Letters of Recommendation and How to Get Them

If you want to get into a particular program, internship, or certain campus-affiliated groups, you’re going to need a letter of recommendation from at least one of your professors. However, most teachers won’t write you a letter of recommendation for just anyone. It takes a lot of work and effort to earn a letter of recommendation from a professor. So, how do you get a teacher to write a recommendation? Follow this simple guide.

The Long Play

You can’t skip class, sit in the back, and remain anonymous and then out of the blue ask your professor for a letter of recommendation. It doesn’t work that way. If you’re going to need a letter of recommendation, then you’re going to have to build a genuine relationship with your professor. This means you need to show up to class, ask questions, participate in class discussion, pull good grades, work hard, schedule meetings to discuss your papers and test scores, and genuinely be a good student. You’ll need to impress your professor from day one.

Be LikableĀ 

Remember, writing a letter of recommendation is not required for your teacher’s job. It’s a personal favor to you. When was the last time you did any favors for someone you couldn’t stand to be around? You have to be likable. So, show up to class on time. Be polite when you interact with your professor, even if they are less than polite. Put your best foot forward in all of your interactions, but don’t try too hard. Be respectful and sincere. Manners matter. But, don’t be that person who tries too hard to impress. The best policy is to be your best self.

Give Them Something to Recommend You For

Even if your professor likes you personally, it doesn’t mean they will feel comfortable recommending you for anything. Give your professor something to write about you inĀ a letter of recommendation. If you want them to say you work hard, then work hard. If you want them to say you’re responsible and good with time management, then be responsible and turn all your work in on time. Take ownership of your mistakes and do your best work. Make sure your professor sees the best sides of you.

Ask In Advance

If you know you’re going to need a letter of recommendation by the end of the semester, then don’t wait until after midterms to ask. Give your professor plenty of time to write the letter, and they’ll be more likely to do it. Do not wait until days before you need it.

Ask Nicely

This letter is a big favor to you. Ask your professor in person if possible. Make eye contact, tell them what you need the letter for and then ask them if they would be willing to write the letter for you. Say please, make eye contact, and tell them it would mean a lot to you. If they say no, then say you understand and thank them anyway. Be gracious. They could change their mind later.

If you’re a good student, then most professors will be willing to write you a letter of recommendation. Just be sure that you show your professor that you are deserving of a letter and that you are worth their time. Be humble yet confident, work hard and be real. Your professors want to help you, but you need to meet them half way. Manners are essential in this situation. Show your best side to all of your professors all the time, and your hard work will take you far.

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