Before asking me for a recommendation, please know the following:
  1. Do not automatically assume that I will write you a good recommendation. 
  2. When requesting recommendations for internships, make sure that you have at least one of the following:
    1. Extremely good performance in one of the courses where I was an instructor/tutor
    2. Good performance in one of the projects at my lab on which you worked for more than 6 months at least
  3. When requesting recommendations for graduate school (MS/PhD), make you have one (preferably both) of the following:
    1. Extremely good performance in one of the courses where I was an instructor
    2. Outstanding performance in one of the projects in my lab over a duration of at least 6 months
  4. If  you meet none of the criteria listed above, my recommendation will be ordinary and may even hurt your application; keep this in mind before approaching me 
  5. In particular, if you underperform in a project or quit the project midway within 2-3 months, it shows your lack of interest, and I will undoubtedly write you a bad recommendation
  6. On the other hand, if you see though a project to completion (culminating into a paper/product/system), it shows your perseverance, and I will definitely write an outstanding recommendation for you
  7. I will usually not refuse your request for a recommendation: it is part of my job. Such a policy also respects your intelligence: if you did not do well, you know it and can assume that I know it. If you still request me for recommendation, you must have your reasons. 
  8. For your information, some typical questions in various recommendation forms are as follows. I will try my best to answer them truthfully. 
    1. Is the candidate the best you have seen in 1/2/5 years?
    2. The candidate is ranked ___ in the class of ___ students
    3. The candidate is among the top 1/5% of all the candidates that you have taught/supervised
    4. The research potential of the candidate is among the highest of all candidates you have seen in past 1/2/5 years
Some information required for MS/PhD applications: if possible, provide the following information (in an email or doc file)
  1. Courses done with me, performance in each, key projects in each, if any. Justify if that alone is a basis for a good recommendation
  2. Projects done with me, duration, key achievements. Highlight key points in the projects where you think your performance exceeded expectations. Do not provide the technical details regarding the specific work done, usually I will remember those 
  3. A brief summary of your ONE other major achievement that you think is significant (can be a paper, good CPI, or anything else not part of our association)
  4. Order of recommendation, i.e.,  if I am the first, second, or third recommender. The order is usually tied to the extent to which your recommenders know you. For instance, your UGP/thesis supervisor is often first recommender, while course instructors are usually second or third.