Whether it is required for a college application or a scholarship opportunity, a letter of recommendation plays a crucial role in describing who YOU are. While grades, entrance exam results, and extracurricular activities all describe the type of student you are, the letter showcases your accomplishments, personal attributes, and skills.
When to ask?
The earlier you ask the better! Give them at least two weeks’ notice.
How do I ask?
Be gracious and grateful. Let the person know you appreciate the time and effort they are taking. For example: “Do you feel you know me well enough and have enough time, to write a letter of recommendation for me?” Do NOT assume the letter will be completed if you leave a request in a mailbox or their desk; make sure you make personal contact with them.
Who should I ask to write a letter?
Teachers, employers or other adults in the community who know you well and agree to write, strong positive letters. Do NOT ask a relative. If you need more than one letter, ask a variety of people who represent different aspects of your life. The person should know you well enough to write about your strengths and the changes they have observed in your personal growth. If you’re considering a specific major, you might consider getting a recommendation from a person in that related subject. A counselor’s recommendation highlights your potential, while a teacher provides a more specific focus on academic performance. Provide however is writing the recommendation with your resume. This will enable them to highlight a few of your accomplishments.
Can I use the same letter more than once?
YES definitely!! Ask the person to print more than one copy for you or arrange to get updated versions of the letter as needed throughout the year. Most teachers save their letters on the computer and can update them as needed.
Will the teacher give me the letter when it is written?
It depends; Follow the directions on your applications. Some recommendations need to be sent directly to the college or scholarship while others you will submit. Please let the person writing the letter know what they need to do.
What do I do after the letter is written and submitted?
WRITE A THANK YOU NOTE to the people that wrote the letters!!!
What kind of information does the writer of your letter or recommendation need?
Be sure to let them know of the specific reason for the recommendation and give them as much information as possible. If you are applying for the scholarship, attach a copy of the criteria so they can tailor their recommendation to your needs.