College Rec Letters: Etiquette and Tips



As our current juniors prepare for senior year, college applications and recommendation letters are on the horizon.

Leah Rogelstad, Staff Reporter

The time has come for current West juniors to begin thinking about the post-West plans.  For many students, that plan involves college.  One key part of any college application is a letter of recommendation, a letter from a teacher sharing your strengths and accomplishments.  There are some important things to keep in mind when you are planning for and asking for a letter of recommendation.

Asking for a college recommendation requires expressing gratitude. When asking for a college recommendation one should first thank his or her teacher and show your appreciation for their class. Especially during this unusual time, it could be beneficial to thank your teachers for working extra hard this year. You could also mention why you like the class or something important you learned that year.

When asking for a college recommendation you must remember that you are asking for a favor. It is up to the teacher whether they want to write a recommendation or not. You should pick a teacher you get along well with and make sure their honest opinion of you is positive.  You want the letter to reflect your strengths and assets, so try to choose a teacher from a class in which you were successful or showed good effort.

College recommendations should be requested sooner rather than later so the person you asked has enough time to write it before the college’s deadline. Some teachers also only write a certain amount of letters per year so it is a good idea to figure out who you want to ask early on.  Even if you don’t know to which schools you’ll be applying, you can ask now for a letter you know you’ll need in the fall.

It is also important to thank your teacher multiple times, such as when you ask for the letter and when you request them to submit your recommendation to the college.  Be sure to reach out to the teacher after the letter has been submitted to Naviance to express your thanks again.

Although a lot of colleges only ask for one recommendation it is still a good idea to ask multiple teachers for a letter. Having multiple recommendations can help you stand out in a sea of applicants. If you have not submitted any requests for recommendations, now is a good time to start so your teachers can write them over the summer! Good luck!