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How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation

Last updated February 15, 2023

You may know that many college and scholarship applications require 1-2 letters of recommendation. But what are they, and what purpose do they serve?

Letters of recommendation are typically written by influential figures in a student’s life, such as an educator, counselor, boss, or coach. The people writing your letters of recommendation will speak about your strengths, character, and dedication to school, work, or extracurricular activities. Having strong letters of recommendation is key to completing your college and scholarship applications because they give the people reading them a complete picture of you - including your personality and passions - that just your application alone cannot.

In this piece we’ll break down the important steps to asking for and securing a letter of recommendation!

How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation

Ask your recommender early

While you can request that someone writes you a letter of recommendation over email, asking in-person is always preferable. A general rule is to always ask for a letter of recommendation at least 2-3 weeks in advance. Life is busy, and your recommender will definitely appreciate the time to write you a great letter!

Provide your recommender with a brag sheet

To make the writing process smoother for your recommender, provide them with a brag sheet. A brag sheet is similar to a resume or personal statement, and lists your accomplishments, experiences, leadership skills, extracurricular activities, and any employment or volunteer work you’ve done during your high school career.

Even if you have a close relationship with your recommender, your brag sheet can point out different aspects of your interests and personality to allow them to write the best and most well-rounded letter possible! If there is a particular skill or experience you want them to highlight make sure you include it there!

Give them any important information about the college or scholarship you’re applying to

Make sure your recommender has all the essential information about the college or scholarship you’re applying for, including submission details, deadlines, and more. Some colleges/scholarships will require recommenders to create accounts on their website and upload their letters there, while others may accept them via email.

Send a thank you note

Send a hand-written thank you note to everyone who wrote you a letter of recommendation! They put in time and effort to help you achieve your goals, so be sure to take a moment to express gratitude. Be sure to also keep your recommender in the loop about whether or not you got into the college or received the scholarship you applied for!

Have any questions about securing a letter of recommendation? Text us! Send #Hello to 33-55-77!

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