How To Get A Good Letter Of Recommendation

Most applications now ask for at least one letter of recommendation.  When you begin thinking about who you would like to write yours, keep these guidelines in mind.

Plan Ahead

People are busy and their top priority is not writing you a letter of recommendation.  Be sure you ask pretty far in advance to give the person enough time.  Usually, you should ask a few weeks ahead of time.  This not only is respectful and gives the person time to think about it, but also ensures that you will get a better letter since they do not need to be rushed to write it.

Think Before Asking Someone

For your letter of recommendation, you want to make sure you ask someone who can truly talk about your character and work ethic.  While it may seem better to have a parent’s friend who is an alumnus of the school, the letter will be better if it comes from someone who truly knows you.  High school coaches and teachers are always good people to ask.

Give Detailed Instructions

Make sure to give the person writing your recommendation all the information they will need to write the letter.  They need to know when they need to have it done by, whether they need to mail it in or give it to you, and what points they should touch on.  If you want them to discuss your work ethic and give examples, tell them.  By giving them specific things to write about it will help the letter be more personal and less generic.

It is Okay to Remind the Writer

People get busy and forget about things, especially if they were asked to write many recommendation letters.  It is okay to remind them.  It is better to be indirect and say something like “Thanks again for writing my letter, do you need anymore information?” as opposed to just coming out and asking if they have written it yet.  Also, remember to remind them about a week before the due date so if they haven’t written it yet, they still have enough time.

Be Polite

It is important to remember that the person writing your letter of recommendation is doing you a favor.  While most teachers or coaches will be happy to write the letter for you, they can say no.  This is why you need to be polite and respectful when asking them and reminding them.  Also, do not forget to thank them for taking time out of their busy schedules to write it for you and to follow up with them about your acceptance.  The person who wrote the recommendation will love to hear that their letter helped you get into the school of your dreams!

Getting letters of recommendation can be a frustrating process.  Following these guidelines will help this process go smoothly, increasing your chances of getting an awesome letter of recommendation and then hopefully the college acceptance letter you’ve been waiting for!

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Laura Szatkowski

Laura Szatkowski

Laura Szatkowski is a senior at Central Michigan University studying public relations and English. Laura enjoys being busy, juggling work and school, and has plans to one day spend her time traveling abroad. When not busy, Laura, the middle child of three girls, enjoys shopping and spending time with her friends and family.
Laura Szatkowski

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