Need a Teacher Recommendation?Posted by Kristen Davis-Owen on 9/7/2020 8:00:00 AM
Let's start off by saying that if you are feeling nervous about asking for a recommendation, it's going to be ok! I can't always do them, for one reason or another, but I promise I won't bite and if it can't happen I'll be very nice about it :)
How to know if I'm a good person to ask or that I'd be likely to say yes:
- Have I taught you in the last year/ year and a half? (If you're a senior and the last time I had you in class was as a sophomore, we're probably not a good fit)
- Since I taught you, have we talked?
- Have you been an active participant in a club in a way that I could describe your contributions in detail?
- Have I had you in more than one class? (That almost always is a check in your favor)
- When you were in class, did we have positive interactions?
I don't have a template for recommendations, I write every one from scratch and really dig in with reflections, examples, and persuasion, so the average time to write a recommendation is about 45 minutes (depending on needs of recommendation). If you need more than just a quick form with a signature, I really do need the request at least 3 weeks in advance, and sooner is better. The only exception would be if I already wrote you a general recommendation and you just need me to update recipient and make small changes for purpose. Then a couple days is fine :)
So, you've thought about all that and want to ask for a recommendation, next step, ask! I know that sounds silly, but please actually ask (preferably in person if we're in school) and don't just send me a form or have an institution email me for a recommendation on your behalf.
Alright, we're closing in.... so you've thought about if we're a good match, you've checked the due date, you've asked nicely and I've said yes.... here's what I need:
- What program/institution is the recommendation for?
- Why do you want to participate in/attend this opportunity? And, if appropriate, what are your long-term goals to which this would contribute?
- Are there any specific qualities/questions that the recommendation needs to address?
- What are some experiences you had in my classes that you think would add to the letter? (I'll have my own list, but sometimes it surpirses me what students valued as important that may not have been on my radar at the time)
- What are some things you've done since I've taught you (academic or extracurricular) that you think would add to your credentials?
- DUE DATE
- How to submit this recommendation (if needs to be mailed, please bring me a stamped and addressed envelope).
Last thing, when you get in to the program/institution of your dreams, PLEASE TELL ME!!! I want to celebrate with you and revel in the success of my recommendation; please don't deprive me! :P