Source: Inside Higher Ed
Source: Inside Higher Ed


A foolproof guide to recommendation letters.

October 22, 2020

Putting yourself out there for a recommendation letter seems daunting but the good news is that most teachers have experience writing recommendation letters and will gladly support academic accomplishments. However, it may be difficult to figure out how to approach them.



First and foremost, making sure one knows what recommendation letters are important. Apart from rec letters being able to back up your academic history, they are also used to personalize applications. Recommendation letters speak on what type of person one is and his/her characteristics. 



Once one understands what recommendation letters are used for, it is important to base this knowledge on who one chooses to ask. It can be a teacher in which one excelled in their class or a teacher in which one has a really strong relationship with.

“I have a teacher that has been there for me since my freshman year and has seen me develop throughout the years. I feel confident that she knows me very well to write a strong recommendation letter,” senior Ana Estrada stated.

 Keep in mind that whichever teacher one asks has to be able to elaborate on the type of person one is in order to fulfill the purpose of a recommendation letter.



It can be nerve wracking for people to ask a teacher to write a recommendation letter. Though it is important to remember that teachers always have students in their best interest. Their job is to teach students and help students succeed and be part of their success. In the occasion that they seem hesitant or say no, do not stress and ask another teacher.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is time management. One has to note that they are probably not the only student asking a teacher for a recommendation letter. Asking them a month ahead of time is a great way to ensure that they have the time to write a strong recommendation letter that talks about the type of person one is. It also shows that one is considerate of the teacher’s time. 

Due to COVID-19, the best way to ask is through email and if the opportunity presents itself, then in person is best. When starting off the conversation, be sure to greet them. Let them know why they are being asked. Keep in mind that they have had a large number of students over the years, so make sure to highlight why their class was important. 



When one asks for a recommendation, he/she must make sure to have certain things at hand. For example, one must make sure that they have an updated resume to give to his/her teachers. It is important to show what activities one does after school, as it allows the teacher to be more aware of what one is up to outside of the class and other accomplishments one has that are not school related. To add on, one should let them know what schools he/she is applying to and when the deadlines are so they can keep that in mind. 



Always remember that teachers do not have to write recommendation letters, but they took their time to write it anyway. Make sure to thank them for writing the recommendation letters. It will also please the teachers to know that one appreciates what the teacher did for them.


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