Request Letters of Recommendation
DON’T DELAY IN MAKING REQUESTS
Your teachers, counselors, coaches, employers, and community leaders receive numerous requests for recommendations and with their busy schedules, they have very limited time. So don’t wait until the last minute to ask. Usually two letters of recommendation will be sufficient.
Requests may include both recommendations for college admission as well as for scholarships. Typically, it takes recommenders 2-to-3 weeks to complete requests, so again, submit your requests early.
A teacher, counselor or other individual’s writing your recommendation can expect to get the following from a student before drafting a letter of recommendation:
1). Approach each teacher and counselor in-person and ask if he/she could help you with writing letters of recommendation. You should express how much you appreciate his or her help. Ask each of them how they plan to submit recommendations, either by (1) submitting electronic letters through the Common Application website, or (2) using traditional paper recommendation forms and letters.
2). Provide clear instructions:
- For colleges not using the Common Application, you must research each college’s requirements for submitting letters of recommendation. These schools may require teachers and counselors to submit their recommendations online through the college’s website, to mail school-specific recommendation forms, or to mail traditional letters of recommendation on high school letterhead.
- For colleges using the Common Application, students must first ask their teachers which method they are using to submit their recommendations, either (1) submitting electronic letters using Common Application online procedures, or (2) using Common Application paper recommendation forms. MG students need to PRINT copies of paper recommendation forms from the Common Application website for COUNSELOR recommenders to complete and mail to each college because we do not have online transcripts.
- For teachers to be able to use the Common Application online procedures, students MUST first "invite" teachers and counselors through the Common Application website. After teachers and counselors are “invited,” they will be notified via e-mail on how and when to submit student recommendations. Before starting the process of “inviting” teachers and counselors, be sure you (the student) have the following information: Your high school's CEEB number (241-489) and street address (9800 Fernbrook Lane). Each teacher's first and last name and e-mail address.
3). A document packet should include:
In your cover letter, mention the accomplishments you would like the recommender to write about. For example, if you plan to major in science, have a science teacher discuss your excellent scientific analytical skills and outstanding lab work, your involvement in science club, etc. If you plan to major in political science, have the person writing your recommendation discuss your involvement in Junior Statesmen of America, how you are an excellent class officer and leader, etc. If you have involvement with community service, have the person writing your recommendation discuss your dedication to the community and to helping others. Be sure your recommendations emphasize your greatest strengths to readers!
When requesting letters of recommendation for scholarship applications, use the same procedures as requesting a recommendation for college admission, but make sure adult recommenders understand the details of each scholarship application. Be sure to stress what each scholarship specifically is looking for in winning applicants and how you meet or exceed the requirements of a being a “winner.” Students will be able to pick up letters from the teacher in a sealed envelope to include with all other necessary paper work for the scholarship. Always be aware of deadline dates and allow 2-3 weeks for request.
Write a Thank you note to the individuals who took time to write your recommendations.