How To Get Great College Letters Of Recommendation

How To Get Great College Letters Of Recommendation

How To Get Great College Letters Of Recommendation
Santosh Dhamala

Recommendation letters are crucial in college applications, providing insights into applicants' skills, achievements, and character. This guide will walk you through requesting recommendation letters and offering tips to ensure their quality and effectiveness.

Why Are Recommendation Letters Important?

Demonstrating Your Talents Beyond Grades and Test Scores

Colleges value recommendation letters because they allow them to go beyond quantitative measures like grades and test scores. These letters provide a window into your unique talents and abilities.

Showcasing Real-Life Examples of Your Personality and Character

Recommendation letters offer a glimpse into your personality and character through concrete examples. They shed light on how you contribute to the academic community and interact with others.

Highlighting Your Skills, Achievements, and Attitude Toward Education

A well-crafted recommendation letter can make your application stand out by emphasizing your skills, accomplishments, and positive attitude toward education.

When Should You Request a Recommendation Letter?

Giving Teachers Ample Time

Teachers require sufficient time to write recommendation letters, considering their workload of multiple recommendations, lesson planning, and grading. It is advisable to approach them as early as possible, ideally at the start of your senior year.

Early Decision Applications

For students applying for early decision, requesting recommendation letters at the beginning of the senior year is even more critical. This timing ensures teachers have ample time to compose thoughtful, detailed letters.

Who Should You Ask for a Recommendation Letter?

Reviewing College Application Requirements

Thoroughly review the requirements of each college application. Some colleges may specify whom they prefer to receive recommendation letters from, such as core subject teachers, specific subject teachers, or school counsellors.

Seeking Advice from Trusted Individuals

Seek guidance from teachers, counsellors, and family members who can provide valuable input on who would be best suited to write your recommendation letters.

Selecting the Right Recommender

Choose a current teacher or one from your junior year who knows you well and can provide a comprehensive evaluation. Avoid selecting teachers you had several years ago, as colleges want to assess your current self.

Consider Teachers with Non-Academic Connections

Teachers who know you beyond the classroom, such as those who have led clubs or extracurricular activities you participated in, can offer unique insights. Their recommendation can provide a well-rounded perspective on your skills and character.

Exploring Other Adults Who Know You Well

If the college permits, you may also consider seeking recommendations from adults outside the educational setting, such as coaches, employers, or club advisers. Always check with the admissions office to make sure these additional recommendations are allowed.

Choose an Enthusiastic Recommender

Above all, select someone who will be genuinely enthusiastic about writing your letter. If you're unsure about a particular person, politely inquire if they feel comfortable recommending you to avoid obtaining weak or forced-sounding letters.

Ensuring an Outstanding Letter of Recommendation

Refreshing Your Recommender's Memory

Help your teachers provide detailed and positive information by refreshing their memory. Remind them of specific achievements and experiences from your school career.

Providing a Resume or "Brag Sheet"

Consider sharing a resume or "brag sheet" with your teacher. Include details such as your class participation, best work/projects, lessons learned, and specific examples they may want to discuss.

Requesting a Recommendation Letter from a Counselor

Scheduling an Appointment

If available, make an appointment to meet with your counsellor to discuss recommendation letters. Follow your school's designated process for receiving a counsellor recommendation.

Sharing Your Skills, Achievements, and Aspirations

During your meeting, discuss your skills, accomplishments, hobbies, and goals for college and beyond. Provide a comprehensive understanding of your background and plans.

Addressing Low Grades or Transcript Issues

If you have any low grades or issues on your transcript, explain the circumstances to your counsellor and highlight the steps you've taken to improve.

Follow Up and Express Gratitude

After providing the necessary information, follow up with your teacher or counsellor to address any questions they may have or offer additional details. Remember to express your gratitude by saying, "Thank you!"

Key Recommendations and Tips

Key Recommendations and Tips To Get Great College Letters Of Recommendation

Waiving Your Right to View Recommendation Letters

To enhance the credibility of recommendation letters, consider waiving your right to view them. Admission officers often trust confidential letters more than those that applicants have seen.

