Click HERE for a Summary for Scholarship Referee form. This will help your referee write a strong letter.
So, you want a letter of recommendation? Before you ask any of your teachers for one, here are a few things you need to consider.
How well does the teacher know you?
If the answer is that he or she has only known you a month or so, think about seeking out a teacher from the previous two years. Also, consider asking one of your coaches or club sponsors.
What information have you provided?
You need to make sure that you give every teacher you are asking to write a letter a copy of your resume, a description of your involvement and progress (academic and extra-curricular) at school, and specific information about the scholarship or school to which you are applying. Remember that the more information you provide, the easier it will be for the teachers to write fabulous things about you.
How much time have you given the teacher to write the letter?
You should allow at least TWO WEEKS advance notice. These letters take time and they must be written out of class time. Therefore, the two-week cushion is minimal.
Have you filled out the recommendation form to the fullest extent possible and have you provided a stamped envelope?
Most recommendations require a form that includes your name, signature, etc. Make sure that you give this COMPLETED form to the teacher when you make your request. In addition, if the form is supposed to be sealed and mailed separately from your application, make sure that you have also given the teacher a STAMPED and ADDRESSED envelope with your form so that it can be mailed promptly. Also, if the recommendation is required to be CONFIDENTIAL, make sure that you do not ask to see it before it is mailed because you are then asking the teacher to do something that is unethical.
What has your performance and attitude been like for the teacher you wish to write a letter?
Teachers, by nature, like students – that is why many of us decided to teach. However, when it comes to writing a letter of recommendation, if you have not performed well in a class, the fact that we like you cannot make up for your performance. If you have made a habit of not turning in work or of exhibiting a consistently ‘underwhelming’ attitude, be prepared for the teacher to mention this in their letter.
Do you actually intend to use this letter, or are you merely ‘shopping’ for the best letters?
Do not ask a teacher to write a letter unless you actually intend to use it. These letters take time and to ask a teacher to write one just to see what he/she says is simply rude.
Did you thank the teacher?
Remember that what you are asking the teacher to do is not something that is part of the official job description. In other words, it is a favour. Make sure that you take the time to write a thank-you note after the letter has been written.