Sample Email Asking for Letter of Recommendation from Professor – How to Ask for a Strong Reference

Are you a college student who’s planning to pursue graduate studies or a future career that requires a letter of recommendation? If so, you’re likely feeling the pressure to secure a glowing reference from a professor or academic mentor. Crafting an email that will persuade them to take the time out of their busy schedule to write a letter on your behalf can seem daunting.

But fear not – help is at hand. There are plenty of great examples of emails to ask for a letter of recommendation from a professor. The good news is that you can adapt them to suit your own style and situation, so you don’t have to start from scratch.

In this article, I’ll share some tips and tricks for writing a persuasive email that will ultimately help you get a great recommendation. You’ll find examples throughout, which you can use as a starting point, but more importantly, I’ll help you understand the principles behind effective communication, so you can edit and tailor your message to suit the specific person you’re writing to.

So, whether you’re a first-year student who needs a recommendation for a summer internship, or a senior who’s applying to graduate school, read on. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to craft an email that gets results – and lands you the reference you need to take your next steps.

The Best Structure for Requesting a Letter of Recommendation from a Professor

Asking for a letter of recommendation is a common practice in academia, and can sometimes be an intimidating process. However, it doesn’t have to be. If you approach the task with clarity, respect, and organization, you’ll make it easier for the professor you’re asking to write a positive and thoughtful letter on your behalf.

Here are the key elements of a successful email requesting a letter of recommendation from a professor:

1. Warm Greeting

Start your email with a warm greeting that addresses the professor by name. Be courteous and respectful, and thank them for their time.

2. Introduction of Yourself

Briefly introduce yourself, including your current academic status, major, and any relevant accomplishments or goals. Even if the professor knows you well, it’s helpful to remind them of your background and interests.

3. Reason for Your Request

Explain why you’re asking the professor for a letter of recommendation. Provide clear and specific details, such as the program or job you’re applying to, and why you think the professor’s recommendation would be valuable.

4. Timeline and Requirements

Be clear about the timeline and requirements for the letter, including the deadline and any specific formats or guidelines. If there are any materials that the professor needs from you, such as a resume or additional information, make sure to provide those details.

5. Offer Gratitude and Follow-Up

Thank the professor for considering your request, and offer to provide any additional information or answer any questions. Also, let them know that you’ll follow up to confirm that they received your request and to remind them of any deadlines.

By using this structure, you can create an efficient and effective email that will increase your chances of receiving a positive and meaningful letter of recommendation from your professor. Remember to approach the request with respect and gratitude, and to be clear and specific about your needs and expectations.

Request for Letter of Recommendation

Graduate School Program Admission

Greetings Professor,

I hope this email finds you well. I am reaching out to ask for your assistance in writing a letter of recommendation for my application to XYZ Graduate School. As one of my academic advisors, I believe that you are in the best position to comment on my academic strengths, research aptitude and potential in the field.

I have enjoyed studying under your guidance during my undergraduate years, and I have gained valuable research experience working on several of your projects. I am confident that with your endorsement, my application to the graduate program will have a better chance of success.

Thank you for your time and consideration in advance. If you need any additional information or materials, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

Scholarship Application

Dear Professor [Professor’s Name],

I am applying for a scholarship offered by [Scholarship Donor Name] that requires me to submit a letter of recommendation. Given your role as my professor and research supervisor for the [Project Name], I am writing to ask if you would be willing to provide a recommendation letter for me.

The scholarship’s selection committee emphasizes my research experience and academic merit. They also request for a personal assessment of my character and potential for leadership. I believe that you would be able to articulate my skills and qualities well, given the positive feedback you have given me in the past.

I understand that you may have time constraints, but I would be immensely grateful if you can help me with this. Please let me know if you require additional information regarding the scholarship or my accomplishments so that I can provide them to you promptly.

Thank you so much for your time and support.

Yours sincerely,

[Your Name]

Research Program Fellowship

Dear Professor [Professor’s Name],

I am excited to let you know that I am seeking admission to [Research Program Name] and I need to obtain a letter of recommendation. The fellowship committee requests a letter that highlights my research experience and potential, academic performance, personal qualities, and any awards and honors that I have received. I am confident that your recommendations will strengthen my application.

You have been a great mentor to me during my time at [University Name], and your guidance and support have played a significant role in developing my research interests in [Field of Study]. I am hopeful that you can provide a comprehensive assessment of my skills and aptitude for research in your letter.

I appreciate your consideration of my request. Please feel free to contact me should you require any additional information.

Thank you for your time and support.


