If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content

Requesting letters of recommendation

Want to join the conversation?

  • hopper jumping style avatar for user Serena Wisnewski
    I'm homeschooled and i have been told that it would not be best to have a parent write recommendation letter. Who should i ask? I don't do co-op.
    (17 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Anna Lhuillier
    What would you suggest for home-schooled students who have no one to provide letters of recommendation for them? I've done a good deal of research on the subject, but am having some trouble figuring out what my next step should be.
    (7 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • starky ultimate style avatar for user Akshat Saraf
    Can you ask letters of recommendation from employers?

    For example, I work in a laboratory at my local university. Can I ask him for a letter of recommendation?
    (3 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Matt Stefely
      Absolutely! If your employer is a professor with an advanced degree (PhD, MD, etc), his opinion may be regarded even more highly than a high school teacher!
      You can request letters from teachers, employers, coaches, advisors, or even family friends, anyone who knows you well! However, it is usually better to ask for letters from writers that have completed more schooling (both for the sake of letter quality and the influence that the reviewers will perceive).
      (10 votes)
  • starky ultimate style avatar for user Ahmed Farhan Ishraque
    Can I get a recommendation letter from a teacher from outside my school, but who has taught me a core subject for quite some time and who knows me well enough?
    (3 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • piceratops seed style avatar for user VanWhiston
    the teacher i had most interaction with and i think would know me the best who i've had for every year of high school through 6 different classes was an agricultural education teacher but the major i will be applying for is in computer science . Would he be a good person to write a recommendation letter?
    (4 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • piceratops seedling style avatar for user Seerat
    All the colleges I plan on applying to are on common app.Will my teachers have to write recommendations each time for every college?
    (3 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • spunky sam blue style avatar for user Yaebin Park
    During which period of time in the high school should I ask my teachers? I've been hearing from others that late semester of Junior year may be the best time period but now I feel like I can ask during my Senior year....
    (2 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user kendra
      Hi Yaebin! I know, it's kind of confusing! I have heard all different things, as well. Most people do say that in your second semester of Junior year, you should start asking for recommendation letters. But, I have also heard that you should ask teachers from 10th (and even 9th!) grade to do one for you, especially if they know you really well. I would guess that a good time to start asking would be Junior year, but if you have a teacher in 9th or 10th grade who knows you really well, then don't be afraid to ask them to do one, even if you aren't going to college yet.
      Does that make sense? Let me know if it doesn't!
      (1 vote)
  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Eleanor P
    I am homeschooled, and will not be taking humanities classes outside the home until October of my senior year. Will it be possible/advisable to ask this teacher for a recommendation?
    (1 vote)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • spunky sam blue style avatar for user CZ
      Hmmm... that is a bit tight, but you should have time to actually request the letter and include it with your application. The teacher will likely not know you very well though.

      You may try doing some extracurricular activities in the field you are interested in (I am assuming humanities) and asking those individuals for recommendations. That would be a logical way to try and sidestep this dilemma.
      (3 votes)
  • leaf blue style avatar for user Jahnvi Raj
    Can i ask my math tuition teacher to write my letter of recommendation ?
    (1 vote)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • piceratops seed style avatar for user Mojo Alabi
    I asked my Politics and English Language teachers to write my recommendations. Will they be too similar and do I need to ask a science teacher instead?
    (1 vote)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user kendra
      I don't think they will be too similar, Mojo, but just to be safe you could always ask your science or math teacher as well as your Politics and English Language teachers.
      Hope this helps! Best of luck:D
      (2 votes)

Video transcript

- So when you're getting a recommendation letter, it needs to be from an academic teacher. So those are core subjects: History, Science, Math, Social Studies, Languages. When you have a recommendation from a theater teacher, director, or band leader, those are helpful, but they're not what we're looking for in an academic-required teacher recommendation. - I always encourage students to reach out to the teachers that know them best. Not the teachers that gave them the highest grade, although those might be the same people. But a teacher that knows you well is a great place to start. - Often times for teachers, it's going to be teachers in their most recent years. Their junior and/or senior year. These teachers can usually include specific examples or anecdotes about their intellectual curiosity or their participation in the classroom. - And it's always wonderful if it's at all possible to get that full range. So possibly one letter from a Humanities teacher. Meaning English, History, Language and so forth. Another from Math, Science, if possible. That doesn't always work, but it doesn't help to have two English teacher recommendations. They tend to say the same type of thing regarding your writing and your involvement in class. - The week before school, plan out on a calendar when you'll be asking your teachers, and when you'll ask them to send their letter. Give them ample time. I say almost a month. - Talking to teachers about the things that you would like for them to highlight is definitely a key component because as much as teachers are working as hard as they can, they're often writing multiple recommendations and so it's easy either to forget or even to not highlight those things that, or overlook those things that might make a very big difference in understanding the applicant. - What I recommend for students is when they go up to that teacher, instead of handing them a resume which sort of lets them know here's my grades, here's maybe my GPA, my SAT scores, and all my activities at the school, that's going to be in other parts of the application. Teachers don't need to talk about that. What admissions people really want from teachers is how is that student in that class? So what I recommend for students to do is sit down with that teacher. Maybe give them four or five bullet points of here's why I asked you. Here's why I really wanted you to write my letter or recommendation. - What are things that you want to make sure comes across that maybe you can't say, or feel shy expressing in the personal statement or maybe in the additional information section? - We are going to be looking at these recommendations to again see how they're going to contribute to our campus and how they're going to contribute to the classroom specifically. How they're going to get involved. And then sometimes we can also pull on things like their resilience and their excitement and love of learning. So those are all different things that we can gather from recommendations.