Welcome back, folks! This is Part II of Recommendations, References & Reaching Out: Oh My! In Part I of this series, we covered how to ask for letters of recommendation and references, but there’s still plenty more ground to cover. Today, we’ll dive into how to properly ask someone, particularly a professor or mentor, for a nomination, a project collaboration, and a professional social media connection. Asking for these things can seem a bit intimidating, so reviewing the process for each of these with tips and tricks, advice, and proper procedures is helpful!

Let’s crack into it!


Asking Someone to Nominate You for a Job/Award/Scholarship

It can be very difficult to ask someone to nominate you for an award or scholarship- you don’t want to come across as boasting or bragging, but you are asking someone to testify about why you deserve an award, scholarship, or job. This is all about self-advocating and knowing that, even if you have to ask to be nominated, you deserve a chance at certain opportunities. Just like with letters of recommendation or asking for someone to serve as a reference, it is key to give your nominator as much time as possible between your initial email and the due date for the nomination. As always, be sure to choose a nominator who is relevant to the award/job/scholarship you are applying for and who can speak to your abilities in a relevant field.

While everyone view

s nominations differently, I believe that asking for a nomination in person or meeting in person to go over one’s qualifications for nomination, is very important. The following nomination email example asks for a meeting to discuss a nomination, but sometimes, nominators will just make a nomination from this email rather than schedule a traditional meeting. It is up to each individual, but depending on the significance of the award/scholarship/job, you may ask for a meeting to discuss your nomination or outright ask for a nomination.


*Nomination Email Example*


Hello, NAME! I hope that your semester has been going well thus far. I am eligible for a nomination to the AWARD/SCHOLARSHIP/JOB through the ORGANIZATION/EMPLOYER. While I know CCIM produces a great number of successful and deserving students for the Top 100 program, I was hoping to meet with you to potentially discuss my nomination for this year.

Although I believe that I would be a great candidate for the AWARD/SCHOLARSHIP/JOB, I believe I would be remiss if I did not first meet with you and gauge your thoughts on whether I should or should not be nominated. This way I can talk through my qualifications and other pertinent information with you to decide if I am deserving of the nomination. Would you have any availability in your schedule LIST OF DATES AND TIMES?  Please let me know if you have any meeting ability within these time frames, or if

you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you so much in advance for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful week!

Thank You!


Asking Someone to Collaborate on a Research Project or Paper; Thesis Advisor

While this category is highly individualized and dependent on the circumstances of a situation, the main idea rings true: asking a mentor or professor to collaborate or advise you on a project is intimidating. Sometimes, it can be downright scary. But never fear- your professors and mentors are here to help you! While they may not have the time or capacity to assist you with every project or thesis you are working towards, they may be able to direct you to other great sources of collaboration and advising. As with all these tidbits and processes, select a collaborator or advisor you are close to and who is relevant to the project. Most professors have their research or areas of study listed in their university directory bios, so don’t forget to thoroughly research the person you are asking. I also recommend meeting with this professor or mentor in person before emailing them out of the blue- discussing potential projects in person is a great way to give context before a “random,” to them, email for collaborating. The example below is for asking a professor to serve as the Advisor for your Senior Honors Project, formerly called an Honors Thesis.

*Asking for an Advisor Email Example*


Hello, NAME! I hope that your semester is going well! As I enter my senior year next fall, I will complete my Honors Senior Project to finish my Honors curriculum. This will serve as a research or creative capstone project summarizing my four years at Ball State, particularly my major and areas of interest. My plan is to create/write a PROJECT/RESEARCH PAPER/WEBSITE/QUILT/BOOK OF POETRY/ETC. This project encapsulates my major in MAJOR and interest in SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR PROJECT. (This is where you give a detailed explanation of the project and explain your goals for the capstone/thesis and how it will serve others). 

Your work and research in AREA OF EXPERTISE are similar to the main ideas of my project, and I believe your mentorship and expertise would help me to learn and grow throughout its creation. Because of this, would you be willing to serve as my Honors Senior Project Advisor? Your capacity as Advisor would include WHAT YOUR ADVISOR WOULD BE REQUIRED TO DO THROUGHOUT YOUR PROJECT. I know that you already have a busy schedule with classes and your other ongoing projects, but I believe that my project may also be helpful to your research because of this reason(s). Would you be willing to serve as my advisor? I would truly appreciate the opportunity to work with you as I complete this last step in my Honors curriculum, and your support and mentorship would mean so much. Please let me know if you have any questions about my project, the advisor requirements, etc.

Thank you so much in advance for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you. Have a wonderful week!

Thank You!


Asking to Connect w

ith Someone on Cardinal Connect or LinkedIn

This may seem silly, but reaching out to professionals on Cardinal Connect and LinkedIn can be a challenge. If you do not already know this person or have connections in common, asking them to connect out of the blue may not be the best approach to reach out to them. With LinkedIn and Cardinal Connect, you may also have a limited amount of characters to make your first impression. So let’s build a short “asking to connect” message together! This message is a version of a “send with a note” message on LinkedIn when asking others to connect and meets the limited-character requirements.

*Request to Connect Example*


I’d love to reach out and connect with you because of our similarities working in the NAME OF YOUR MAJOR industry! Your work AT COMPANY/IN FIELD/ON PREVIOUS PROJECT(S) is inspiring. Thank you!



These are just a few more ways you can improve your communications with professors, mentors, supervisors, and professional connections! Be sure you are always cognizant of normal courtesies such as “please,” and “thank you,” and that you are patient and understanding with their response. As well as this, be sure you’re building the foundation that encourages professors or mentors to want to collaborate, advisor, nominator, or connect with you! Attend a professor’s office hours, introduce yourself at the start of the semester, and participate in class to the fullest of your ability. By going above and beyond, you build the foundations of a true, genuine connection with the mentor, professor, professional, supervisor, etc., that you are asking to perform a nice deed for you. Make sure that your foundations are solid before asking this person for favors. You’ve got this! Go forth and keep in mind the proper procedures for communicating with professors, mentors, supervisors, and professionals!