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Requesting Letters of Recommendation

Recommendation letters are an important component of your application, especially if you are pursuing admission into a highly selective college or are applying for a competitive national scholarship. The following are tips gathered from faculty experienced with writing recommendation letters, and from transfer, scholarship and admission advisors.

•      Get to know your professors.
•      If possible, take more than one class with the same professor, or keep in touch with them over the course of your time at the college.
•      Treat your classes like a job: show up on time, submit work on time, and use appropriate language.
•      Before you contact a professor, list reasons why you are asking for a recommendation from them, and why they should be able to provide you with a strong one.  If you cannot come up with this list of reasons (besides the fact that you took his/her class), then you probably should not ask this person for a recommendation.

THEN, in order to obtain a letter of recommendation:
•      Make sure that our professor is WILLING to write you a recommendation.  For example, ask, "Would you be willing to write me a positive recommendation?"
•      Make sure that your professor can speak about your work and potential in your intended major or profession.

You should give the professor:

Give your professors enough time.  You may need to ask 1-2 months ahead of time.  After you ask them, you may need to give them gentle reminders, but don’t be pesky.


A List of the Institutions to Which You Are Applying + Deadlines
Have a list of schools to which you plan to apply for admission organized by deadlines.  Provide them with mailing labels (with the address of each transfer college pre-printed on them) if the recommendations are not to be submitted online.  NOTE: Common Application recommendation letters are submitted online.  Letter writers will only submit one letter for all your transfer colleges.


A Resume​

In addition to your work experience and academic credentials, include your extra-curricular activities and any awards or honors you have received.  Examples: nursing club secretary, student committee chair, Dean's List, any honor society membership, Honors Program representative, a conference delegate representing the college etc.


A List of Goals
Include a short list of academic and goals, and any other information that you would like the professor to include in the letter.


Unofficial Transcripts
From LaGuardia and any other post-high school institutions.


Classes Taken with the Professor
List the classe/s (plus semester/s) you took with the particular professor, or highlight them on your transcript.


Examples of Work
Submit one or more essays or projects that you produced in that professor’s class/es.


The Option of a Follow Up
Ask for permission to follow up.  Ask your professor, “"How long do you think you will need?  May I follow up with you in two weeks?"”  Make note of the deadline and remember to follow up.


Application Essay/Entire Application (check with professor)
Submit a strong draft of your essay even if it is not your final draft (you can tell the professor that you are working on revisions).


A Thank You!
Write a thank-you note.  Let your professors know the outcome of your application, and keep in touch with them.  You may need another recommendation shortly!

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