcript, class rank
- Work you have done in the professor's class, GPA in the major, your grades from junior and senior years
- Your personal statement
- A résumé listing extracurricular work at the school, or job experiences that might be relevant to your application.
- A typed list of all the schools you need letters for, with the specific instructions for each school (some schools want multiple copies of letters; others ask for the numerical code of your department or other specific information)
- Addressed, stamped envelopes for all the schools to which you are applying.
A thank-you note to your professors after they have completed your letters is always a nice touch.