Reference Letter Etiquette2

When requesting a reference letter from your teacher (s), please provide AMPLE NOTICE (minimum 2 weeks) and provide your teacher(s) with as much information as possible.

  • Consider using our reference letter planner to outline your activities/accomplishments. WILL BEVERYHELPFUL! Some teachers will ask for this.
  • Be clear about when you need the letter by

Be polite when asking for a reference letter

  • Remember, teachers are not required to write you a reference letter. Those who do are taking time out of their busy schedule to do this as a FAVOUR TO YOU
  • Be nice. Being demanding and pushy will do you no favours in getting a good reference from your teachers.

Be gracious even if a teacher turns you down.

  • Most teachers will write reference letters, but there are sometimes mitigating factors for some Teachers to decline:
    • Maybe they don’t know you well enough and do not have much to say about you. Teachers who know you and have lots to say about you are usually the best references!
    • Maybe they do not have many nice things to say about you (harsh, but sometimes this is true).
    • Don’t just ask any teacher to be your reference? Ask a teacher with whom you have a good relationship and can provide details about your work ethic, academics, etc. Teachers are asked to be honest in their reference letters and when people call for a reference check. You want to know that the teacher you ask to be your reference will have your back and go to bat for you!
    • Maybe you didn’t give your teacher enough notice.  Ask yourself: Do you really want a hastily written reference letter?

Plan ahead..and good luck!
“A lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on our part.”

Adapted: Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School