When is a good time to ask for recommendation letters?Answered
I am currently preparing for the application process but I have two problems. First, I am afraid to ask for recommendation letters because I'm afraid to get turned down, and most importantly, I don't know when the best time is. I am a junior and I feel like now is too early but I'm not sure
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If you are a junior, you should definitely ask your teachers now and ASAP (like by next week ASAP - you usually want to ask and confirm with teachers by April to early May) because you want to give your teachers time to start thinking about what you want to write and make sure that if one of your teachers say no, you have enough time to ask another teacher. August or September of senior year is too late - at that point, your junior year teachers may have forgotten about your in class performance a little bit and your senior year teachers don't know you very well yet to write a strong LOR.
Don't be afraid you're going to be turned down. Sometimes teachers have to turn students down because they're already writing LOR for a lot of other students and strong LOR take a LONG time to write, edit, and revise, and teachers still have to teach their students, and that reason has nothing to do with you as a student. Worst comes to worst, you get turned down and have to ask another teacher, which is not the end of the world nor is it the end of your college app.
And only ask two teachers at MOST - with at least one being a teacher that teaches an traditional academic subject (like math, social studies, English, science, etc.). Most colleges/universities will allow you to submit up to two LOR and it's not fair to teachers who spend hours writing strong LOR only to have their students not send them.
Your teachers most likely won't start writing your LOR until the fall, but they probably will have questions for you to answer now to make sure they're writing strong LOR that truly reflect you as a student.
I’m also a junior but I have two older siblings, junior year is when you need figure out what teachers to ask to write recommendation letters, chose teachers your close with or like and that you do good work in the class they teach. The beginning of senior year is when you need to be asking for recommendations especially if you are choosing well-liked teachers because they will probably be getting flooded with students asking. If you choose teachers who like you then you most likely won’t get turned down and will get a good recommendation.
Dont forget not all of your recommendation letters have to be from teachers if you find yourself concerned with asking (some of them do need to be by teachers however). They can also be advisors for clubs, coaches, or community members that know you well (no family members or relatives!), it would also be good if you ever did a mentorship or internship and the person who led that is still in contact and has a good impression of you. The letter is to give insight about who you are that a transcript cannot show.
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