Request for Letter of Recommendation from Professor [Sample]

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the Purpose: Know why you need the recommendation letter.
  • Choose the Right Professor: Select a professor who knows you well.
  • Prepare Your Information: Gather your academic and personal achievements.
  • Write a Polite and Clear Email or Letter: Use a professional tone.
  • Provide Necessary Details: Include specifics about the recommendation purpose.
  • Follow Up Respectfully: Send a reminder if needed.
  • Express Gratitude: Always thank the professor for their time and help.

Writing a request for a letter of recommendation from a professor can be a daunting task. 

Whether you’re applying for a job, an internship, or further studies, a recommendation letter is a crucial part of your application. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you craft an effective request, along with a template to get you started.

Watercolor painting woman typing on a sleek black laptop

Step 1: Understand the Purpose

Why do you need this letter? Your purpose will shape the content of your request. A job application might require highlighting different skills compared to a graduate school application.

Step 2: Choose the Right Professor

Who knows your work and character best? Choose a professor who is familiar with your academic achievements and can provide specific examples of your work.

Step 3: Prepare Your Information

What should the professor know about you? Prepare a list of your relevant coursework, grades, projects, and any other academic achievements. Also, include a resume or CV if applicable.

Step 4: Write a Polite and Clear Email or Letter

How to ask professionally? Draft a respectful and concise email or letter. Start with a proper salutation, briefly introduce your request, and state why you chose this particular professor.

Step 5: Provide Necessary Details

What does the professor need to know? Include details about the program, job, or opportunity you’re applying for, the submission deadline, and any specific points you wish them to address.

Step 6: Follow Up Respectfully

When and how to send a reminder? If you haven’t received a response, it’s acceptable to send a polite follow-up email after a week or two.

Step 7: Express Gratitude

Don’t forget to thank them. Always show your appreciation for the professor’s time and assistance, regardless of the outcome.

Real-Life Example

Consider Sarah, a student who excelled in her biology class. She approached Professor Smith, who was familiar with her academic rigor and research skills, for a recommendation letter for a prestigious research internship.

Email Template

Subject: Request for Letter of Recommendation

Dear Professor [Last Name],

I hope this message finds you well. I am writing to request a letter of recommendation from you as I apply for [Program/Job/Opportunity]. 

Given your knowledge of my work in [Course/Project], I believe your endorsement would greatly strengthen my application.

I am applying to [Detail about the Program/Job], which focuses on [Relevant Details]. The deadline for the recommendation letter is [Date]. 

I have attached my resume and a brief overview of my relevant achievements for your convenience.

Thank you very much for considering my request. I appreciate your time and support.


[Your Name]

Tips for an Effective Request

  • Be Specific: Clearly state the purpose of the recommendation.
  • Personalize Your Request: Mention how the professor’s perspective is valuable.
  • Provide a Deadline: Always include the date by which you need the letter.
  • Attach Relevant Documents: Your resume, transcript, or project details can be helpful.
  • Be Polite and Concise: Respect the professor’s time and avoid unnecessary details.