How to Secure a Stellar Recommendation Letter for College Applications

Securing a strong recommendation letter from a teacher or professor can greatly influence the outcome of your college application. The process may seem daunting, but we assure you it’s much easier than you think!

In this article, we will guide you through the steps of obtaining a stellar recommendation letter that highlights your unique qualities and boosts your chances of admission.

Whom Should You Ask?

To begin, thoroughly read the college application requirements. Some institutions may specify that the recommendation letter should come from a teacher who taught you a specific subject or course. Assuming you have some flexibility, it’s important to ask a professor who knows you well and is likely to write enthusiastically about your abilities and character.

A strong recommendation letter should include concrete examples that demonstrate your classroom performance or shed light on your personality. Remember, it’s not just about the grade you received in a particular class; a professor who remembers your name and engages with you during office hours may be better suited to write a comprehensive and meaningful recommendation.

When Should You Ask?

Don’t leave this important task for the last minute! In most cases, teachers and professors expect to be asked for a recommendation letter at least 6 weeks before the submission deadline.

This timeframe allows them to address any queries they may have and allocate sufficient time to craft a well-thought-out letter. Remember, you’re likely not the only student seeking a recommendation letter, so it’s essential to give your professors ample time to meet your request.

How Should You Ask?

While every teacher and professor may have their own preferences, it’s generally best to make your initial request in person whenever possible. If you’re unable to attend office hours, try to approach them before or after a class for a brief conversation. When seeking their agreement to write a recommendation letter, express your intention to follow up via email with all the necessary details.

If you opt to send the initial request via email, be sure to emphasize your willingness to schedule a meeting during office hours. Not only does this display graciousness towards someone doing you a favor, but it also shows your commitment to the opportunity and allows both of you to review any specific requirements outlined in the application.

What Should You Include in Your Request?

To make the process easier for your teacher or professor, provide them with all the essential information, such as:

  • Name of the school or institution to which you are applying
  • Position or program you are seeking admission into
  • Application deadline
  • Name of the person to whom the letter of recommendation should be addressed
  • Detailed explanation of why you are specifically requesting their recommendation
  • Any specific criteria or prompts outlined by the application for the recommendation letter

Additionally, let your teacher or professor know that you will provide them with an addressed and stamped envelope to streamline their submission process.

Also read: 5 Tips for Securing Strong College Recommendation Letters as a Junior


Once your teacher or professor writes the recommendation letter, remember to express your gratitude by thanking them sincerely. Furthermore, keep them informed of the status of your college application. If you receive an acceptance letter, don’t forget to drop by their office, share the exciting news, and express your appreciation once again for their valuable support throughout the process.

By following these guidelines, you can secure a powerful recommendation letter that showcases your potential and enhances your chances of getting into the college of your dreams. Good luck with your applications and remember to stay proactive and appreciative throughout this process!

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