Tips for Requesting Letters of Recommendation

Tips for Juniors and Seniors Requesting Letters of Recommendation 

Fort Worth, Texas – July 26th, 2019– College admissions officers consider many factors when admitting students to college: academic record, strength of curriculum, SAT/ACT test scores, and the personal essay, to name a few. Another important factor, adds Mike Barber of the Fort Worth Huntington Learning Center, is the recommendation letter. 

“Recommendation letters give admissions officers a more personalized view of who each applicant is, allowing them to see students through the eyes of the teachers or counselors with whom they interact each day,” says Barber. “Exam scores and GPAs are important, but a recommendation brings applicants to life. It offers context and a more holistic assessment of a student’s background, strengths and potential.”

When requesting letters of recommendation, Barber suggests teens follow these tips: 

  1. Request from the right people.Recommendation letters put a lot on the people writing them. They are sharing their opinion on who your teen is, and ideally, what makes your teen special and a great candidate for college admission. It is critical that your teen requests letters from people who know him or her as both a student and a person. Colleges aren’t looking for a repeat of information from a transcript or a bland, generic letter from a teacher who clearly doesn’t know your teen well (or only had him or her as a student for one class two years ago). Admissions officers want to hear more about your teen’s character, attitude, perseverance and work ethic. 

  1. When feasible, request from teachers in a relevant subject. If your teen knows that he or she wants to major in engineering, a recommendation from a math teacher is a good idea. For those who are undecided, it’s wise to request letters from teachers or others who can attest to their abilities in different disciplines. As college nears, more recent teachers (from junior year or later) are the best recommenders. 

  1. Provide the recommender everything needed. Your teen should provide a resume or his or her extracurricular activities, leadership positions held in clubs or organizations, honors and awards, volunteer work, part-time jobs, hobbies and more. In addition, have your teen give the recommender a list of the important information for the letter: 

  • Application deadline

  • Guidelines for the letter of recommendation from the college or university

  • Link to the online recommendation form, if preferred in that format

  • Pre-addressed, stamped envelope, if required to be mailed directly to the college/university 

  • The classes your teen took from the teacher (and semester)

  • The grades earned

  • The reasons your teen is requesting a letter from this teacher 

  • A few aspects of the class your teen enjoyed and found challenging or memorable (e.g. projects or units) 

  1. Give plenty of notice.Teachers and guidance counselors receive many requests for college recommendation letters. Your teen should give recommenders at least a month notice before letters are due—more if possible. This is courteous to them, but also protects your teen should a teacher run into an unexpected issue that would require your teen to ask someone else. A follow-up email or note checking in on the letter two weeks before the application deadline is a good idea. 

Last but not least, Barber reminds parents and teens that it is in teens’ best interests to develop good relationships early on in high school with teachers. “Teachers do not have to write recommendation letters and might not feel comfortable doing so if they don’t know a student very well,” he says. “Your teen must participate in class, visit teachers outside of class for help, go to the guidance counselor’s office regularly, and remember that the more authentic the teacher relationship, the more sincere the letter of recommendation will come across.” 

The letter of recommendation could make or break your teen’s college application package, so your teen needs to take this process seriously. “Ultimately, your teen wants to stand out as someone who would contribute to a college campus,” Barber says. “Letters from the right teachers or other mentors can make your teen outshine the competition.” 


Mike Barber, Executive Director
Huntington Learning Center of Fort Worth, TX


2826 S Hulen St, Fort Worth, TX 76109

About Huntington

Huntington is the tutoring and test prep leader. Its certified tutors provide individualized instruction in reading, phonics, writing, study skills, elementary and middle school math, Algebra through Calculus, Chemistry, and other sciences. It preps for the SAT and ACT, as well as state and standardized exams.  Huntington programs develop the skills, confidence, and motivation to help students succeed.  Founded in 1977, Huntington’s mission is to give every student the best education possible.  Learn how Huntington can help at For franchise opportunities please visit



Date: Friday, July 26

Fort Worth, TX Center

2826 S Hulen St
Located on the west side of Hulen St., halfway in between I-20 and I-30, across Hulen from Walgreens & Trader Joe's
Fort Worth, TX 76109

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