If the college you apply to requires letters of recommendation, you will likely need to obtain two to three letters , depending upon the specific requirements. When deciding who to ask, you should consider people who know you well, inside and outside the classroom. According to the professionals at collegeboard.com, the following list of items is helpful when getting a letter of recommendation:
- Don't be shy. Teachers and counselors are usually happy to write letters of recommendation.
- Include stamped envelopes addressed to each school for which you are applying.
- Waive your right to view the letters on the application form because the admissions board will take these letters more seriously.
- Ask a recommendation writer if he or she will be able to write a positive recommendation.
- Follow up with your recommendation writers after a few weeks to make sure they're aware of deadlines.
- Write thank-you notes to your recommendation writers and, later, tell them where you have decided to go to college.
English or math teachers are usually good candidates for recommendation writers. Aim to get someone who knows you well. Your recommendation writer doesn't have to have impressive credentials; for example, a boss, tennis coach, or junior college teacher or advisor can write impressive recommendations for you. Just keep in mind that the person must know you personally, and that person must be able to communicate your strengths.
Don't rush your recommendation writer. It is recommended that you allow at least a month before the deadline for them to write and send your letter of recommendation. Also, when you talk to your recommendation writers, remind them of your accomplishments and inform them about your future plans. You could provide a brief summary of your activities and goals. Keep in mind the best letters of recommendation praise you on specific achievements, not vague boasting.