Requesting College Recommendation Letters: Key Tips
Here are some tips for identifying and asking one or two teachers to write college recommendations for you.
Your first step is approaching one or two of your favorite teachers — teachers who really know your strengths, skills, and abilities — well before (at least a month) the application deadline.
You can approach them in person and make the request, or, you can be a bit more formal and make the request in writing with a short note requesting their assistance. Either way, make sure you have the forms printed out and ready to present.
You’ll need to complete the top portion of the recommendation form, which includes your name and address, your admission classification, and selection of whether you waive your rights to see the recommendation.
In some cases, you’ll submit all the application paperwork together when you mail your application, but in other situations, you should provide the teacher with an envelope that includes the address of where to send the recommendation form and a stamp so your recommender does not have to pay postage.
A few more recommendation tips:
- When requesting the recommendations, you might want to include a few items to aid the teachers in completing the form, including a copy of your resume (if you have one), a list of your activities and achievements, and a draft of your personal college essay.
- About a week to 10 days before the application deadline, it’s a good idea to politely check in with these people and be sure the recommendation forms have been sent.
- Always send a thank-you note showing your appreciate for the recommendation.
- Once the whole college admissions process has played out and you have decided where you are going to attend college, it’s a nice gesture to send a follow-up note to each recommender thanking them again for their support and informing them where you plan to attend college.
Need help with any of the terms described on this page? If so, find the answers in our High School College-Bound and College Planning Glossary.
Return to the main page of the College Planning Tutorial.
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