Today, we’ll be talking about letters of recommendation for college admissions. If you’re wondering what they are and how to get them, you’re in the right place.

What is a letter of recommendation for college admissions?
Letters of recommendation are letters written by your teachers, coaches, advisors, bosses, or anybody who has supervised you in an academic or professional setting. Today, most competitive universities request 2 to 3 letters of recommendation as part of your college admissions application. Universities ask for letters of recommendation because they want an objective perspective on what you are like as a student, employee, teammate, etc. Whatever your recommenders write in this letter will make an impression as to the kind of person you will be in college. So, of course, it is important to give letters of recommendation their due.

Who do you ask for a letter of recommendation?
It’s always best to ask somebody who knows you well and can speak to your personality and achievements. You want to find somebody who can give detailed anecdotes about you that go beyond generic, surface-level praise. If you’re reading this at the start of high school, be sure to develop strong relationships with teachers, coaches, and bosses. They will serve you greatly when it comes time to find somebody who knows you well and wants to write a great letter of recommendation for you. You can also provide your recommenders with a personal resume that will help them understand your achievements. The most important thing is to make sure you communicate clearly with them about what you’re asking them for and what they might need from you.

When do I ask for letters of recommendation?
College admissions typically begin early into your Senior year, so you definitely want to ask your recommenders for letters in spring of your Junior year. By doing this, you will make sure that your recommender has enough time to write a substantive letter about you and that they are able to safely meet the deadline. Additionally, by asking early you will likely be one of the first people they write a letter for, so you don’t have to worry about them possibly saying no because many people have already asked them, or them writing you a letter that is potentially generic and repetitive. As in the entire college admissions process, it’s always good to be proactive.

If you have any questions about letters of recommendation or the college admissions process as a whole, please get in touch at [email protected]. We’re always happy to set up a free initial consultation to discuss your needs and our services.
The American College Counselors Team