College Recommendation Letter Tips

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When Should I Ask for college recommendation letters?

Remember that junior year English teacher who can write excellent recommendation letters?  Well, you’re not their only student who’s applying for college.  For this reason English teachers of seniors and juniors are often very busy at college application deadline times.  So, as soon as you have a list of the colleges and universities you are going to apply to, ask that teacher for their recommendation letter.  Do this early so you don’t get this response from your teacher: “Sorry, I have fifteen other letters to write and they all need it by next month; please ask someone else.”  After all, teachers are people too, with their own to-do lists and families.  Usually the best time to ask is near the end of your junior year.  You should aim to have every piece of you application done and collected by the end of January of your senior year.  Most applications are due (postmarked) by February 15 (assuming you’re applying to begin college in the following fall).  Some schools have early applications, as early as October or November of your senior year – yes, that means as you begin your senior year your application should be almost complete.  Don’t let the date be the deciding factor in whether you get into your college!  Provide your recommender with a list of schools you will apply to so they can use one letter for all of them, changing just the name and address of the school.