WHO TO ASK…
Read your college’s requirements for recommendation letters carefully. Some universities request
letters from any adult who can attest for your potential as a student. In these cases, you can ask any
non-family member who knows you well (such as a pastor, coach, teacher, etc.)
HOWEVER, most colleges require that an academic teacher write at least one letter of
recommendation (academic meaning Language Arts, math, science, or Social Studies teachers). In
o If possible, use a teacher from your junior or senior year. Do not go back too far because
colleges want a current perspective on you as a candidate.
The best bet is to choose a teacher who knows you both academically AND through extracurricular
activities. However, if you need to choose between one or the other, always ask your classroom
WHEN TO ASK…
Make sure to give your writer plenty of time. The current rule of thumb is to ask at least one month
before you need to send the application out.
Obviously, the more time you give your writer, the better.
HOW TO ASK…
Approach your potential writer outside of a busy classroom (during down time in class, his or her
prep period, etc.)
Assist your writer by compiling a brief list of personal highlights. List specific awards, volunteer
activities, exceptional projects from his or her class, etc. The more examples your writer has of your
achievements, the better. Vague praise only gets one so far.
Give your writer an addressed and stamped envelope for the school/scholarship he or she is mailing
the letter to when complete.
Provide your writer with a deadline (again, be reasonable).
BE SURE TO FOLLOW –UP…
Remind your writer a week or so prior to ensure the letter is sent out on time.
Write a thank-you note to your writers and update them about where you’ve decided to go to school.
Be sure to do this before you leave high school.