How to Get a Great Letter of Recommendation

Trust us when we tell you that your favorite teacher isn’t just your favorite teacher. Inspiring teachers usually have a big student fan base. This means that they’re popular targets when it comes to asking for letters of recommendation. If you ask early enough and provide good information highlighting your accomplishments, you can get a great letter of recommendation from your favorite teacher. 

Ask teachers for letters of recommendation in your junior year

Most teachers like to write recommendation letters in the summer. If you wait until the beginning of your senior year to ask, many teachers will already be in the process of writing letters for other students. Teachers appreciate being asked early so they have enough time to craft the most thoughtful and well-considered letter for you. It’s also important to have your letters in hand if you need to meet Early Decision or Early Action deadlines in the fall. The earlier you ask, the better.

Choose teachers that you have a meaningful connection with

The best way to get a great letter of recommendation is to ask for one from a teacher who can speak about your performance inside the classroom and your character outside. Most colleges require 1 to 3 recommendation letters. If you can’t submit all your letters through the school specific supplements on the Common App, most schools will accept additional letters via email.

Prepare 3 to 5 bullet points that highlight your accomplishments

It can be hard for teachers to remember specific details about individual students. You can help the teachers writing your letters by giving them a short list that highlights: 

  • Your accomplishments in that teacher’s classroom
  • Your accomplishments in your high school
  • Significant participation in extracurricular activities or clubs 
  • Any awards or distinctions you’ve received
  • Any unique circumstances you have 

Letters of recommendation give a college insight into who you are beyond your grades and test scores. Give your teachers the time and information they need to put together a great letter of recommendation for you.

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