How to Request a Personal Reference Letter for a College Application

College Student asking for Reference Letter When it comes to applying to colleges, one important thing you need to know is how to ask for a personal reference letter. Most universities will ask for at least two letters of recommendations. These character reference letters are an extremely important part of your application, so don’t take them lightly.



Asking a Teacher for a Personal Reference Letter

Knowing how to ask for a personal reference letter from your teacher is fairly easy. To start, make sure you ask teachers that you are close with and ask them in person, not through an email. These reference letters are about who you are as a person and student, so whatever teacher you ask needs to know your character both inside and outside of the classroom. Personal reference letters will help a college to see the type of student you are, how you handle yourself amongst your peers and your work ethic, so also make sure that they are coming from teachers who like you.

What is a Character Reference Letter?

Writing a character reference letter takes time so make sure you give your reference plenty of time to write. If possible, you might even want to try asking teachers at the end of your junior year. Explain to them that you really value their opinion, appreciate all the help and guidance they have given you over the years, etc. and that having them write you a letter of recommendation would mean so much to you. Also explain that you understand how busy they are, that other students will probably come to them as well and so you just wanted to give them enough time to write a thorough recommendation on your behalf.

Make it Easy for Your Reference to Write the Letter

Make sure that you provide whoever you ask to write your reference letter all the materials they will need. That means giving them stamped envelopes, any specific forms the college or universities might want filled out, the deadline and possibly even a USB drive or CD that they can save it on in case you need a copy of it in the future – after all, admissions offices have been known to misplace paperwork sometimes.

Each Reference Letter Deserves a Thank You

Finally, make sure you send a thank you note once you know the letter of reference has been sent. Even if it hasn’t been confirmed that the college or university received it yet, you want to make sure that the teachers you asked know that you truly appreciate the time they took to write a character reference on your behalf. For some of you, these letters may just solidify your acceptance, or at the very least an interview, so take your time in figuring out who you want to have write them.

Sierra Martinez is a Marine Corps wife, mother of one and a writer. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelors in Journalism and Mass Communications and a focus in Public Relations.