Activity 5: Letters of Recommendation

If you’ve already applied to any competitive summer programs or the like, you may have already asked for and received letters of recommendation. If you haven’t done that yet, letters of recommendation are often part of applying to a university, and certainly part of applying for scholarships.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to go about asking for a letter of recommendation. Here’s the right way:


If you’re feeling weird and awkward about having to approach potential letter writers, you’re not alone! It’s sort of like asking someone out on a date: you put yourself out there, but they can say “No!” You should know that the kinds of established professionals you need to ask to write letters for you are USED TO having people ask them for letters. Most likely, their response will be something like “I’d be happy to write a letter for you.”

Again, even if you don’t have a burning need to get a letter right now for some application, you need to think about this often-required part of a college or scholarship application NOW. Why? Because you need to start building relationships with influential people who can write letters for you! Seek out the teacher/counselor/coach whom you like and admire. Get to know them and let them get to know you. Here’s another perspective on why letters of recommendation really do matter, and how to get them:


Think of two professional people to ask for a letter of recommendation. Even if you are not applying to a school or for another competitive Ask two people to write a general “to whom it may concern” letter of recommendation for you. If you think you might be applying to summer programs that need a letter of recommendation, tell them so. If not, tell them that you’d just like a general letter about your personal qualities in the event that a job or academic opportunity arises.

In your Portfolio, write about what happened when you asked two people to write a letter for you?


Congratulations on completing Module 4! 
Now let's go on to Module 5