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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Asking Teachers for Letters of Recommendation

At the end of junior year is the ideal time to ask teachers for a letter of recommendation for college applications. Often, students choose to ask the teachers "who like them", but this is not always the best strategy. Here are some things to consider as you choose which teachers to ask:
  • Have I had regular contact with this teacher in the past two years? This is not the time to go back to your favorite 5th grade teacher and say, "Remember me? Would you write a letter for me?"
  • Which teacher can best speak to my academic and non-academic strengths? 
  • Consider asking teachers from your core subjects- math, science, English, social studies, foreign language. Often a college will specifically ask for a letter from one of these areas.
  • Is this someone who can add something to round out my college application? This means something personal and meaningful- not a form letter that doesn't share anything about you.
And, since I am often asked, yes, you should waive your right to see your letters of recommendation. This adds a level of credibility to the words as college admissions people read through your letters.