It's college application season, which means it is time to start requesting letters of recommendation for college. You may feel nervous about doing this, but just keep in mind the people who you are asking have done this before. Keep these tips in mind when making your requests:
1. Ask the right people.
Letters of recommendation should come from adults who can speak to your talents and abilities. Don't ask your family or friends to write letters of recommendation for you. Teachers are a great place to start - pick out your favorites - those who you had a good connection with as a start. Your guidance counselor will also likely write you a letter of recommendation. Next consider your coaches, club supervisors or employers.
2. Provide your high school resume.
Providing a copy of your high school resume will help the person writing your letter of recommendation cite specific examples about you. Often times teachers are asked to write many of these a year so giving them a guideline of your activities and accomplishments will help them get it done and make it personal.
3. Ask early.
Don't wait until the last minute to ask for letters of recommendation (even if you are nervous about it!). Whoever is writing your letter is likely writing letters for other students too and you need to give them plenty of time to get it done or they may have to tell you, "no." If you haven't lined up people to write your letters yet, do it now!
4. Communicate deadlines and instructions.
Make sure you communicate when the letter is due to your school and how they can submit the letter to the school, whether it is by mail, online or some other method. Send them a friendly reminder a week before the deadline to make sure it's met.
5. Send a thank you note.
Take the time to write a hand written thank you note to the people who took the time out of their day to write your letters of recommendation. It will make a good impression and let them know their efforts were appreciated.
Best of all, good luck with applying to college! If you need some help narrowing down your list of colleges, or would like an essay review, make a free appointment with the College Planning Center of RI. Or Download the College Guide and Sign Up for Monthly College Planning Tips.