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How do you ask a teacher for a letter of recommendation?

  1. Tiger Mom profile image60
    Tiger Momposted 4 years ago

    How much weight does this letter of recommendation carry in your college application?  Should you waive the right to review it before it's sent?

    1. phdast7 profile image83
      phdast7posted 4 years ago in reply to this

      In my experience both as a student and a professor, it carries a lot of weight. Lots of students apply who have great GPAs and excellent SAT or GRE scores.   So, often decisions are made based on faculty recommendations or students essays (that is if you are asked to write one). Also you should have 2-4 good letters of recommendation.

      Asking a teacher to write a letter is not the problem  (more on that in a minute).  The real issue is, have you built a relationship with a teacher?  Was your attendance good?   Did you speak up in class?  Were your exams and assignments of high quality?   Did you visit the faculty in their office just to talk?

      If you can answer yes to these questions, then you should ask that teacher/professor for a reomendation.  Here is what you do.   Start early gathering all the application materials from the schools you want to apply to.  Make sure you ask the teacher for a letter about three months before the final deadline.   Teachers are very busy and sometimes get many requests for letters.

      Be organized.  Fill out all the necessary forms.  Sign them.   Make sure you include a stamped addressed envelope if one is required.  Complete a detailed resume on yourself, include all your activities.Now put all these items in a nice clean manila folder (cost about 20 cents).

      Now go see your teacher/professor during their office hours (not during class and on;t stop them in the hall).  Sit down, be polite, you are asking for a favor.  Explain that you are applying to colleges and that you hope they will be willing to write you a recommendation letter.   Tell them when the deadline is and show them all the information in the folder.   Say thank you.  If and when you get accepted into a college or program, tell them about it and say thank you again.

      Always have several people in mind that you can ask in case someone says no.  Teachers say no for two reasons:  1) they don;t really know you or your work or they don;'t feel like they can write a positive letter, or 2) they are very nusy and you ahve waited until the last moment and they cannot get it done in time.   If someone says no, don't oush it -- you probably wouldn't get a good letter.

      1. Tiger Mom profile image60
        Tiger Momposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        All good advice, phdast7.  College Admission Directors read letters of recommendation just like potential employers contact references.  A good reference is paramount to success at any stage of life.

      2. livewithrichard profile image85
        livewithrichardposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        All great advice, and if I were you, I would expand on this advice while also turning it into a hub.  I'm sure there are many other prospective students looking for the same advice.

        1. Tiger Mom profile image60
          Tiger Momposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          Hi livewithrichard,
          Looks like great minds think alike.  Check out my hub 'Top Ten Tips on Getting Letters of Recommendation for College Application'.

  2. rlaha profile image79
    rlahaposted 4 years ago

    Hi Tiger Mom.
      I have had the situation recently where I was filling out applications for grad schools.  Some of the schools had forms for my professors to fill out.  On the top part was a box where I had to sign, date and check a box if I wanted to waive my rights to knowing what my professors had written about me.  I checked the box, because I honestly do not want to know what they said about me.  I know these professors well enough that they will give me decent recommendations at least, if not glowing ones.  I am really not worried about what they said, so I just checked the boxes on the forms.

      I guess in all honesty, if you are not sure what your professor will say about you, then you can keep the box unchecked.  It's up to you.

    1. Tiger Mom profile image60
      Tiger Momposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      Hi Again rlaha,
      Choosing not to micro-manage is the right choice.  You sound like you are on the ball.  Good luck in your studies!

      1. rlaha profile image79
        rlahaposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        Thanks! smile