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How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation for College Applications

August 25, 2014

Labor Day is quickly approaching, which means that school is only about a week away for most students. One of the necessary elements for your college application will be your letters of recommendation. Since this is new for most students, I am offering some guidance and tips below.


Who to Ask  – Pick those who have known you best over your high school career

  • Guidance Counselor

  • Teachers

  • Advisor for a Club or Activity you helped lead or found


When to Ask - Your first week back at school. Your teachers will be receiving a lot of requests. The sooner you can discuss it with them, the better. This is also important if you are applying Early Decision or Early Action to any schools, since your letters will need to be submitted in time for the earlier deadline.


How to Ask

  • Always ask in Person – Even if your school uses electronic systems for submission such as Naviance, it is always best to ask the teacher/counselor in person, before you assign it to them in the system.

  • Ask politely and in a way that allows your teacher to turn down your request if they don’t feel like they know you well enough to feel comfortable writing a positive letter for you.

  • Come prepared with the list of schools you are applying to, their deadlines, and your high school resume and/or brag sheet to make it easier for them to write about you. If your school requires you complete a request form, ensure you do that.

  • Provide stamped envelopes for any schools that require it be sent via mail vs. electronically.


What to Do After You Ask

  • Upon their submission of your letter of recommendation, give each of them a handwritten thank you note in person.

  • Once you receive your results, share it with them. They would be happy to know which schools you were accepted to and its another opportunity to thank them again for the time and effort they made to write your letter.

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