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Video: Asking for a Letter of Recommendation

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Last Updated: Oct 10, 2020

If you’re nervous about asking for a letter of recommendation from a teacher, don’t be! First of all, they expect students to ask. Second of all, we have advice from teachers themselves on the best ways to ask for your letters of recommendation. Student vlogger Olivia interviewed four teachers at her high school and got their advice on asking for letters of recommendation. Check out the video below to hear their advice!

How and who to ask for a letter of recommendation

Every teacher is different, so it’s understandable to want to approach the right teacher(s) in the right way to ask for a letter of recommendation. That’s why Olivia interviewed teachers from varying subjects.

Physical education teacher

Q: When should you ask for a letter of recommendation?

A: Ask far enough in advance so they can prepare, but not so far in advance where they might forget. Touch base during junior year to give them a heads up that you’re interested, then go to them senior year three to four weeks before the letter is due and ask them again.

Q: Who should you ask for your letter of recommendation?

A: Find an adult you have a good connection with. You want to make sure they can speak to your personality and give specific examples of moments they had with you that shed light on who you are.

English teacher

Q: When should you ask for a letter of recommendation?

A: Ask them a month in advance so they can utilize the writing process and take their time to write well and make sure they’re helping you the best that they can. 

Q: Who should you ask for your letter of recommendation?

A: Ask a teacher you have a good relationship with—a good mentor-mentee relationship. They know you as a person who works hard academically and can give specific examples of why you rock. Some colleges want specific staff members to write your recommendation letter; if that’s the case, you’ll want to be ready to give them information about yourself if you’re unsure they can provide specific examples about you. 

Related: Who and How to Ask for College Recommendation Letters

Computer science teacher

Q: How should you ask for a letter of recommendation?

A: Ask in person and be yourself. Don’t be worried! Ask them like you’re asking them for a pencil—act casual and calm. The worst they can say is no.

Q: Who should you ask for your letter of recommendation?

A: Ask the teacher who challenges you the most. You’ve battled for that knowledge, so they know you worked hard for that grade and are dedicated to doing your work successfully. It’s not always the teacher whose class you ace. You want to have that back and forth battle so they can see all that knowledge and hard work.

Science teacher

Q: When should you ask for a letter of recommendation?

A: Ask your teacher in May of your junior year, and let them know you’ll ask again in the fall, which is when you give the actual form for them to fill out. Give them the form in the fall about four weeks before you need it so they can remember all the cool little things about you.

Q: Who should you ask for your letter of recommendation?

A: Some schools require you to ask a math or science teacher and an English teacher. However, even if that’s not a requirement, having one of each recommendation letter will make you look more well-rounded and diverse. Also, you probably want to ask a teacher you had your junior year.

Related: Top 5 Questions About Recommendation Letters, Answered

Remember to be extra nice to your teachers this year so when it comes time to ask for letters of recommendation, you’ll have many people to choose from. Letters of recommendation are too important not to take seriously, so start working up your courage to ask and do it! 

For more helpful college advice from our student vloggers, check out our YouTube channel!

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