Process for Getting a Letter of Recommendation

JC Clapp, North Seattle College

If youíd like to request a recommendation from me, hereís the process you need to go through:

o   When is it due?

I need an absolute minimum of a week after you get me all of your information (outlined below), but 2-3 weeks is better. Donít ask if thereís less than a week notice, and donít expect me to do a recommendation over holiday or school breaks.


o   Help me remember you

If I know nothing about you beyond the grades in my class, then expecting a strong letter of recommendation is unrealistic. In addition, if you did not do well in my class, then I am not the best person to write you a letter. If you were in my class several quarters or years ago, there is a possibility I wonít remember you, so make sure you help me by telling me your full name, your student ID number, and the class/quarter you attended.  If you were in one of my online classes and we never met in person, then it is especially important that you help me to remember you.


o   Fill me in on who you are
You need to provide me with

o   an unofficial copy of your current transcript

o   a sample of a paper or assignment you wrote for my class (electronic version is fine)

o   a resume (or description/list) detailing your work history, volunteer work, club/campus activities, educational plans, future goals, and other unique or personal information that would help me to portray you as completely and accurately as possible


o   What is this recommendation letter for?
The more I know about the purpose of the letter and its intended audience, the more specific and effective this letter will be.To this end, give me as much information as you can about the college/university/program/scholarship to which you are applying. At the minimum I will need a copy of the instructions (or link to them) as well as what kind of recommendation you need (personal reference, academic accomplishments, etc.).


o   Are there special forms?
If there is a specific form that I need to fill out and/or attach to the letter, make sure that you provide it and also have filled out your portion of it completely.It will just slow things down if youíve left your portion blank.


o   How should it be sent?To whom should it be sent?
Let me know if Iím to mail the letter directly to the institution or program or if it is okay to give the letter back to you.If I am to mail the letter, then make sure I have the proper address.Also, make sure you know whether this letter needs to be sent in a sealed, signed envelope.If I must use a specific envelope, then be sure to provide it.


o   The Common Application Recommendation
If you are asking me to provide a recommendation in support of your Common Application, be sure you have added my name to your list of evaluators.


o   Future letters of recommendation
I keep electronic files of letters of recommendation, so asking for another or updated letter at a later time is usually not a problem.Again, be sure to provide me with all the above-mentioned specifics to help the new letter be as strong and timely as possible.


o   Share the good news
If the stars align and you win that scholarship or are admitted to that dream university, let me know. I love to hear good news, so tell me!