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Which teachers to ask for a letter of recommendation?

The spring semester is a great time for high school juniors to start thinking about who they should ask to write their recommendation letters. This will not only give them time to ask, but it is also adequate time for the teachers to prepare their letters before school resumes in the fall. Being a teacher myself I've had so many letters to write that I appreciated the students who did not wait until the last minute to ask. There have been times when I had to turn students down. So ask in advance to ensure your teachers have enough time to write an outstanding letter.

When deciding which teachers to ask, make sure it is one you have developed a relationship with that can speak about you on an academic and personal level. Maybe you encountered a tragedy that caused your grades to slip. And with time you overcame that tragedy and was able to get your grades back up. What teacher can attest to that triumph? Or maybe you are a student who needs extra assistance and you spend time seeking help during study hall or after school. Which teacher provided you with help?

When I was in high school I developed a close relationship with my chemistry teacher. I was able to have the same teacher for Chemistry I, II, and Advanced Placement Chemistry. Because I was an avid student of science my teacher took an interest in my career aspirations. She eventually became my mentor and we would discuss the possibilities of pursuing a career in what is now called S.T.E.M. Not only did she witness my growth academically, she also got a chance to learn who I was as a person and encouraged me to utilize my full potential. Take the time to think about a teacher, mentor, or club advisor who has taken the time to get to know more about you than what grades you made.

Like me, you may have a teacher who you connected with that teaches a subject related to your intended major. You might be interested in becoming a fashion designer. Consider asking your fashion and merchandise teacher to write you a letter. Or you want to major in music and you worked your way up to being first chair. Ask your band director to write your recommendation letter.

These are just a few examples and tips to help you decide which teachers to ask to write your letters of recommendation. Take the time now to begin asking them. Do not wait until the last minute because the fall semester will be here before you know it. Always remember, "Preparation is the key to your success!"

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