Who Should I Ask to Give Me a Letter of Recommendation for College Applications?

When applying to college, you will need to request a letter of recommendation from a few people who know you well. Many high school students struggle to determine which individuals are the best candidates for this task. Here are some tips that may help you get good letters of recommendation and help you get into an affordable college with good graduation rates.

Ask with Confidence

Before you ask anyone for a recommendation letter, prepare yourself for the task. Make sure you are clear about the deadlines for each application you are submitting to a college. Most likely these will be different for every school, and you need to know these deadlines so you can give the correct information as well as plenty of advance notice to the people you approach for a letter.

Also, remember that the teachers, coaches, mentors and other important adults in your life truly want to help you. They will be happy to provide a recommendation for you, and if there is any reason they don’t feel they can give you a good letter, they will politely decline. To make the task easier for them and give you more confidence in asking for help, make sure you give everyone at least a month to complete the letters, and provide addressed, stamped envelopes to make the task easier for them.

Choosing Who to Ask

You may feel like there are plenty of people to ask for letters of recommendation, or you might feel as though there isn’t anyone you can ask. Regardless of how you feel, there is certain to be someone you can trust to provide a good recommendation letter for your college application. Focus on finding people who are a regular part of your life. Teachers are great resources, but so are coaches, pastors and youth leaders who can provide letters of recommendation that shed light on aspects about you that aren’t necessarily reflected in your high school transcripts.

Remember that you’ve grown, learned and changed a lot through high school. When choosing people to write reference letters, try to choose someone who is currently involved in your life. Although a teacher from grade school might be happy to provide you with a recommendation letter, she or he may not have insight on your current academic skills and strengths in a way that your current English teacher will.

Other Tips

Several other considerations may be involved when requesting recommendation letters. Some colleges request letters of recommendation from specific academic instructors or from a school counselor. Make sure you get letters from the correct individuals. Also, admissions departments will be more impressed with your application if you waive the right to read the letters, and your references will also feel more at ease when composing these letters.

When applying to college, letters of recommendation can be one of the trickiest things to get. Have confidence. Know that there are people who want you to succeed. Use these tips as you seek each letter of recommendation, and you’ll find that the task isn’t as difficult as it might seem.