Recommendation letters can be an important way to show your strengths. Start with teachers and counselors who know you best. They should know enough about you to call out your good qualities and show why you’d be a strong addition to a college community.

Once you decide who you’re going to ask, be sure to allow enough time for the recommender to write your letter before it’s due. It’s not only considerate, but it makes sense. Build in at least a month for this part of the process. Also, provide a quick list of your most recent activities, awards and achievements so your recommender is up-to-date on everything you’ve been doing.

Finally, you’ll need to include a stamped envelope so your letter can be mailed directly to the school — and don’t forget to say thanks!


Here are some tips for requesting letters:

Who to Ask
You should request letters of recommendation from people who know you best. Teachers, counselors, mentors and coaches who can speak to your strengths are prime examples. Don’t forget about your boss or an influential figure in the community if they know you well.

When to Ask
Don’t wait until the last minute to ask for recommendation letters. It’s not only inconsiderate to the people you’re asking to help you, but it could mean you don’t get the best possible letter to represent you. To save you and your recommenders a lot of rushing around and extra stress, be sure to allow plenty of time ahead of your deadline — at least one month per letter.

More Tips

BE CLEAR :: Make sure your recommender knows the deadline for submitting your letter, and build in extra time for mailing.

DO YOUR PART :: Be courteous and include a stamped envelope addressed to the school where you’re applying so your recommender can simply drop your letter in the mail.

ATTACH A CHEAT SHEET :: Help your recommender by including your major achievements and awards so they’re top-of-mind.