- A major part of the college application process. These letters help the admissions board paint a picture of you as a student and person by hearing from people who know you personally.
- Who to ask for a letter of recommendation varies from school to school: some may require it from only academic sources like a teacher or advisor while others may also allow letters from outside sources such as a pastor or volunteer coordinator. Regardless, make sure that the person that you ask for a recommendation knows you personally so they can have something to write about. Try asking your favorite teachers first.Building a good relationship with academic sources is important. One way to do this is to meet with them outside of class to discuss the schoolwork. This will show them that you are genuinely interested and also a hard worker. Ask questions and stay engaged in class.
- Do not wait to ask your recommenders for a letter; the earlier the better. General etiquette is to give them at least a two weeks’ notice before the letter is due, but I like to tell them at least month before. This will give them adequate time to write the essay. I also have to mention this: it is up to you to stay in contact with your recommenders as the process moves forward. If it is the due week and you have not heard from them, reach out to them and/or go to their classroom
Other Important information:
- Your recommenders will need things from you to write a good essay as well: your academic record, resume, list of extracurricular and volunteer activities, awards, and the deadline date. Be sure to give these to your recommenders after they agree to write your letter
- Make sure to check the colleges to see how many letters of recommendation they require.
- After your recommenders submit your letter, write them a personal thank you note, and hand-deliver it to them at school. This is polite and shows them that you appreciate them taking the time out to invest in your future. This will also make them more likely to write for you again if you ever need it! Courtesy goes a long way!