Whether you're applying to a summer internship, preparatory school or job, a letter of recommendation is an important part of many applications. But asking for a LOR can be almost as stressful as the recommendation process. Here are a few tips we hope will help:
- Ask Early
Asking early is important for many reasons. First, you want to make sure that the person you are asking has a sufficient amount of time to write a good, well thought out, LOR. Additionally, some people might turn down your request for various reasons or may not end up being able to finish your letter in time. In these cases, the extra time will help you find a backup.
- Make sure they have all the necessary information about the application
Some applications have certain guidelines for what should be included in a letter of recommendation and how they should be submitted. Since letters of rec are generally meant to be kept private, you will most likely not be able to help your recommender very much in regards to submitting the letter. Therefore, make sure you do everything to make sure that the guidelines are as clear as possible.
- Choose someone who knows you well
When it comes to a letter of recommendation it's important to ask for a one from a mentor who knows you well, not just a teacher whose class you got an A in. LOR are meant to paint a picture of your capability beyond test scores. Sometimes the best person to write your letter of recommendation may be your 8th grade after-school math tutor, or your piano teacher who moved away. KudosWall's new recommendation feature makes it easy for you to ask the right person for a LOR, no matter where they are.
- Ask before sending a formal request
Don't catch your recommender off guard, ask them before putting their name down on your application. Make sure that your recommender understands the deadline for the letter and all the information needed to be included in the letter before they agree to write it. Once they agree to write the letter, then send a formal request with all necessary information and ideally a link to submit their letter.
- Follow up with them
A week or two after submitting your formal recommendation request, reach out to your recommender to make sure they have everything they need. Ask if they have any questions or need any further information from you. If your recommender hasn't submitted your application a week before the deadline, send a polite email reminding them of the deadline. While you shouldn't be too pushy, a friendly reminder can be helpful.
- Send A Thank You Note
After all the hard work your mentor put into writing your letter of recommendation, make sure to send a thank you note. While you can send an email, a well thought out hand written card is a good way to show how much you appreciated their help.