LaGuardia Community College | City University of New York
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.
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.
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!