How to Follow Up With Your Recommender

Recommendation Letters

How to Follow Up With Your Recommender

Recommendation letters are an integral part of the college and scholarship application process. To ensure that you get the best letter possible from your recommenders, there are a few things you should keep in mind. When I was going through the process myself, I found that asking my recommenders for a letter at least a month and a half before I needed it was ideal. My recommenders did not actually start writing any time soon after I asked, but I found that it was still beneficial to ask them early so that they could start thinking about the topics they wanted to write about in the letter and, if I was still involved in their class or activity, they could pay more attention to the work that I was doing and have more to write about.

Once I had asked someone to write a recommendation letter for me, I would then follow up with them at least two more times: once at three weeks before the deadline and once when there was one week left. In my experience, a meeting over lunch or dinner is usually the best time and place for a follow up as well as the most enjoyable and convenient way to allow your recommender to get to know you better. However, if you feel more comfortable with shorter meetings, then dropping in to meet your recommenders after school or emailing them also work too.

I found that this follow up schedule worked well because, by the first follow up, most of my recommenders had begun writing their letters and usually had enough time by then to think of specific questions they had for me about my activities/academics that they wanted to write about. The second follow up a week before the deadline also worked well because it gave my recommenders a chance to ask any last minute questions while providing them with enough time to update or change anything in the letter that needed to be revised.

This follow up schedule is the simplest system I know of that works well. Ultimately, use your best judgment. If you feel that your recommender does not mind you checking in often, then follow up as much as you want to. However, always remember to be mindful of their time and to respect the fact that your recommenders do have other responsibilities as well.