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How to improve your teacher recommendation letter experience

by Sierra Raheem, The Voice

teacherAs the last year of school approaches for the Class of 2016, it is now time to prepare for college applications. One aspect to prepare for is the teacher’s recommendation letters. Letters of recommendation can be a great assistance to help give colleges a positive view on the applicant. However, when not properly administered teacher recommendations can serve as not only a stressful task to the student, but for the teachers as well. So here are a few ways to make the process smooth-sailing.

  1. Relationship Matters

When choosing the teacher for your letter of recommendation, it is important to have a good student-teacher relationship. Make sure the teacher you are choosing is one you got along with in his or her class, and did not receive a failing grade in. This helps make the letter less generic as possible. This allows your teacher’s letter to not just be about you academically, but about you overall as a person.

  1. Time

Teachers are busy with not only their classes, but their lives as well. Give your  teacher at least a few weeks in advance notice to write your letter.  By giving them those couple of weeks, they would not feel rushed, and it increases your chance for a thorough well-developed letter.

  1. Major

Depending on what you plan on majoring in, it is important to match that to your teacher. Your teacher of recommendation letter is inevitably a reflection of yourself. So, if you plan on majoring in English, it is preferred to get it from a teacher from the English department.


Specify whether or not the letter needs to be mailed directly to the university/college. If so, give your teacher the mailing address to your admission department along with an envelope with a stamp.

  1. Be Nice

Finally, be polite. When asking your teacher to write a letter of recommendation, “ask” them and do not “tell” them to write it. Realizing that your teacher is doing you a favor for your future should increase your gratitude. After they completed your Letter of Recommendation, give them a simple thank you card. This will  help express your gratitude towards them.

You can find printable recommendation letters forms in Naviance.


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