5 Tips for Obtaining a Good Letter of Recommendation for Online High School

5 min to read
Student sitting at a desk working on a good letter of recommendation

If you’re a high school student preparing for college, scholarships, or internships, you understand the importance of presenting a compelling application. While grades play a significant role, securing a strong letter of recommendation is equally crucial when applying for colleges. 

Here are some essential tips on how to obtain a stellar letter of recommendation while attending high school online as well as who to ask to write your letter and ways to become more involved in your school or community if you need additional references. 

Why do you need a letter of recommendation for college?

A college letter of recommendation sheds light on your unique qualities, experiences, and achievements beyond your test scores to help you stand out from the crowd for admissions officers and scholarship committees. An effective letter of recommendation can add the following elements to your college, scholarship, or internship application:

  • Anecdotes that set you apart from other applicants.
  • Verification of your soft skills, such as leadership, teamwork, and communication, which may not be evident from your application form.
  • An account of your contributions to a course, project, or the community that highlights your initiative and dedication.
  • Additional insights about your strengths, learning style, and potential for growth.

With this in mind, let's delve into how to ask for a letter of recommendation for college that will help strengthen your application.

5 Tips for Getting a Strong Letter of Recommendation

1. Read the application requirements.

Since each college or university has different application requirements, you should start by thoroughly reviewing the application requirements. Understand how many recommendation letters are needed, the submission deadlines, and preferred submission methods. Taking the time to know these details will help you plan your request and ensure your application is complete and well-rounded.

2. Provide helpful facts.

Making the writing process easier for your recommender can result in a more personalized and impactful letter. You can do this by providing them with background information about your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, personal accomplishments, and overall goals. These details provide background information that helps shape the recommendation, making it more exceptional and insightful. Although your reference may know how to write a letter of recommendation for college, you can help by letting them know of any qualities or characteristics you might want them to highlight.

3. Choose your reference wisely.

Naturally, students may want to get a reference from one of their teachers based on how well they did in that person's class. However, a strong letter of recommendation should come from a teacher who has a deep and genuine understanding of you. Seek recommenders who have a deeper understanding of your character, personal and academic growth, and resilience overcoming obstacles. Consider choosing teachers who have seen you take on challenges or mentors who have witnessed your dedication and progress in extracurricular pursuits and who can provide unique insights into your abilities and potential. If there are any doubts, consider seeking recommendations from adults outside of school who know you through part-time jobs, extracurricular activities, or volunteer work.

4. Be courteous and thorough when asking for a recommendation.

Requesting a letter of recommendation can be a time-consuming task, so you should approach the request with respect, consideration, and understanding. Ask for recommendations at least two weeks before the deadline, but ideally, aim for one month in advance. In the request, you should provide a list of the colleges, scholarships, or internships you are applying to, along with their respective deadlines. If the recommendation needs to be handwritten, offer to provide an envelope with a stamp to make the process easier for your recommender. This small but thoughtful gesture will go a long way in showing appreciation and respect for the person giving the recommendation.

5. Follow up with gratitude and success.

After you receive your recommendations, your work is not done! You should be polite and remember to express your gratitude to your reference. Their letters require effort and time, and showing your appreciation, whether you write them a thank you letter or express your appreciation directly, can be a meaningful gesture. Furthermore, keep your recommenders updated on the status and outcome of your applications. They will be delighted to hear about your successes and celebrate your achievements with you.

Recommendation Template: Craft a polite and compelling request

Can customize the template below to send to the people you plan to ask to write you a letter of recommendation to let your personality shine through while maintaining a respectful tone. Remember, a persuasive request can make all the difference in securing a strong letter of recommendation that reflects your potential and aspirations. 

Dear [Recommender's Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I am currently applying for [college/scholarships/internship] and I am excited about the next chapter of my academic journey.

I have valued your guidance and support throughout my high school experience, and I believe your insights would make a significant contribution to my application. I am kindly requesting if you would write a recommendation letter on my behalf.

To provide some context, I am particularly interested in [field of study or career path], and I have been actively involved in [mention extracurricular activities, projects, or coursework related to your goals]. I believe your letter could highlight my [mention strengths or achievements] and demonstrate my commitment to personal and academic growth.

If you are available and willing to write the recommendation, I would be immensely grateful. The deadline for submission is [mention deadline date], and the letter can be submitted [mention submission instructions, such as online application or email attachment].

Thank you for considering my request, and I genuinely appreciate your time and support.


[Your Name]

Take control of your future.

Securing a strong letter of recommendation in online high school is an essential aspect of your college, scholarship, or internship application. By following these tips, you can approach potential recommenders strategically, present a well-rounded application, and demonstrate your unique qualities and achievements. 

As you embark on this exciting journey toward your academic and professional goals, remember that you have the power to shape your future. Be proactive in establishing meaningful connections with your teachers, mentors, and community members, as they can provide invaluable support on your path to success. Best of luck in your academic pursuits!

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