3 Tips for Getting Great Recommendations

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You’ve worked through the toughest assignments and made the right grades, but applying to colleges and for scholarships can be a challenge for even the brightest students. Luckily, there’s no need to be intimidated by reaching out to a teacher for a recommendation letter! You can make your request easy and enticing with these three steps:

1. Show gratitude.

When asking a teacher for a recommendation, remind them of the important experiences in their classroom that inspired you to think big. If you were motivated by a particular project, their mentorship, or the energizing atmosphere in their class, tell them! Communicating your appreciation for their daily efforts will go a long way when they are reflecting on your character.

2. Give time.

As soon as you decide to begin applying to a scholarship program, familiarize yourself with all deadlines for submitting pieces of information. Be proactive and share this timeframe with your teacher early on; this demonstrates that you are respectful of their busy schedule. You may also want to politely remind them of the due date when there are only 2-3 weeks left to submit.

3. Share your story. 

Ideally, you should ask a teacher who knows you and your unique academic talents well. You may or may not have had the highest grade in their class, but perhaps you connected to their teaching style or they saw you apply yourself in their class. You can help remind the teacher of your accomplishments, goals, and personal hurdles you’ve overcome by typing up a resume to outline important information about you.

Your resume should include any family responsibilities, afterschool jobs, extracurricular activities, and leadership positions you’ve held, as well as what you hope to achieve through higher education. This will make it easier for your teacher to highlight your best qualities in their letter.

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This is part of our series celebrating College Application Month. Read more tips here.