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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
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Recommendation Letters: How to Approach Them?

So I'm in the process of putting together my college applications and I know I'll need some recommendation letters. What's the best way to approach teachers for this? Definitely want the letters to reflect my strengths. Any tips are greatly appreciated!

16 days ago

Approaching teachers for a recommendation letter can seem daunting but remember, most teachers are familiar with this process and they are generally more than happy to help! Here are some tips on how to navigate through this process successfully:

1. Choose Wisely: Choose a teacher who knows you both inside and outside the classroom: an instructor in a subject you enjoy, or have excelled in, or who has overseen your participation in extracurriculars would be ideal. Ideally, this should be a teacher from your junior or senior year of high school. This way, they are more familiar with your recent academic performance and achievements.

2. Ask Politely: When requesting the letter, do so in person if possible, and if not, via a formal email. Respectfully ask the teacher if they would be comfortable writing a strong recommendation for you, and give them an easy out if they don't feel they can (they should only write the letter if they can genuinely recommend you).

3. Timeliness: Ask your teachers well in advance of your deadlines. College recommendation letters require thought and work to write, so don't catch your teachers in a time crunch. A good rule of thumb is to ask at least two months before the deadline.

4. Guidance: Offer some guidance on what you'd like for them to touch on in the letter. This can be done by bringing a 'brag sheet' or a resume including your achievements, interests, or experiences you’ve had in their class that they could write about.

5. Keep Them Informed: Keep your recommenders informed about the deadlines, where to send the letter (usually through the CommonApp, the Coalition Application, or another application platform), and any other details they might need. If the letter is to be mailed, provide them with addressed and stamped envelopes.

6. Follow Up: Follow up with your teachers a couple of weeks before the deadline if you haven't heard anything from them. This serves as a gentle reminder to complete and send out the recommendation letter.

7. Gratitude: Lastly, always remember to thank your teachers afterward! Writing recommendation letters is a significant time commitment for educators and showing your gratitude can go a long way.

Following these tips can help you earn a recommendation letter that truly reflects your strengths and potential. Best of luck with your college applications!

16 days ago

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