Ask the right person.
There may be some teachers who you really look up to. But if you never had a meaningful relationship or did not do well in their class, then they may not be able to write the kind of recommendation letter you want. Carefully choose someone who can speak to your strengths that you want to highlight in your application. If you want UNC to know about your local community service, ask your nonprofit club advisor to recommend you. If you want to focus on your international interests, ask your favorite language teacher. Just make sure their recommendation can speak to the strengths you’re highlighting in your application.
Teachers have a lot to do over the summer and so many seniors will leave this request until this fall. If you ask now, your letter will be on the top of their to-do pile and they have all summer to craft a strong recommendation.
Ask in person.
This is the polite thing to do. Asking in person will also help you answer any immediate questions they may have, and will prove to them that you’re as serious about this recommendation as they will be.
Give them a head start.
Even if this teacher was your mentor all through high school, they’ll need some general information when writing your recommendation. I suggest you hand them the following once they accept your request:
Only ask for how many you need.
If you only need two references, please only ask two professors. If one says no, then ask another. Please don’t ask for more because you won’t use them and that’s a waste of their time.
Offer a delicious thank you.
Bake him an apple pie. Make her chocolate-covered strawberries because they’re her favorite. Buy his favorite candy with a nice card because you don’t know how to bake. Do something special as a thank you because this person is helping you apply to college. They deserve something sweet. Do this only after they have written the recommendation.
Follow up with your final decision!
Tell them where you got accepted or where you committed to when the time comes. They are supporting your admission, so they’ll be interested in where you end up especially if their letter helped you get into your dream school.
If you have any other tips, please share them below!
Hi, I'm Riley! I graduated from college in December 2016, after working to earn over $100,000 in scholarships and aid.