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Nov 15, 2016 09:55 AM EST

A College Counselor's Guide On How To Ask for a Teacher’s Recommendation

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Shy students often miss out on many things, and at times find it hard to approach people for various purposes. One such problem that shy students have is the difficulty in asking a teacher for a letter of recommendation to apply for college. For this, a college counselor shares some tips.

"No matter how awkward the recommendation process might seem, the more comfortable you can become with it the better," Ralph Becker, founder, director and college counselor at Ivy College Prep, wrote in an article at Gazettes.

Becker gives a few suggestions for those who are too shy to approach their junior or senior teachers for a recommendation letter that they will add in their college applications.

First, he suggests making sure if a letter of recommendation is actually required. "[B]efore agonizing over getting a recommendation," he writes, "check the admissions requirements to make sure you actually need one"

He wrote this, citing a certain thread in College Confidential. There, a poster said he is "absolutely terrified" to ask his teachers for a letter. Another poster responded, "Most colleges require zero letters of recommendation." Better check if a letter is indeed required before worrying about it.

Second, Becker suggests making a list of teachers to ask from, ranking them from first to last, and then approaching them in order. If one turns the request down, the student should just move to the next one on the list. This list will prevent the student from feeling hopeless in case a teacher is unable to respond.

Third, Becker also suggests preparing a resume to be presented to a potential recommendation writer. He says that students should at least bring an activity list that summarizes all the activities that the student has participated in.

Lastly, Becker gives some practical advice to all shy students.

"Smile at them, provide them with what they need to do the job, and thank them profusely afterwards," he wrote. "Anyone, even the shiest among us, when she is sincere, polite and prepared cannot be overly recommended."

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