Letters of Recommendation
Hi- I'm a rising senior and I need some help on how to ask for letters of recommendation . Obviously in person would be better, but that's not looking like an option right now. My parents did not go to school in America so they are not really a resource for me to ask. Is it too early to ask my teachers and guidance counselor for a letter, and how should I do so in terms of crafting an email now is the right time? ( I am applying ED & Early Action) I know some people create like a "brag" sheet with a list of accomplishments, EC's to give the teacher/counselor a better idea of who you are/were outside of their class but do people actually do that or is that not really appropriate? I want to give the people I ask plenty of time since many other people will be asking the teachers I am as well.
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Hi there! Like the others said, you don't need to ask your parents for a recommendation, and you shouldn't. From what I understand though, that's that what you're trying to say - I think you mean that your parents aren't familiar with the college apps process, and you can't ask them about recs. In that case, you've come to a good place to get advice :)
It's definitely not too early to ask your teachers and counselor - in fact, some people ask as early as spring of their Junior year. You're also not late at all though, as you still have a few months before the earliest deadlines. It's a great idea to ask now, before the stress of the school year piles up for students and teachers alike.
As for crafting your email, it can be simple and to the point. You could write in the subject like "College rec letter?" and say something like "I'm getting ready to apply for college, and I wanted to know if you'd be willing to write a recommendation. I enjoyed your class for X reason (or I learned a lot about X, or strengthened X skill), and I think you could provide helpful insight on who I am as a student and person. My closest deadline is X, but I wanted to ask earlier since I know things will get busier. Let me know either way, and thank you in advance!"
After they respond, you can ask if they want a brag sheet. A traditional brag sheet talks about your accomplishments (academic and extracurricular): https://blog.collegevine.com/what-is-a-brag-sheet-for-college-recommenders/. It can help confirm the qualities your teacher wants to highlight in their letter. @crsgo0422 makes a great point though that the letter should highlight your accomplishments in their class and who you are as a student, and shouldn't rehash your achievements. You can always ask what type of brag sheet your teachers would like, as creating a sheet of your meaningful experiences in their class could also be helpful to them.
Hope this helps, and good luck!
Just as a foreword I don’t think you ever ask your parents for a LOR anyway; it would be highly unprofessional and colleges wouldn’t know if your parents were fudging the truth to make you appear more attractive as a candidate. Your LOR are always written by your teachers/guidance counselor, and then a supplement/bonus LOR would be either a college professor you have a good relationship with or your dean of students/principal. You should create a list of your accomplishments SPECIFICALLY W THAT TEACHER to show them, so that they can remember what kind of a student you were, what you accomplished in their class, and how you as THEIR student showed personal growth/leadership. Don’t make sheet of everything yo’ve ever done since you’re going to a specific teacher who has no relationship with you outside of what you did with them/in their class. The “brag sheet” will only be good for a general teacher, like your guidance counselor or principal/dean if you can get a LOR from them (very impressive). I would ask now if you know for a fact that your junior year teachers will be a good candidate for your letter (you can google about what makes a good LOR), but if not, maybe some of your senior year teachers will be a good option too. hope this helps!
I think now would be the best time to ask your teachers for LOR especially if that teacher is very popular among students. Right now would be great because it's almost going to be BTS time and teachers have a lot of prep to do and now they have COVID-19 prep to do now as well. As of creating a brag sheet, at my school our counselor asks us to create one for her (as there are a 100 students per graduating class and she doesn't have time for all of us) and for ourselves to have written on paper what we want written down on the EC section of our college application. I would suggest doing the brag sheet for yourself so that when the time comes to write your applications, your not wracking your brain trying to remember what you did in the past 4 years. In my opinion, I would be asking a teacher for a LOR that I had a good relationship with. Yes, I realize that teachers have a lot of students to remember, but if you guys did have a good relationship, wouldn't they remember what made you, you? With teacher LOR, I feel that they write on your character in the classroom (or whatever other setting) rather than on your accomplishments and ECs. But that's just my opinion. If you feel the need to give your list of ECs and achievements, then do it. The worst thing that could happen is that they don't use it in their letter.