Asking for recommendations

If you’re a senior in the thick of college and scholarship applications, there’s one task you don’t want to leave until the last minute: asking for written recommendations.

It’s very possible that your college application will need to include a written recommendation from an adult in your life: a teacher, coach, boss, guidance counselor, etc. As soon as you know that you’ll need a recommendation, make a quick list of people you can ask. Here are a few tips to help you approach them graciously, and increase the chances that they’ll say yes.

Do your own asking. This is something you absolutely must do for yourself. Nothing says “not ready for college” like having your parent request a recommendation for you. Ask in person if it’s at all possible, but you can also call or send an email, if it’s more practical.

Be polite. Remember that you’re asking a favor of someone who is likely very busy. Be respectful and polite when you ask.

Give plenty of time. You’ll increase your chances of getting the recommendation if you give the person ample time to get it done—several weeks, if possible. Be sure you mention your deadline when you ask. Remember that teachers may have several recommendations to write, so all the more reason to ask early-on.

Give them information to go on. If there are any requirements around the recommendation – what traits of yours should be highlighted, for example—be sure to let them know.

Give a friendly reminder, if needed. Again, remember that people get busy, so if your deadline is approaching and you haven’t received anything, offer a politely-worded query as to whether they’ll still be able to complete your recommendation.

Remember to say “thanks.” You’ll seem like a total pro if you remember to thank the person once you’ve received their recommendation. Remembering to follow up in this way is a real sign of maturity that will take you far.

Caroline Hanson

About Caroline Hanson

Caroline is a communications consultant for Wells Fargo Education Financial Services. Although she has been known to forget her own ZIP code, she has memorized the lyrics to every bad 1970s pop song ever written. Unfortunately, she also loves karaoke. Caroline spends her spare time at Target®. She also likes biking slowly and has participated in RAGBRAI. Caroline is a graduate of Iowa State University and has worked in journalism and public relations for the past 14 years. She lives in Iowa with her husband and has a 19-year-old stepdaughter and 2-year-old son.
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One Response to Asking for recommendations

  1. dinesh says:

    Nice post.This article is every informative and interesting.Believe me i have never ever read this type of article, I refer your blog to many of my friends as well.
    Thanks for sharing knowledge..

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