Letters of Recommendation: How to Approach Your Teachers

Hey seniors – we know you’re gearing up to tackle those college applications! And that means that, sooner or later (hopefully sooner!), you’ll have to reach out to a handful of teachers and ask for a recommendation. Therefore, we figured we’d assemble some advice for how to properly broach the subject. You know, on the off chance that you were a tad apprehensive about the whole process.

Here’s our list of top 10 tips:

1. If possible, ask in person.
2. Approach your teachers during their down time (i.e. after school, free periods, etc.); you’ll all be too harried in between classes.
3. Don’t operate on the assumption your teachers will say yes.
4. Let your teachers know why you’ve chosen them.
5. Ask if they’d feel comfortable writing on your behalf.
6. Tell them which majors you’re (potentially) considering.
7. Offer a list of extracurricular activities/awards or a resume to use as a reference point.
8. Provide all necessary documents and deadlines!
9. Don’t wait until the last minute.
10. Say thank you!

Remember - letters of recommendation are an important facet of your application. After all, they provide great insight into your academic prowess and intellectual abilities. So, don’t let your trepidation slow you down or stop you from asking altogether! Follow these tips and you’ll be able to approach any teacher with confidence.

For more information about letters of recommendation, check out this resource center article.


2 Responses to “Letters of Recommendation: How to Approach Your Teachers”

  1. Selene
    at #

    Is it ok and appropriate to ask the teacher to write a rec letter for more than one school? Is it ok for them to basically submit the same letter?

    • Andrea Kornstein
      at #

      Thanks for your question Selene! Yes, generally you may use a recommendation letter for more than one school. After all, the letter is tailored to you, not a particular institution. However, you should double-check that a college hasn’t outlined specific requirements (ex. an art school might specifically request recommendations from a fine arts teacher, etc.). Good luck!

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