Requesting Recommendation Letters for College
High school juniors winding down from what is traditionally considered one of the most academically challenging years should shift their focus before the end of the school year to which teachers could provide positive recommendation letters for college applications.
When applying to colleges, commonly two recommendation letters are required. On many applications, a letter from a guidance counselor and a letter from a core-subject teacher or two is requested. However, each college may have their own specific request. Be sure to check the college’s application, website or contact the admissions office.
While recommendation letters will be included in your college application in the fall or winter, it can be helpful to reach out to teachers now. Before doing so, be sure to ask your high school counseling center what the school’s protocol is for requesting letters of recommendation. Each high school has their own procedures.
- Give recommendation letter writers at least four weeks notice when you ask for a recommendation.
- Ask your parents or your guidance counselor which teachers to approach for a recommendation letter if you are unsure.
- Consider asking a teacher from your junior year or a teacher you’ve known for a while. It is best that the letter focuses on your current skills and abilities.
- It may be helpful to provide your high school resume to the writer or provide a list of accomplishments from the time you were in their class.
- Talk to your teacher or letter writer in person when asking for a recommendation. Politely ask if they would be comfortable with writing a recommendation letter for you. This approach may help you avoid receiving a weak recommendation letter.
- Provide your college application deadlines to your letter writers ahead of time.