How to ask a professor for a letter of recommendation: an ultimate guide

How to ask a professor for a letter of recommendation: an ultimate guide

 Everyone has certain goals in life. Some people want to become top-most scholars. Their utmost dream is to apply for roles at MIT or Harvard. Others want to get a job at the largest corporations. Either way, you need to prove your skills during the application process to get the desired job. And that’s why you should possess a solid recommendation from professor.

The article digs deep into letter writing, explaining how to ask the professor for a letter of recommendation. It also sheds light on choosing the teacher and providing the reasons for asking a certain professor to compose the document. Finally, it discusses the do’s and don’ts of writing a recommendation letter. 

What is a recommendation letter 

A recommendation letter is a so-called evaluation of your skills. It is usually written by someone who knows the applicant. There are dozens of fields where a letter of recommendation from a professor is required. And academia is certainly among them.

When do you ask for a recommendation letter from professor

How to write a letter of recommendation is a common question. And in these cases, professors are needed the most. However, before asking the teacher to send you such a letter, you have to know when the application deadline is. Needless to say that professors are busy and usually don’t have sufficient time. Irking them too early or right before the due date will do you no good. The best solution is to make an appointment in advance. To be on the safe side, contact your educator a month before the deadline.

How to ask your professor for a letter of recommendation

You can ask recommendation from your professor in two ways, personally or via email. Email tends to be a more convenient method. Not only does it allow you to compose a peerless and clear message, but also you are more likely to keep in touch with the teacher in case they want to modify the paper. 

When leaving a recommendation request, make sure to describe your appeal entirely. The more your teacher knows about the school you want to apply to or the job you want to get, the more professional the document will be. 

It will enable them to build a substantial piece that will increase your chances of getting accepted. In case your professor is hard to persuade, leave your request, and we will design a flawless email for you.

How do you ask a professor for a letter of recommendation in person 

First and foremost, you have to request an appointment with the professor. This is the only possible way to meet with them in person. A letter of recommendation puts lots of responsibility on the author. That is why the professors are highly unlikely to craft it if you can’t persuade them you need it. The following are critical steps you should complete to get a full-fledged recommendation letter.

1. Explain The Reasons For Choosing The Professor

When choosing the professor for a letter writing, you should pay attention to the class they conduct and to your future course or job. Select the teacher that is most connected to the desired course or job and who knows you well.

2. Explain The Importance Of The Letter

Listing the reasons for choosing the teacher is not enough. You should also explain that the letter will make your application chances skyrocket. Make sure to:

  • Provide the professor with your area of interest
  • Explain why you have chosen this academic institution or job position
  • Prove why you pertain to the course

3. Provide Information About Yourself

Although the professor may know you well, they don’t track your academic progress and extracurricular activities. Shed light on these items by:

  • Adding scores and comments you got from the professor 
  • Adding a resume that demonstrates your work experience and skills you acquired
  • Providing a transcript of records to prove that you have serious academic intentions
  • Attaching a brief essay of your interests and goals
  • Including reference letters from the professor’s faculty members


Here, you can see a brief example of how to approach your professor and gently request him to write a letter of recommendation for you. Don’t forget about making an appointment. 

Dear Professor,

My name is [Applicant Name]. I study [Applicant Course Name]. Since I am graduating this year from college and plan to enter the university, I need a letter of recommendation. I’d like to leave a letter request and ask you to compose it because I am confident enough to state that you know me well. Throughout years of study, I managed to gain substantial knowledge of the subject you conducted. This was the root cause for choosing the course I want to further deep delve into [Specify the Course you apply to]. 

This letter is vitally important to me because it is tightly connected with the subject you used to teach [Provide the Course’s Name]. I have chosen this educational institution because it is prestigious. Moreover, I have checked the previous years' curriculum, and it becomes apparent that this course is exactly what I anticipate it to be. I believe I pertain to the program thanks to the obtained knowledge and previous academic success. I am sure to enrich my knowledge and to have a job pertinent to my academic skills.

Aside from that, I am also attaching my scores received during our course to prove my interest in the subject. Since I’ve had a job in the related branch, I am adding a resume and a cover letter that showcases my skills and work experience. Finally, I add several more papers to help you evaluate my academic abilities and intentions. If you are ready to meet my request and help me, please let me know that via email [Leave Your Academic Email Address]. The submission deadline is set for [The Date].

