Asking for Teacher Recommendations

Teachers are happy to write recommendations for students - they enjoy doing everything they can to help students realize their dreams. Here are some steps you can take to help your teachers write the best possible recommendation and get it there on time:

  • Give your teachers enough time! Ask for your recommendation as soon as possible. Even though two weeks may seem like plenty of time to write a letter, remember that several other students may also be asking for recommendations at the same time as you. If you wait until the last minute, yours may not get the attention it deserves.
  • Give your teacher everything necessary. Read the recommendation form carefully. There may be information you need to fill out or your signature may be needed. Put the form into a folder with an addressed and stamped envelope. Write your name and application deadline clearly on the front of the folder.
  • Tell your teacher about yourself. Write up a brief list of the things you've been most proud of in your high school career - especially things you may have accomplished in the class of the teacher from whom you're asking for the recommendation. If you were in the class a couple of years ago, the teacher might have forgotten some of the stellar things you did. Or the teacher might not be aware of awards you've won or extracurricular achievements. The more specific the recommendation, the more powerful it is.
  • Don't be shy about reminding your teacher.  Teachers won't get insulted! It's fine to let a week or two go by and then ask, "Hey, did you get around to writing that recommendation for me?" If we did, then we'll let you know; if not, we'll probably appreciate the reminder.
  • Take the time to write a thank-you note. During college application crunch time, some teachers might spend up to an entire Saturday writing letters of recommendation. When they're all done with that, a short thank-you note from you means a lot!