The choice to go back to school is a courageous one. A common item you’ll need for many college applications is a letter of recommendation. You might already have some people in mind, but it’s important to know the best way to ask.
Consider Who Is the Best Fit
If you’re applying for college, think about the skills you want the admissions board to see and who might be the best person to convey those skills. Make sure you select someone who has detailed knowledge of your abilities and talents. Sometimes this is a teacher or employer who knows and understands your abilities in a way other people might not.
For example, if you’re applying to a music program, your orchestra teacher is going to understand your talents more than your English teacher. Also, pick someone you’ve been in recent contact with. Colleges want a current perspective of who you are and what you know. An individual who knew you many years ago but hasn’t been around you recently won’t be able to provide that kind of perspective.
Know When to Ask to Avoid a Rush
Check the date on your applications and ask for recommendations at least a month before they’re due. Although this sounds like a lot of extra time, it puts less pressure on your references and shows respect for any busy schedules. It also gives them time to reflect on your abilities and what makes you stand out above other people, so they can paint you in the best possible light.
Understand What Your References Might Need Help With
After your references agree to write a letter of recommendation for you, they’ll still need some specific information. Provide your references with the following to ensure their letters get to the college of your choice with little to no problems:
- Give the date the letter needs to be mailed by.
- Offer reminders of any situations or instances you think would be helpful to discuss.
- Share anything important you learned from your reference or how they influenced you in a positive manner.
- Express your plans for the future and how your reference helped you shape your goals.
Getting a letter of recommendation might seem overwhelming, but you can streamline the process. Think carefully about who you’d like to contact, be mindful of their time and make sure they have all the information they need. These details can make your letter of recommendation a success.
~Here’s to Your Success!
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