Thank you

How to ask a professor for a letter of recommendation via email 

The same goes for asking for a recommendation letter via email. Just remember to make a request coherent and understandable to the teacher. Take a look at what you have to add on top of the previously mentioned components.

1. Fully Introduce Yourself

Make sure to include every detail about yourself. That is, add everything that is related to academia, including: 

  • The first and second name
  • Course name 
  • Group name
  • Subject

2. Preserve the Structure

Chaotic writing will make you worse-off. If you want to deliver an excellent first impression, ensure following the structure. Be it a personal statement, literature review, or formal email, you have to:

  • Include the introduction
  • Write the main part
  • End with the conclusion and a phrase for request letter

3. Name The Files Properly

Before leaving a request and attaching the documents to the letter, check if they are named appropriately. It will be hard to guess if the attachments don’t have titles. Most importantly, make sure to place them according to the documents pointed out within the email.

Sample email to professor asking for recommendation

To give you an idea of how an email may look, check the following request. 

Dear Professor,

My name is [Student Name and Surname]. I am a student of [Course and all the details of it]. I am/used to be your student during [winter/summer semester, year. Include the subject]. This is my last year, and I am soon to graduate school. However, I am planning to enter the university. And to increase my chances of getting accepted, I need a letter of recommendation. I am striving to get such a letter from you because you know me well. Having classes with You, I can say that I have gained crucial skills that motivate me to develop in the field. 

I have chosen [mention the university and course] because I believe it can improve my knowledge of the field. [You can add more reasons, such as the location, academic opportunities, and prestige] You would help me enormously by writing a letter of recommendation. I am planning to employ my knowledge gained from your classes. For this reason, I am writing to you. 

Indeed, you may need more information about me, my academic interest, and goal to meet my request. To provide you with such, I am attaching the relevant documents to help you learn more about my aspirations. Therefore, you can find [list the documents you will attach to the email and make sure they are placed in the relevant order, named accordingly] in the attachments.

Should you have any questions, please contact me via this email address.

Best regards,

[First and Second Name]

Helpful tips for a recommendation letter writing 

When writing a recommendation letter, you have to remain organized and include the necessary points only. Here are some handy tips to help you build a splendid letter of recommendation:

  • Match qualifications with the responsibilities
  • Follow the relevant structure
  • Use relevant vocabulary
  • Describe the applicant’s skills and strengths
  • End the letter in a proper way 
  • Share your contacts 

Things to avoid 

As with any other writing tasks, there are several things to avoid. Excluding them from your letter will make it way more appealing. Thus, try to avoid:

  • Adding too much background/redundant information
  • Writing in inappropriate language
  • Including familiarity
  • Attaching unrelated documents
  • Leaving requests several professors simultaneously
  • Making it excessively long

How to ask for a letter of recommendation from a professor you don’t know

Before approaching the professor you don’t know and sending a request, you have to collect lots of information about them. Look for their academic background. Check the articles they might have produced. Finally, find people who have classes with them. 

Once you are ready to send a request, make sure to fully introduce yourself to the professor, and describe your reasons for preferring them among others. 

How do you ask for a letter of recommendation from an old professor

Regardless of the professor’s age, you have to behave accordingly. That is, no informal language and familiarity are acceptable when leaving a request. When writing an email or talking in person, follow the formal language.

How to ask your professor for a letter of recommendation for grad school

Do not ask professor about the letter straight away. First, explain the reasons for pursuing an additional degree. Grad school professors are always up for writing recommendation letters for ambitious and talented students.

How to ask your professor for a letter of recommendation for medical school

If you want to ask professor to compose a medical school letter of recommendation, you should prove your intentions using more precise medical language. Follow the same style when writing medical essays. If you have troubles with that, our professionals are ready to serve.

Final thoughts

A letter of recommendation is a vital element for students who are going to graduate school. It helps the committee evaluate the applicant’s skills and ambitions. Make sure to choose the right person to write letter. If you can’t find one, feel free to turn to our academic service. Send a request, and we will respond shortly.