I need a academic reference for application of a PhD program. I believe this is the same as what is called a Letter of Recommendation, at other institutions.
I am getting one from my potential supervisor, and I need one other. I thought through all the lecturers I had, and came up with a priorities list of people to approach. Taking into account (in rough order of priority): How likely they are to remember me, How relevant their units/expertise are to my intended course of study, How well I did in their Unit/s, and How research/project focused the Unit/s I did under them were.
The person I found most suitable is currently lecturing me, and has done serveral times before.
I figured I would basically send him an email saying:
"Looking at continuing my studies on X, that I mentioned to you before, with a PhD. For this I need a academic reference. I thought you might be suitable because of (reasons outlines above). Could we meet to discuss this some time in the next few weeks? I am free on Monday mornings, Tuesday afternoons ..."
I thought, fairly casual, not really a big deal kinda thing. But then I got looking around the internet, and it seems like maybe it is a big deal. There seems like there is lots of advice and template letters out there.
So is it actually worth worrying too much about? Should I spend say a hour or so checking over my request email, to make sure I am giving all the right information and that it is formatted nicely and perfectly grammatical?
Or is it more of a casual thing, the email serves its purpose to give the key points of information and to arrange a meeting. It will be a throw away communication.
Is it different because he is currently lecturing me, so it is not so much of a cold call?
If it is cultural depended I am in Australia. I am applying to the same institution I am currently doing my undergraduate/honours at.