How can planning increase a student's chance of getting great teacher recommendations?
Planning ahead can maximize your chances of getting the best possible letters of recommendation. Keep an on-going “brag sheet’” for yourself throughout high school, to remind yourself of your accomplishments. Check with your guidance office, or the actual college you are applying to, to determine where and how the letters are submitted. Carefully consider which teacher to ask. You want a teacher who knows you, and who has a high opinion of you and your work. Make an attempt to get to know the teacher before you make the request. Participate in class discussions, and put extra effort into assignments and projects. Make your request early. It is important to remember that teachers are busy people who have lives outside of school, and will probably have to budget their time in order to write an insightful and meaningful letter that will help your chances of being accepted into the school you desire. You do not want to be one of many that a teacher has to finish within a week. Make the request in person. If the teacher has office hours, schedule an appointment. Ask the teacher if he wants to discuss anything with you prior to doing the letter. If he does, be honest in your discussion. You might want to bring in some facts from your brag sheet at this point. Tell the teacher how the letter is to be submitted, and by what date. And be sure to thank him! If a teacher does not feel that she can give you a good recommendation, thank her for her honesty, and request one of another teacher.