Juniors, now is the time to think about letters of recommendation. Most colleges require a minimum of two recommendations from teachers of core academic courses as well as one from your guidance counselor. These letters help admissions representatives to get a better understanding of who you are and what contributions you’ll bring to their classrooms and campus.
Consider the following when deciding who to ask:
- Ask teachers who know you and like you, as a student and an individual.
- Ask teachers who have taught you recently— many colleges require that your letters be written by instructors you’ve had in junior or senior year. Check school websites for specific requirements.
Helpful tips include:
- Politely request in person, not by email or voicemail.
- Offer to give your recommenders a copy of your resume— list your involvement in activities both in and out of school. This will give your teachers and counselor a more complete picture of who you are.
- Help your teachers write a more effective letter by crafting a quick note describing your favorite assignment in their class, what you appreciated most about their teaching, and what you hope to do with their lessons.
It’s a nice idea to make your requests now— to give your teachers ample time to write the most thoughtful letters of recommendation on your behalf. Many teachers and guidance counselors use the summer to get started on these recommendations. Another reason to ask soon is to ensure the teachers of your choice will be the ones writing for you.
When you’re back at school next fall, check in to ensure your teachers are writing your recommendations. After they have completed their letters, express your thanks with a hand written note.