The recent spate of posts on letters of recommendation (students writing for profs, things best left out of the letters, and being asked to write your own letter) prompted a reader to send in another query about them—one we arguably ought to have started the week with:
Many of us teach philosophy at an institution without a graduate program. So while we write letters of recommendation for our own students, we rarely see a sampling of what such letters look like, or should look like. It would be good to hear from people on admissions committees what they look for in a letter, what kinds of information should be included and how it should be presented, how long a letter should be, etc.
So, readers, what makes for a good letter of recommendation for an applicant to a graduate program in philosophy?