Recommendation letters can make or break your application. Here is a guide on choosing who and how to ask.
WHO TO ASK
You should not ask your parents, family members, or friends. Asking these people will produce a biased letter and less credibility for the admissions officers.
Instead, ask people like your teacher, mentor, coach, etc. Try to find people who may speak on your character either inside or outside the classroom, personal growth, or leadership. Some colleges may ask for letters from teachers who teach a specific subject if so be sure to follow those guidelines.
HOW TO ASK
Asking for a recommendation can be kind of scary, but I am sure the people you have in mind will be more than willing to do so. If possible it is more personal if you ask in person rather than over the phone, but if you can't email or call is the best way to go! Whether you ask in person or in email these are the things you need to include when you ask:
- What you are applying for (College, Scholarship, Internship, etc)
- Deadline (Week before the actual deadline)
- Resume or summary of things you are involved in. This gives the writer a guide of what to include in your letter
SHOULD I WAIVE MY FERPA Right?
What is FERPA?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), which is in place to protect the privacy of students' educational records.
What does it mean to waive your rights to view the letter? It means that you are not allowed to see what the person wrote about you. I know it is very tempting to want to see. But it is best to select "yes" to waive your right.
When admissions officers read your recommendation letter they look to see if it is genuine. If you don't waive your FERPA right, it could make the admissions officers that you don't trust your recommender or that the letter is not genuine.
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REMIND YOUR RECCOMENDER OF THE DEADLINE
It is normal for people to get busy or forget about things they have been asked to do. So reminding your recommender of the deadline is important. Always tell them a date a week before the actual deadline just in case anything happens.
It is appropriate to remind your recommender about a week before the deadline, but do not blow up their inbox.