Tips for Getting Strong College Recommendation Letters
Applying to universities takes time and commitment. There are many steps in any application, but none are as important as getting recommendation letters. These are personalized recommendations from trusted individuals about your academic and personal successes. Use these tips for getting strong college recommendation letters to make your application stand out above the rest.
Ask the Right People
The first step, and probably the most important tip, is to ask the right people. Since you’re applying to college, the best option is to ask your high school teachers. They know your academic standing and can provide the best feedback. Teachers will highlight your academic achievements, personality, and work ethic, all of which college application administrators will consider. It also doesn’t hurt to ask community leaders, religious leaders, or former employers (assuming you left in good standing). Diversifying your recommendation letters shows well-roundedness within your community. Refer to a college admissions consultant for tips on how to ask people for letters of recommendation if you’re uncomfortable taking the initial steps.
Remind Them Who You Are as a Student and Person
It doesn’t hurt to remind them about yourself. As you finish high school, reach out to teachers who’ve made an impact on your life. It allows you to focus on your personal life and academic goals. Give teachers a friendly reminder of who you are and your goals. Discuss class participation, specific projects, research, extracurriculars, and challenges you’ve overcome.
Let Them Know in Advance
Another one of the most important tips for getting strong college recommendation letters is to ask well in advance. Give your recommendation writers plenty of time to write it. No one wants to feel pressured to write a recommendation letter, and teachers lead busy lives with their classes and research. Nonetheless, with plenty of notice, they’ll find time to write your letter. Just remember to list the colleges and their respective deadlines to have the letters ready on time. Follow up every so often to know the status of your letters. Also, write thank-you notes with how much you appreciate their support.
Don’t Read Your Letters
Finally, while it may be tempting to read your letter and see what others say about you, don’t do it. If possible, waive your right to view your recommendation letters once they’re submitted. This shows schools that you trust what the writers have to say. There’s also a sense of credibility and confidentiality in these letters. They hold a certain prestige in their profession, and your colleges know that.