Wednesday’s Parent: Will You Write a Recommendation Letter?


recommendation letterRecommendation letters. Every student needs them. Almost every teacher dreads having to write them (see #2 and #9 below). Every parent nags about them at some point. It’s a part of the college application process and it should be taken seriously. No last minute panicking on this task—it requires some thoughtful planning.

Here are 10 steps to help you help your student complete this necessary task and secure a top-notch recommendation letter:

  1. Start thinking about who you will ask to recommend you during your junior year.
  2. Ask people who know you—not teachers or counselors who only know your name. This is a good reason to establish those relationships freshman year.
  3. Ask for the letters the first few weeks of school during senior year, giving the person time to craft a good letter.
  4. Provide a resume with the request. Teachers love it when students do this—it helps them recall facts about the student and gives them information to add in the letter.
  5. Ask people who know you well and can rave about your intellectual and academic skills.
  6. Provide them with the deadline dates and any additional forms they need to complete.
  7. Waive your right of access to the letter. This enables the person to write honest and accurate recommendations without having to worry about how you will respond. (Another reason to choose wisely).
  8. Talk to them about why college is important to you.
  9. Don’t wait until the last minute. The answer will either be “no” or you’ll get a form letter with little or no personal recommendation.
  10. Take these letters seriously. They are a crucial part of your college admissions application.

To avoid the inevitable nagging and constant badgering, start these 10 steps early and devise a plan that both you and your student can work with. Calendar and text message reminders work better than constant nagging, especially with stressed out teenagers.

Read Wendy’s post: You want ME to recommend YOU!?!


Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Wendy and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Wendy and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from parentscountdowntocollegecoach to and vice versa.

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3 Responses to “Wednesday’s Parent: Will You Write a Recommendation Letter?”

  1. These are wonderful tips, Suzanne! They also fit for scholarship letters of recommendation. Pinning and sharing!

  2. Assumption College in Worcester, MA requires the LOR, but NOT the essay. In a word, the LOR has more credibility than any essay.

    Great article, Suzanne.

  3. […] Read Suzanne’s post: Will You Write a Recommendation Letter?  […]