Get the Best Letter of Recommendation

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When applying to a college, university, internship, or scholarship, you will be asked to submit a letter of recommendation. Sometimes they want multiple letters, so you must be strategic when petitioning people to write a letter for you. This can be arduous, but the more intentional you are in this process, the better. We believe in #SuccessOnPurpose and approaching this process with intention is best for your desired outcome.

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These letters, frequently prepared by instructors, therapists, or managers, are intended to attest to your abilities and character. An excellent letter of recommendation gives the individual assessing your application a better understanding of who you are and what drives you, going beyond what is on your résumé.

What are Letters of Recommendation Used For?

Frequently, a letter of recommendation is requested for college applications. When you apply for an undergraduate program or, occasionally, graduate school, you’ll typically need one to three of these reference letters. Although reference letters are occasionally requested instead of lists of references on job applications, this need does occur sometimes. Even if a reference letter is not required for a job application, including one with your cover letter or application may offer you an advantage over other candidates.

It’s pretty normal to have anxiety when requesting a letter of recommendation. Even though it can seem strange at first, it’s a typical step in the application process. You can increase your likelihood of receiving outstanding recommendations by making preparation.

Who will be writing your letters of recommendation?

The person who writes your letter of recommendation is your choice! Select a teacher, city official, counselor, or person of note who is well acquainted with you and can speak to your character personally, and will provide the best recommendation. Make a list of potential people. Although you generally only need three, it’s always a good idea to have extras on hand just in case.

Consider selecting your high school guidance counselor and a teacher if you’re applying to college. Select the instructors of the classes you did well in (and who you had a good rapport with). Your junior or senior year teachers will have the most recent memories of you (and are likely more accustomed to writing such letters). A guidance counselor’s letter is required for many college applications. Make an appointment if you don’t know this individual well so they can get to know you better.

Your letter of recommendation will probably come from one (or more) of your teachers if you’re preparing an application for graduate school. Ask instructors who specialize in the same area as the program you’re applying to, if possible. Bosses and mentors, colleagues, or former instructors you got along well with are all good choices if you continue working while going to school. Your previous bosses or supervisors frequently send the most significant recommendation letters for job applications. The more closely your last position matches the position you’re applying for, the better. If you opt to ask a coworker, either current or previous, try to pick someone with more years of mastery in the industry than you. They’ll be in a better position to recommend you.

Impressions Matter

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Throughout your time in high school, put forth persistent effort to make a positive impression on your teachers. This entails significant participation in class, excellent attendance, and, of course, high grades. Attempting to meet your professors outside the classroom, whether through volunteer work, athletics, or extracurricular activities, is also a good idea. Your professors can write more substantial letters of recommendation the better they know you. Because a letter of recommendation can provide information about you that grades and test results cannot, colleges value them. These letters offer insight into your character and demonstrate responsible individuals willing to speak on your behalf.

Timeline

The crucial query right now is when to request a recommendation letter. It is a good practice to offer your references at least a month’s notice before the earliest deadline you have for sending your letters. The better time to ask is sooner. During the summer, many teachers like writing recommendations. Consider asking for a letter of recommendation by the beginning of your senior year, or earlier, if you apply for early decision. It’s essential to remember that some teachers will be drafting lengthy letters, which takes time. If your teachers don’t have to rush, they’ll do a better job editing your letter.

Prep Your References

Each year, some teachers submit numerous letters of recommendation. It’s a great concept to spend some time talking with them, even if they are people you are familiar with. By jogging their memory, you may make it simple for them to provide positive, thorough information about your accomplishments and your prospects.

  • Inquire about your class participation.
  • Remind them of particular accomplishments or initiatives you are proud of.
  • Inform them of your classroom learning.
  • Describe any obstacles you overcome.
  • Give them the details they require to give specific examples of your work.
  • Talk about your achievements, interests, and aspirations for the future and college.
  • If there is anything on your transcript that needs to be addressed, like poor marks from your sophomore year, do it. Discuss how you changed and improved since then and why you had trouble.

Take Action

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Following are some suggestions you may put into practice as you get ready for your application processes:

  • On your application forms, you give up the right to examine the recommendation letters. If you haven’t seen them, admissions officers will have more faith in them.
  • Send addressed, stamped envelopes to your references for each college that has asked for a recommendation.
  • Verify that your references are aware of the due dates for each college.
  • A week or so before the deadline for recommendations, check with your references to make sure your letters have been submitted.
  • Write thank-you notes after deciding which college to enroll in. Inform your references of your plans and express your gratitude for their assistance.

When appropriately tackled, this portion of the application process—which can be the most taxing—can also be the most rewarding. Make sure to pick professors who have a thorough understanding of you. Remember that this letter represents you in a space you are not in. This is a fantastic opportunity to get back on track if you have fallen behind with your homework or attendance because you will need someone to attest to your character and effort. In a moment of calm, it is now necessary to get ready.

Related Resources:

Guide to Business School
How can I strengthen my online MBA application?
Guide to Online MBA
When to Apply for an Online MBA
Guide to the GMAT
How to Prepare for an Online MBA Interview
Guide to the GRE