Ensuring Proper Communication

When requesting recommendation letters, ensure that you have the correct email address of the recommender. Use email as a convenient and efficient method of communication.

Notifying Teachers of Deadlines

Inform your teachers about the deadlines for each college application and inquire about their preferred turnaround time. Establish clear communication to avoid any last-minute rush.

Tracking Your Recommendations

Keep track of your recommendation letter submissions through your application portal. If the deadline is approaching and you notice that a letter hasn't been submitted, politely follow up with your teacher.

Expressing Gratitude

Once your letters are complete, don't forget to write a sincere thank-you note to your references. When you have made your college decision, inform them of your choice and express your appreciation for their support.

100,000+ students achieved their study abroad dreams with us.  Start your journey today.


How should I address a recommendation letter?

When addressing a recommendation letter, it is best to use a formal salutation such as "Dear [Teacher's Name]" or "Dear [Counselor's Name]." Use the appropriate title and maintain a respectful tone throughout the letter.

What is the best way to ask teachers for letters of recommendation?

To ask teachers for letters of recommendation, approach them in person and express your appreciation for their guidance. Clearly explain why you are requesting their recommendation and provide relevant information about yourself, such as your future goals and achievements. It is essential to ask well in advance, allowing them sufficient time to craft a thoughtful letter.

How do I request a letter of recommendation by email?

When requesting a letter of recommendation via email, ensure that the subject line indicates the purpose of the email. Start with a polite greeting and briefly explain your reason for reaching out. Provide a detailed overview of your accomplishments, experiences, and aspirations. Ask the individual if they would be prepared to write a letter of reference for you and offer to supply any further details they might want.

How can I politely ask for a college letter of recommendation?

To politely ask for a college letter of recommendation, approach the person with respect and appreciation. Explain your desire to apply to college and express how their recommendation could significantly contribute to your application. Ask if they would be willing to write a letter on your behalf, emphasizing the qualities and experiences you believe they can highlight.

How do I request a letter of recommendation from a principal?

Requesting a letter of recommendation from a principal follows a similar process to asking a teacher or counsellor. Arrange a meeting with the principal to discuss your college plans and the importance of their recommendation. Provide relevant information about yourself and your achievements. Ask if they would be willing to write a letter of recommendation, highlighting any specific qualities or experiences you would like them to include.

How do I ask for a letter of recommendation from someone I don't know well?

When asking for a letter of recommendation from someone you don't know well, take the time to build a connection with them. Engage in meaningful conversations, express your interest in their field or expertise, and participate actively in relevant activities or projects. Once you have established a rapport, politely explain your situation and the purpose of the recommendation letter. Provide them with information about your accomplishments and goals, and kindly ask if they would be willing to write a letter on your behalf.

To whom should I avoid asking for a letter of recommendation?

Choosing recommenders who can provide a well-rounded and objective assessment of your qualifications is important. It is generally best to avoid asking for a letter of recommendation from family members or close friends, as their perspective may be perceived as biased. Additionally, avoid asking individuals who may not have sufficient knowledge of your academic abilities, character, or skills.

What information should a college letter of recommendation include?

A college letter of recommendation should provide insights into your academic abilities, character traits, and personal achievements. It should include specific examples or anecdotes that showcase your skills, work ethic, leadership qualities, and contributions to the academic community. The letter should also emphasize your potential for success in higher education and any unique qualities or experiences that set you apart from other applicants.

Related Posts :


100+ One Word Substitution

100+ one word substitution with examples as well as practice questions and quizzes for competitive exams. This article will help you to get complete information.
Mandira Pangeni - oldMon Sep 05 2022

Types of Reasoning Questions in Competitive Exams

Common Types of Reasoning Questions in Exams. Here will get all the information related to Reasoning Questions: Types, Sample Ques, Worksheet.
Santosh DhamalaThu Sep 08 2022