July 30, 2021
The goal of a college recommendation letter is to humanize you; give the admissions committee a better idea of who you as a person and a student, and to tell a bit about your character.
When asking a teacher, coach, or mentor for a recommendation, there are four things you should always do.
The recommender should be able to speak to your personality and give insight into who you are beyond your grades. Ask someone who you interact with regularly, like a teacher, counselor, employer, or community leader.
Try not to wait until the last minute to ask for a letter of recommendation—give your recommender at least a month to write a letter. Many teachers and coaches have to write letters of rec for a large number of students, so if possible, give them six to eight weeks notice.
After you’ve asked for a letter of recommendation, give that individual all the necessary details.
You may also want to include materials they need to “brag” about you. You can give your recommender a note that include relevant information that will help them write the letter.
These materials will help your recommender stay focused on key topics while including personal anecdotes.
As the application deadline approaches, it’s a good idea to contact your recommenders and politely remind them to submit their letters. After you have confirmation that they submitted your letter, write a card thanking them for their time and dedication to helping you achieve your goals. And when you hear back from schools, be sure to keep your recommenders updated and thank them again.
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