Asking and submitting letters of recommendation might take longer time compared with preparing and filling in an application to a certain university. This step is considered by many as one of the most difficult in the whole process. No doubt, students are doing all they can to deliver the best possible impression about them, so that they get accepted. In this article, ‘SEE’ provides you with assistance on how to prepare high-quality letters of recommendation.
According to ‘Free Educator’, a teacher or mentor with whom you have shared positive experiences typically provides a letter of recommendation. In this letter, they explain their relationship with you, why they think you’re a great student and why they believe you’re a great candidate for higher education.
However, it is not common for some teachers to write you a letter of recommendation without you having to ask.. The following tips can help you with finishing this hard step at your university application.
- Don’t Just Ask Any Teacher
The one you ask to write you a letter of recommendation shouldn’t just be a teacher you had in the ninth grade. They should be a teacher that you really connected with him/her through having multiple classes that they taught or through a club they oversaw.
Asking a teacher that you share a connection with him/her is essential for receiving a solid letter of recommendation. After all, if a teacher doesn’t have a real relationship with you, he/she won’t have much to write about in your letter. Review all the teachers you’ve had and think about who you are really connected with. Those are the teachers you should ask to write a letter of recommendation for you.
- Don’t Procrastinate
You need to remember that while it might feel like you’re the only student who will ask a teacher to write you a letter of recommendation, you’re not.
If it’s a popular teacher, the chances that they’ve already been asked to write letters of recommendation for your peers is pretty high. That’s why it’s so important to start this process early. Even if the teacher really likes you, they may have to say no to your request if you simply wait too long to ask them.
A good general rule is to approach these teachers before summer vacation starts to ask them. This way, if they want, they can take the whole summer to write you a letter of recommendation.
You’ll need to ask these teachers for their letters about two months before your application’s deadline. They’ll have plenty of time to draft a nice letter for you in that time frame, and you’ll most likely beat out the last-minute rush of requests for letters.
- Ask for a Letter, Don’t Demand One
It’s not a requirement for any teacher to write a student a letter of recommendation. You need to remember this when you approach your selected teachers to ask them. If they agree to write you a letter of recommendation, they are doing so because they truly believe in you. They are doing you a favor, so you need to keep that in mind when you’re going to ask them.
Whenever possible, avoid asking for your letter of recommendation electronically. It will mean much more to your teacher if you approach them in person to visit.
Explain how much you respect them as teachers and how much writing a recommendation for you would mean. It will help to talk about the schools you’re applying to and your career aspirations. Hearing your plans and your respect for them will warm their heart and make it hard for them to say no.
If you have to ask electronically for a letter of recommendation, do so formally and respectfully. It should not be a short one-sentence email. You should include the same things you would say in person in the body of your email or over the phone. Your teacher will appreciate your politeness.
- Explain Any Relevant Information or Details
Set your teacher up for success by giving them all the necessary information that may be required by a university for your letter of recommendation. Some universities require that teachers give their professional background, while others require that they explain your GPA, class rank or extracurricular activities.
Another relevant detail that you absolutely must disclose to your teacher is the date by which you need the letter returned to you. Do not forget to tell them this.
- Don’t Forget to Say Thank You
After you receive your completed letter of recommendation, you need to remember to do this one very important step: express your gratitude. While you can send a heartfelt thank you email to your teacher, it will be more impactful if you give them a handwritten card or gift to thank them for doing you such a big favor. Stop by their classroom or office to deliver it in person. They will truly appreciate it.