Tips to Ask for a Recommendation Letter

Last updated on 22 Jun 2024
Tips to Ask for a Recommendation Letter


By Mia Angeline

Almost all universities and scholarships in Europe has a recommendation letter as one of the qualifications – or sometimes called a reference letter.

Although a recommendation letter seems simple, acquiring one may be a different case.

So, we compiled a set of tips for you to ask for a recommendation letter.

Make a list of candidates whom you will be asking for a recommendation letter

Before bombarding everyone with your request, it is better to pause, take a deep breath, and make a list of candidates first.

You need to consider whether the recommender knows you, and you may want to select people who will give a strong endorsement. Maybe he/she is your former professor or you attended his/her class in the past. Either way, make sure your recommender feel somehow related to you and what you would like to do in the future.

Next thing to consider when you make a list of recommenders, take notice of their current position.

Someone from an important authority within your institution will be considered as the most valuable in most cases. Also, it is better to ask them if that person already had any contact with the university/scholarship you will be applying. A recommendation letter from someone known by your target university may be more convincing than a recommendation from an unknown person.

Arrange a meeting

Once you finished with the list of candidates, it is time to send them a short email, explaining who you are, your topic of interest, and what your plans are.

Remember to always be polite with your emails and response, even if your candidates say no to your request.

After you manage to arrange for a meeting, explain your achievement at your current institution and describe further about your future plan. Offer to provide your updated resume, so the reference writer has current information to work with. At this point, the recommender may write a letter based on your explanations or past performance. Or the recommender may ask you to write a draft of the recommendation letter for them to review and sign.

Pay attention to the required template

Each scholarship or universities usually have a certain template for a recommendation letter.

It is better to double check the template needed by your host institution. You may end up printing a recommendation letter into several templates and ask the recommender to sign them. Also, take notes about the number of recommendation letters asked by the scholarship/university. Some require only one, while others may require two or three recommendation letters.

Ask for permission

In addition, you may be asked to provide your recommender’s contact information to the university/scholarship institution. Always ask for the recommenders’ permission to add their contact detail and a possibility that they may be contacted by your host institution.

Don’t forget to say thank you

After you have the much-needed recommendation letter, don’t forget to send your endorser a thank you note. People like to feel appreciated, and with a simple gesture like a thank you note, they may be more likely to help you in the future.

There you go, our complete tips to ask for a recommendation letter.

Don’t forget to write a compelling CV and motivation letter to complete your application documents.

Click here if you want to know more about motivation letter. always gets you covered!