Letters of Rec

Many colleges and scholarships require letters of recommendation, from teachers, counselors, principals. employers, family friends, etc.  It is important to follow these few tips to assure that the person writing your letter has the best possible circumstances in which to recommend you.

1.  Always ask the person if they’re willing to write a letter of recommendation, fill out a recommendation form, or be listed as a reference PRIOR to the request.  This is especially true for the CommonApp, which automatically sends an email to the teachers/counselor you list on the form.   Some teachers may not have the time to write the letter, or may not feel comfortable, and should have the opportunity to say no.  It’s always courteous to ask first, especially considering this person will be judging you as both a student, but as a respectful school citizen.

2. When needing a recommendation from a teacher, consider asking one who knows you well and can talk both about your work in their classroom, but also your character and personality. You may want to pick a teacher from a class that you struggled with and demonstrated that you are a hard worker. If you are a new student to AHS, it’s okay to request a letter from a teacher at your old school.

3. Give the person writing your letter at least two weeks before it’s due. The longer they have to write the letter, the better it will be. Give the person writing the letter an addressed envelope with a stamp on it. Make sure they know when they need to send it in. Check in with them a few days before it’s due to politely remind them to send it, if they haven’t already. If you are picking up the letter, stop by a few days before you’re picking it up to politely remind them when you will be stopping by.

4. Give the writer a copy of your resume (or college resume) and transcript. It is nice for people to know about all the things you have been involved in outside of how they know you. Make sure your career and educational goals are clear on your resume.  Click on "College Resume" below to see a sample College Resume.

5.  It’s always nice to thank the person after the process is completed, whether it be a face to face conversation, a short note, or thank you card.  Your person of recommendation might need to be asked to recommend you again and they will remember the gratitude you showed them.

Beth Frausto,
Sep 19, 2012, 2:03 PM