3 Email Templates for Asking for a Letter of Recommendation

3 Email Templates for Asking for a Letter of Recommendation

So by now you’ve read my earlier post, 5 Rules for Requesting a Letter of Recommendation via Email. If you follow the rules laid out there, you should have no problem getting your professors to agree to write you a letter of recommendation.

But I know that some people want a little more help. Asking for a letter of recommendation can be intimidating. That’s why I’ve created a few sample emails for different scenarios.  All of them follow the 5 rules.

Please share some of your successful email templates in the comments.

One last thing before we get started. I wrote another article specifically for Premed students on my new blog Premed Revolution. Check it out here:

Socially Awkward Premed Part 2 – Request a Letter of Recommendation Over Email.

 

1. The Standard

This template is designed for classes in which you did fairly well and had at least minimal contact with the professor either by email, after class, or during office hours.

Professor [Xavier],

 

My name is [Ben Frederick]. I took your [organic chemistry] course [last semester]. You may remember me [coming to your office hours after every test to go over some of my wrong answers.] [Organic chemistry] was a very challenging subject for me and I was proud of the [A-] I received in your class.

 

I know you are busy so I’ll get to the point. I am currently in the process of applying to [medical school] and I am trying to gather a few letters of recommendation.  Because I enjoyed [your class and teaching style so much], I decided to start by asking you. Would you be able to write me a strong letter of recommendation for my [medical school] application?

 

I would be more than happy to meet with you at your convenience if that would be helpful. Of course I would also provide my personal statement, CV, and any other material that you would like.

 

If you don’t feel comfortable writing me a strong letter of recommendation, please don’t feel obligated to say yes. I completely understand.

 

Thank you for taking the time to consider my request.

 

Sincerely,

Ben Frederick
(555) 555-5555

 

[ois skin=”3 Email Templates”]

2. The Casual

This template is designed for classes in which you had a well established relationship with the professor. While in his class he should have been able to greet you by your first name on the frequent occasions that you met. If it has been a few semesters, then it should at least be easy to remind him of who you are.

In this template I give the professor less of an “out” because he should know you well enough to write a strong letter of recommendation.

Hi Professor [Xavier],

 

This is [Ben Frederick]. I hope things are going well. I’m sure that they are now that [I’m not bothering you at your office hours all the time]. It’s been [a few semesters] since we last talked and I’m finally in the process of applying to [medical school]. It seemed so far away when I was taking your course!

 

Anyway, I’m just starting to gather letters of recommendation for my application and I immediately thought of you. Your class was an important piece of my path to [medical school]. Would you be able to write me a strong letter of recommendation for my application?

 

I would be more than happy to meet with you at your convenience to refresh your memory of me if that would be helpful. Of course I would also provide my personal statement, CV, and any other material that you would like.

 

If you’re swamped and don’t think you’d have time, I completely understand. I’ll just have to settle for my second choice.

 

Thanks for taking the time to consider my request,

Ben
(555) 555-5555

 

3. The Hermit

Maybe you hate talking to your professors. Maybe you’re just a little shy. Maybe you’re a hermit that never sees the light of day. Trust me, I know what that’s like. I’m a radiology resident… Whatever the reason, sometimes you have to request a letter of recommendation from a professor with which you have had little to no contact. It would be best if you at least scored well in the course.

Beggars can’t be choosers in this situation, so you don’t have the luxury of allowing your professor to say no.  It’s time to dispense with the “easy out” and be firm in your request.

Professor [Xavier],

 

My name is [Ben Frederick]. I took your [organic chemistry] course [last semester]. You may not remember me [because I tend to put my nose to the grindstone and study on my own.] [Organic chemistry] was a very challenging subject for me and I was proud of the [A-] I received in your class.

 

I know you are busy so I’ll get to the point. I am currently in the process of applying to [medical school] and I am trying to gather a few letters of recommendation.  Because of the way I study it has been difficult for me to develop a relationship with my professors. I enjoyed [your class and teaching style very much], so I decided to start by asking you. Would it be possible for us to meet and discuss the possibility of you writing a strong letter of recommendation for my [medical school] application?

 

I would be more than happy to meet with you at your convenience. Of course I would also provide my personal statement, CV, and any other material that you would like.

 

I realize that writing a letter of recommendation would be a burden on your time and it means a lot to me that you would take the time to read and consider my request.

 

Sincerely,

Ben Frederick
(555) 555-5555

 

[ois skin=”3 Email Templates”]

Conclusion

Now that you have something to start with, go out there and get some letters of recommendation!  Make sure to tailor the email specifically for your needs.  The more personal it comes across, the more success you will have.

Here are some more resources:

http://jobsearch.about.com/od/referenceletters/a/reference-request-letters.htm
http://jobsearch.about.com/od/referenceletters/a/refrequest.htm
http://www.wikihow.com/Ask-Your-Professor-for-a-Letter-of-Recommendation-Via-Email

Do you have other email templates that you’ve used?  Please share them in the comments!

Writing a Personal Statement?


Ben Frederick M.D.
Co-Founder
During my fourth year of medical school, I was faced with writing yet another personal statement, this time for a radiology residency. I'm not a strong writer, but after sending my personal statement to our founding editor, Sam Dever, I had to turn down interviews because I was getting too many. True story!

Learn More About Our Editing Services

 
  • Kali

    Hi Ben,

    Thank you for the very helpful templates! Do you have any recommendations about what the subject of the email should be?

    Thanks!

    • http://www.premedrevolution.com/ Ben Frederick, MD

      Hi Kali,

      You could try something intriguing like, “Quick question from a former student.” Or you could go more direct like “Could you help me with a letter of rec?”

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  • jacki

    Thank you for the very helpful post. Do you have a recommendation regarding how to word an email to remind a letter writer about an approaching deadline if they have agreed to write but have not uploaded the letter?

    • Queen Amidala

      I have the same question. Also what about deadlines? When is the ideal time to request a recommendation. One of mine is due November 1st and I feel horrible for rushing them!

  • Soumitra

    I’m gonna take some part of the casual one

  • Queen Amidala

    I have the same question. Also what about deadlines? When is the ideal time to request a recommendation. One of mine is due November 1st and I feel horrible for rushing them!!

  • Yasser Khalid

    Hey Ben,

    Thank you profusely for the very benefitial templates.

    Kind regards,

  • Rene-Charles

    hi Ben, could you kindly help me with a tamplate that help me to ask for a job in an agency. because this lady i met to today gave me her email and asked me to email her my cv