Please take the time to have a personal conversation when you request a recommendation. You should ask--not tell--teachers, counselors or administrators about a letter of recommendation you would like them to write.
A thank you note or another gesture of appreciation is the courteous, appropriate way to acknowledge the time involved in writing a letter of recommendation.
Make sure you read #3 below carefully.
Here are some friendly guidelines for recommendation requests:
1. Please ask me nicely, preferably with two weeks’ notice before the first recommendation needs to be mailed. This seems obvious, but you would be surprised how many students don’t even include “Please…” as part of the request.
2. Attach the cover sheet to the front of a large envelope that contains all of the pertinent information I will need in order to write your recommendation letter(s). The cover sheet provides an overview of your profile and the colleges to which I will be sending recommendations. Inside the envelope, please place the following: brag sheets (parent and student), unofficial transcript, resume (updated with projected senior activities indicated), forms required by colleges, and envelopes (stamped and addressed…see #4) for each college. There are also copies of the cover sheet on the second shelf of the bookcase just inside the doors to my classroom. The cover sheet is posted with class documents, study guides, etc. The link is on the home page.
3. Where a university/college asks you to waive your ability to read my recommendation, please know that I will not write a recommendation if you choose not to waive that privilege. You must trust that I will write a positive recommendation—I will tell you if I cannot, in good conscience, do so and you may ask someone else. The privacy of the recommendation process is important to me. If this makes you uncomfortable, I will not be offended if you withdraw your request.
4. Please make sure I have envelopes (stamped, with Valhalla’s address as the return address…not your address) properly addressed for each recommendation.
5. If you are using online resources for recommendations, meaning I do not need mail hard copies of my recommendation, please make sure that is clearly indicated.
6. If you give me two weeks’ notice for the first letter, and then need additional letters later, I can easily provide those if you give me the courtesy of a day or two before the additional letter(s) need to be mailed. (This will also be true for scholarship letters later in the year.) I know that last-minute situations develop…when that happens, if I have already written a letter, it is easy to make the minor changes needed for another letter. Do not hesitate to ask…gently and politely, of course.
Good luck with the application process. If you have questions, do not hesitate to email, text or call me.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation. Writing letters is one of the best parts of my job because recommendations always have a positive focus, but I still appreciate your effort to help ease the process for me.