How to ask your teacher for a letter of recommendation

How to ask your teacher for a letter of recommendation
How to ask your teacher for a letter of recommendation

Do you need a letter of recommendation from a professor to get a scholarship? A degree ? A work ? If you are sending your request by email, follow these steps to do it politely and efficiently to get the best response possible.


Ask Your Professor for a Letter of Recommendation Via Email Step 1

Step 1. Prepare your request by email

Send it at least 5-6 weeks before the date the referral is due. Do not wait the last minute. Your teachers have other concerns in their lives, and it is better if they have time to write down your recommendation rather than rushing it.

  • Choose a suitable teacher. Before deciding which teacher to ask for a recommendation, ask yourself the following.

    • Does this teacher know me?
    • Have I ever spoken to him outside of class?
    • Has this teacher ever given me a minimum "B" grade in his lessons?
    • Have I already had lessons with this teacher?
  • You should choose a teacher who can write a letter that provides the most detailed information about you, your background, and your personal accomplishments.
Ask Your Professor for a Letter of Recommendation Via Email Step 3

Step 2. Write the letter in the best possible way

Even if it's an email, you must sound kind. If you use the person's first name (which means that they have specifically asked you to call them by their first name), address them by their first name. Otherwise use their last name. For example, let's write a letter to Dr. Jones who was our professor of archeology. As Dr Jones is not called by his first name, we will begin the letter as follows: "Dear Dr Jones" followed by a comma.

Ask Your Professor for a Letter of Recommendation Via Email Step 4

Step 3. Put "Recommendation for (your name)?" As the subject

  • Start by saying what you want: "I would be grateful if you could agree to write me a letter of recommendation concerning me. »Be clear about your intentions. Then state the facts:

    • your name;
    • the school year;
    • the sector;
    • what courses you took with this teacher, when and in what year;
    • why you need a referral;
    • the date you need it.
Ask Your Professor for a Letter of Recommendation Via Email Step 6

Step 4. Remember his fond memories

Indicate why you are speaking to him in particular. Talk about yourself, your project, that graduate program, or that job you need a referral for.

  • You should not justify your application with trivial reasons such as "I want to work there because they offer better pay" or "I want to go to this school because it will look better on my CV. "
  • Be professional and justify your choice thus, "I chose to apply to this museum because their tribal artefacts research department is particularly exciting. "
  • Does this teacher know this company or place of work? Is he an alumnus of this university? If so, refer to it. “I know that several pieces currently on display were acquired by you during your last trip to the Amazon. I am convinced that I gain a great deal of knowledge from a collection like this. "
  • If your relationship with this professor influenced your choice, specify: “I had not considered this possibility until your cell biology course motivated me to apply for a part-time job in the field. Dr. Jin's lab, I'm excited to do stem cell research after college. However, don't force yourself this if that isn't true.
Ask Your Professor for a Letter of Recommendation Via Email Step 7

Step 5. Use the third paragraph to convey what you expect

You can subtly include information about yourself that is important to you.

  • “I believe you have witnessed through our conversations and my participation in your course my passion for archeology. I graduated in June of this year. As you know, I was able to join the museum for an internship under the direction of Marcus Brody. I also have a lot of experience in object referencing as a result of this internship. "
  • "My other referees can confirm my abilities, but you are the only one who really knows the efforts devoted to the completion of my thesis and the obstacles I encountered there. I hope you can talk about how I deal with stress and deal with setbacks, which are important qualities for the selection committee. "
Ask Your Professor for a Letter of Recommendation Via Email Step 8

Step 6. Provide details

The reason for the letter, the deadline for obtaining it. You ask him to take time to write the letter, so include a stamped envelope in your address for his response. You must give him the MOST facility in writing this letter, so that it is not a hardship for him. If he offers to post it for you, let him. If this teacher tends to forget to do things, tell them you need to deliver this mail personally. This way, you will be sure to have your letter of recommendation on time. Include the deadline for sending this letter in the email so they know it.

Ask Your Professor for a Letter of Recommendation Via Email Step 9

Step 7. End your mail with this information

“I will drop the form with a stamped envelope in your mailbox this week. I will send you a reminder email one week before the deadline. Thanks again "or" I need to present the letter of recommendation no later than August 3. If you agree to help me, let me know and I would be happy to come to your office at any time to pick up this document."

Ask Your Professor for a Letter of Recommendation Via Email Step 10

Step 8. Thank the other person, whether or not they are writing the letter

"Thank you in advance for giving me some of your time and consideration. I really appreciated your methodology during your lessons and I can only express my gratitude to you, I learned a lot in archeology from you. If this teacher was truly special to you, you can be more expansive in your praise. "I know that I would take the elements I learned through your lessons and apply them. Your mentorship has really made a positive impact in my life and I cannot thank you enough. Offer to write your letter of recommendation yourself and ask him if he would agree to sign it. This way, it will save time and effort and you will be able to put the content you want on it.

Ask Your Professor for a Letter of Recommendation Via Email Step 11

Step 9. Track your request and send a reminder

Without a response to your email within a week, make a phone call to your teacher. First, check if it received your initial email. Otherwise, be prepared to make your request verbally.

Ask Your Professor for a Letter of Recommendation Via Email Step 12

Step 10. Make sure the letter has been received

Before the deadline, take the initiative to verify that the letter of recommendation has been received for validation of your scholarship program, graduate studies, or possibly if the employer to which you applied has received. If not, send the teacher a short email and offer to pick her up the next day.

Ask Your Professor for a Letter of Recommendation Via Email Step 13

Step 11. Thank again

After getting your letter of recommendation, send a thank you note to the professor. If the recommendation is in good hands, send the teacher a handwritten thank you note, not by email. Always make sure to thank the people who helped you, because they might, if you don't, refuse to help you next time if you need it. If the referral got you a job, don't hesitate to call the teacher in question to share the good news!


  • To avoid sounding arrogant, send your teacher a thank you note a week or two before the due date, which will mention the deadline, as a reminder.
  • Proofread before sending it. Make sure you haven't made any spelling or grammar mistakes. Ask someone to proofread you if you are unsure of yourself.
  • Use a black ballpoint pen to emphasize the important things in the text that you want them to stand out first.
  • Attach your CV to the email and specify in it that it is attached.
  • Always remember those who have helped you and always be ready to return the favor.
  • If you need a referral on short notice, write a short email asking if he has time to do you a favor and explain the circumstances. If you get a positive response, write a second, more detailed email.


  • Some teachers may take offense at your email request. A visit to the professor during his or her working hours, an appointment, or a phone call will show that you are ready to volunteer your time and energy rather than just writing an email.
  • Remember, they are not required to write referral cards. Your teachers have worked very hard to build their reputation. Every time they write a recommendation, they put that reputation on the line. Usually, they'll only do it for the best students.
  • Do not ask for a copy of the letter before sending it. It is not appropriate to do this, since the idea is for the teacher to send an honest assessment of you without having to explain it to you.
  • If the teacher tells you that his recommendation will not be as favorable as you would like, thank him for his time and tell him that you have found another person.
  • Never give a list of people who can recommend you positively without their prior consent. This is true even if you have worked with these people and are sure they will.

Popular by topic