Don’t fall into some common traps of seeking recommendation letters. Many students, for example, may believe that having a “big name” on a letter of recommendation will increase their chances of acceptance. Yes, a letter from APA President James H. Bray, PhD, is impressive, but only if he’s intimately aware of your achievements, character and future goals. If not, find a faculty member who can argue convincingly on your behalf based on what he or she knows from working closely with you.
Be sure your letter-writers can be specific. Letters that are brief and general are the worst because they indicate that the letter writer is not familiar with the student. Also, don’t ask to see a recommendation letter after it is written because recipients of the letter may be concerned that this will make letter-writers less candid. If you select the right faculty, you should feel confident that the person will support your case.