Beyond your GPA, test scores, extracurricular activities, and your admissions essay, a letter of recommendation is often a crucial part of a college application. According to the College Board, a good letter of recommendation can prove who you are beyond grades, it can provide a character reference, and it showcases who is willing to vouch for you. Here are a few tips for asking for and getting a great letter for your college application.
Ask the right person. “Your letter of recommendation should be from a teacher, counselor, or someone else who has a good impression of you and knows you as a student very well,” says Benjamin Overbey, an admissions representative at Full Sail University. “Ask someone you respect and who you can trust.”
Provide details. Your English teacher may know you’re an excellent student and that you’re always on time for class, but they may not know about your volunteer work or long-term career goals. In an article for US News & World Report, college-planning expert Peter Van Buskirk suggests that students give their letter-writer a résumé or a list of achievements, so he or she will know what to cover in the recommendation.
Don’t rush it. “Keep in mind that teachers and other educators are very busy people, and you are asking them for a favor,” says Overbey. “Be patient and give them plenty of time to write you a letter, but don’t be afraid to ask for a deadline if you need it.”