The Right Way to Request Recommendation Letters

Most colleges, and even jobs/internships, that you apply for will ask for at least one recommendation letter.  It shows your assets more in detail and from an outside, reliable source.  Don’t sweat this; it’s not too hard to get a good recommendation letter.  As long as you use these tips as a guide to asking and receiving one, you should have no problem getting one ready to give whenever necessary.

1. Ask Someone Professional

If you’re applying for college specifically, then my advice is to get a recommendation letter from a past teacher.  Universities will take you more seriously if you have a great, well thought out letter from a professional teacher.  This way they know what they’re reading is from a dependable and trustworthy source, and one that knows how well you work as a student.

2. Give Them Ample Time

Let’s be honest here.  Teachers have a job to do too, and other students will be asking them for recommendation letters as well.  Or if you’re asking a friend or a previous employer they have other things they need to get done other than writing your letter.  So, please be patient with them.  They’ve agreed to write you a letter, which is taking time out of their day, so be courteous to them during this time.  You do want an amazing letter, right?  So give them a little time and space to do this task for you.

It is okay to check in and remind them of when you need it by, or to see how it is going.  You could be reminding them if they’ve somehow forgotten or lost track of time – teachers can slip up too.  They are normal people just like you and me, even if it doesn’t seem like it at times.  Just remember to always be polite about it.

3. Give Detailed Instructions

The person writing your letter should know at least the basic facts of where this letter is going and for what reason.  Let them know if it’s something that needs to be mailed or if they have a preference for email.  Provide them with the correct address in either case.

It may also be appropriate to ask them for multiple copies of your recommendation letter so you can give it to multiple prospects for jobs or multiple universities you’re applying to.

4. Always Say Please and Thank You

Remember that this person is doing you a favor.  They want you to succeed, and in order for them to write you a great letter that they’re proud of it will take some time.  Whoever you ask will want to show you in the best light and profess all your positive qualities you bring to the table.  So, when you receive your letter give them a huge thank you for taking time out of their day to do this for you.

When you’re going through your high school years it’s best to think ahead.  This way, you’re conscious of being a good student and you can get recommendation letters with ease.  Think of it as the perfect reason to be a studious student.  Then, when you’re in your senior year of high school and asking teachers for recommendation letters, they’ll be excited you asked them personally, and they’ll know they had an impact on your education.

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Kali White

Kali White

Kali White is a junior at the University of California, Davis pursuing a degree in Communications and a minor in Sociology. Her goal is to have a career working for a publication company writing and editing. In her free time she enjoys the outdoors, reading, playing and listening to music, and travelling.