1. Start by organizing your information.This includes listing out the application deadlines for all of the colleges to which you’re applying that you’d like recommendation letters for. That way, you’ll be able to provide a timeline when requesting letters. It’s always a good idea, though, to ask as early as possible so that the person writing your letter isn’t doing so on a time crunch. You’ll also want to list out any important application or letter requirements for each school. This is important because some colleges specify the number of required recommendation letters (if more than one) or may require specific recommendation letters from teachers within a specific subject or a letter from a counselor, specifically. Ensure you know the requirements for each application before approaching anyone about writing a letter.
2. Decide who to ask.Create a list of potential adults who may be a good source for a recommendation letter. This includes teachers, coaches, counselors and any other adult who knows you well enough to write a positive, insightful letter on your behalf. While your family members and peers would likely write glowing recommendations, nix asking them. Their options of you aren’t as credible because they have too much bias because of your relationships, so colleges won’t take them seriously.
3. The earlier you ask, the better the letter.It’s vital to give anyone you’re requesting a recommendation letter from plenty of time to think about what they’d like to write and then actually write the letter. That’s why it’s important to request your letters as early on as possible, before the college admissions season rush begins. Try to ask them as far in advance of an application deadline as possible to ensure your recommendation letter gets prepared in a timely manner. Also, if you ask too late, many teachers will have to decline your request. You want to give yourself enough time to make additional requests, if necessary. Plus, the earlier you begin, the more letters you’ll be able to obtain, which only makes you look better as an applicant.
4. Provide them with all of the necessary information.Along with your student resume or brag sheet, include any pertinent information they may need to include within the letter or should be aware of when writing your recommendation letter. These items aren’t required, but are helpful to the writer and providing them can enhance the quality of your recommendation. Try to include the following: • Any deadlines they should know
• Your full name and contact information (address, email and telephone number)
• Your student resume or “brag sheet”
• Any forms to fill out required by each college you’re applying to (if applicable)
• Pertinent information about the school you’re applying to (For example, if you’re applying to a certain program, it’s important they highlight your student accomplishments that speak to that.)
• A copy of your college essay and application
• The name/address of each college or university
• Addressed envelopes with stamps (if they’re sending the letters directly to the colleges)