Requesting Recommendations

Juniors, which teachers know you best? These teachers are the ones you’ll want to ask to write your college recommendations. Before you finish up this semester, take the time to ask, in person, if they are willing to write on your behalf.

Here’s how to request the best recommendations letters possible:

  1. Ask now. Many teachers receive more requests than they can fulfill, so by requesting in advance, you’ll be able to confirm they are able put you on their list.
  2. Most colleges require a minimum of two letters of recommendation from your teachers and one from your guidance counselor. Many require your letters be written by instructors you had in junior or senior year. If possible, ask primary subject teachers. Also, remember, a recommendation will be more valuable if written by a teacher who likes you and knows what kind of learner you are.
  3. If you’ve been involved in special programs such as science research or athletics, you may want to ask those program directors to write letters as well. These letters help admissions reps get a better understanding of who you are and what you’re likely to contribute to their classrooms and campus community.
  4. Help your recommenders to write the most effective letters on your behalf. Give them an outline of the highlights of your time spent in their classroom, your favorite assignments and samples of your work. Also, let them know what you enjoy(ed) most about their class. Share any experiences outside the classroom that are relevant to their subject matter. You can also show them your resume. Help them write a letter that ties together all your related experiences.
  5. When you get back to school in the fall, confirm with your writers. Once you know where you’re applying, give each recommender a list of your schools and the application deadlines.  Your recommenders will most likely submit their letters electronically. If not, provide each writer with a recommendation form for each college along with a stamped, addressed envelope.
  6. Make a list of the schools you are applying to and keep track of your recommendations. Jot down the date you give your teachers the forms and check online or with the colleges as the process progresses to confirm receipt.

 

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