Requesting Recommendation Letters for College

High school juniors heading into spring should shift some focus to which teachers could provide positive recommendation letters for college applications. Colleges and universities often require two recommendation letters—a letter from the school counselor and a letter from a core-subject teacher.

One thing to note is that each college and university has its own specific requirements for letters of recommendation. Be sure to check the college’s application or website, common application, or contact the admissions office for more information.

While recommendation letters are part of the college application that is submitted in the fall and winter, it can be important to reach out to potential recommenders in the spring of junior year. Before doing so, be sure to ask your high school counselor what the school’s protocol is for requesting letters of recommendation. Each high school has its own procedures as well.

Guidelines for recommendation letters

Here are a few HelloCollege guidelines for the requesting process:

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  • Give recommendation letter writers at least four weeks’ notice when you ask for a recommendation.
  • Ask your parents or your school counselor which teachers to approach for the best recommendation letter if you are unsure.
  • Consider asking a teacher from your junior year or a teacher you’ve known for a while. It is best that the letter focuses on your current skills and abilities.
  • It may be helpful to provide your high school resume to the writer or a list of accomplishments from the time you were in their class.
  • Talk to your teacher or letter writer in person when asking for a recommendation. Politely ask if they would be comfortable with writing a recommendation letter for you. This approach may help you avoid receiving a weak recommendation letter.
  • Provide your college application deadlines to your letter writers ahead of time.
  • Once the recommender has completed the letter, be sure to thank each person with a personalized, hand-written thank you card.
  • Your recommender will upload the letter directly to your application, rather than handing it to you.

Whether it’s requesting recommendation letters for the college of your choice, or helping you in other college prep areas, HelloCollege provides top notch guidance. Contact our team.

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Kevin Krebs

Kevin Krebs - Founder of HelloCollege

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Kevin Krebs

Inspired by his parents, Kevin’s journey from a first-gen, diverse, low-income background to Northwestern University shaped him. After experiencing challenges, including student loan debt, he founded HelloCollege and has spent the last 25 years helping students successfully navigate college admissions.

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