Who Should Recommend You?The best recommendations come from people who have worked closely with you and who understand the goals of the award for which you are applying. Your high school teachers and college professors are excellent sources, but also consider previous employers, coaches, clergy members and community leaders.
When to Ask for a Recommendation LetterIn most cases, you'll ask for recommendations as you need them; for example, when you apply for college or scholarships. But you should also plan ahead. Start by making a list of potential letter-writers, including names, addresses, e-mail and phone numbers. Next, compile a file of letters before you need them, especially once you've started college. Ask for letters right after you've finished a course with a professor who likes your work. If you wait until you need the letter (maybe two or three years down the line), you risk losing it because the professor doesn't remember you.
Make It EasyThe people writing your recommendations are doing you a favor, so make it easy for them by being polite and organized. Here's how:
- Provide ample time for the letter to be written. Give at least three weeks advance notice.
- Make a formal request. Schedule an appointment to discuss the recommendation fully or send your teacher an email asking for some time to chat.
- Ask if they would like to see a sample letter. If so, find various types of recommendation letters to share.
- Give your recommender with as much information as possible.