How to ask for a recommendation letter

How to ask for a recommendation letter


Writing a letter of recommendation involves a considerable effort. You cannot ask an instructor or supervisor as you notice them walking in the premises of the college or down the hallway. You must know how to ask for a recommendation letter. Choose your recommendation letter writer very carefully and also plan your approach and timing.


  • Ask someone who honestly knows you well

As you decide whom to ask, consider the supervisors or instructors ranking who are familiar with your achievements and work. The ranking of the recommender is important as senior faculties’ reference carry weight. This faculty must have taught you the relating subject.While you may be tempted to ask a recommendation letter from some academic hero, but refrain doing so , as in all reasons, your recommendation letter need to be really strong to leave an impression on the reader.


  • Ask early

Avoid waiting up to the last minute. Approaching before the deadline is recommended, thus you need not pressure them. Instead give enough time for them to go over your performance. Yet, if required as the deadline is approaching, you may write a friendly reminder.


  • Ask personally

Ask a person face-to-face for letters of recommendation. Do not leave voicemails or send emails. Many supervisors and instructors every year deal with recommendation requests in dozens. If you are a stellar employee or a student also, do not expect everyone to remember you. Thus include your accomplishments as a reminder, especially relating to the supervisor or instructor. Also, write your goals and plans clearly, so that even your writer is clear about what you require.


  • Provide necessary materials

It is essential to provide required materials. If you wish to apply to many schools, provide stamped envelopes to your writer. For multiple letters, organize a folder, the list of schools requesting recommendation letter and a cover sheet. There may be applications asking you to send the recommendation letter in a sealed envelope. If so, you must include appropriate size envelopes and the postage amount must be in surplus.


Finally, request the recommendation letter writer to save a copy of this letter as considering a second copy may be required, in case the letter is lost.


  • Send a thank-you note


You may send a thank-you note once the letter is sent out. Do not wait long: a week or two is justified timeline.


A recommendation letter is crucial during admission process and also in acceptance, but for some it may be an admission interview process. Thus, knowing how to ask for a recommendation letter is important.


Do’s and Don’ts

  • Choose a person who thinks high of you.
  • In the request, you may say “I know with the examinations due, you may be busy with evaluations and if you are too busy to write a recommendation letter, I understand”.
  • Your reference must be contacted and ask if it is convenient to speak and state the reason for contacting.
  • This is a favor you are asking for, so be warm and polite in your request. Also mention why you consider him or her as ideal to provide you recommendation letter.


How to ask for a recommendation letter includes many forms. It may be requested by email and if you want the recommender to fill up forms, follow-up with a written letter including the details.