[Your Name]

Undergraduate Program Admission

Dear Professor [Professor’s Name],

I hope you are doing well. I have recently applied for the [Undergraduate Program Name] at [University Name] and have listed you as one of my references. As my academic advisor and professor for several of the courses required for the program, I believe that you are in the best position to provide an assessment of my academic achievements and potential.

The program values strong personality traits, intellectual curiosity, and academic accomplishments. I am hoping that you can highlight my academic success and work ethic in your letter of recommendation. I would be happy to provide you with any additional information about myself that you may need to complete the letter.

Thank you for considering this request.


[Your Name]

Job Recommendation

Dear Professor [Professor’s Name],

I am writing to request your assistance in providing a recommendation to support my job application for the [Job Title] position at [Company Name]. I enjoyed taking the [Related Course Name] course with you, and I believe that the knowledge and skills gained will be useful in the position.

The job requires [List Job Requirements] and a recommendation letter that can attest to my qualifications and personality. I am hoping you can speak to my skills and abilities for the job, including my experience in specific coursework, projects, and research.

Please let me know if you will be able to write a letter highlighting this information by [Date]. I would be grateful for your support, and I appreciate your time and effort. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Thank you.


[Your Name]

Volunteer Program Application

Dear Professor [Professor’s Name],

I am applying to volunteer at [Organization Name], and I need to provide a letter of recommendation. Given your experience working with the organization and involvement in community service, I believe you are the best person to ask for a letter.

The organization is interested in my past record of community service, leadership potential, and personal character traits. I have been actively involved in [Related Volunteer Activities] for several years, and I believe my experience aligns with the mission and goals of the organization. I am hoping that you can highlight my dedication, teamwork, and leadership skills in your letter.

I appreciate your time and effort in this matter, and I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you for your continued mentorship and guidance.


[Your Name]

Award Nomination

Dear Professor [Professor’s Name],

I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to request your assistance in nominating me for the [Award Name] award at [University Name]. The award recognizes academic achievement, leadership capacity, and community service for students in [Related Field of Study].

I would be honored for the nomination, and I believe I have met the criteria for the award, given the work I have done in [Related Field of Study]. I would be grateful if you could highlight my academic accomplishments and leadership potential in your nomination letter.

I am aware of the time and effort required to make a nomination. If you are willing and able to write a letter, I will provide any additional information or materials that you need.

Thank you for considering my request.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

Tips for Requesting a Letter of Recommendation from a Professor

Requesting a letter of recommendation from a professor can be a daunting task for many students. However, with a few key tips, it can be a manageable process that can lead to a strong recommendation letter. Here are some tips to keep in mind when requesting a letter of recommendation from a professor:

  • Choose the right professor: When deciding who to ask for a letter of recommendation, it is important to choose a professor who knows you well and has positive things to say about you. This could be a professor you have worked closely with in class, a professor who has advised your research or internship, or a professor who has supervised your extracurricular activities on campus.
  • Ask well in advance: Professors are often very busy and may need time to write a strong letter of recommendation. It is recommended to ask at least 4-6 weeks in advance of when you need the letter.
  • Provide context: When requesting the letter of recommendation, provide the professor with the necessary context about why you need the letter and what it will be used for.
  • Share your accomplishments: Provide the professor with a list of your accomplishments, awards, and relevant experience so they have a better idea of your strengths and can highlight them in the letter.
  • Give specific instructions: Make sure to ask the professor about their process for writing the letter and whether they need any specific information or documents from you. Provide them with specific instructions on how the letter should be submitted and to whom or where it should be sent.
  • Follow up politely: If the deadline for the letter of recommendation is approaching and you have not received confirmation that it has been submitted, follow up politely with the professor to remind them. However, do not pester them or be aggressive in your approach.
  • Thank the professor: After the letter has been submitted, make sure to thank the professor for taking the time to write the recommendation and for their support of your academic and professional goals.

By following these tips, you can ensure that you request a letter of recommendation in a professional and effective manner, and ultimately receive a strong letter that highlights your strengths and accomplishments.

FAQs: Sample Email Asking for Letter of Recommendation from Professor

What is a letter of recommendation and why do I need it?

A letter of recommendation is a document written by a reference that supports your application for a job, scholarship or academic program. It is important to seek a letter of recommendation from a respected professor who can vouch for your abilities and achievements in a particular field.

What information should I include in my email when requesting a recommendation letter?

It’s important to provide the professor with your current resume, transcript, cover letter or any other materials that you intend to submit along with their letter of recommendation. Also, kindly introduce yourself, let them know which position or program you are applying for, why you are interested in it and when the application deadline is.

How many professors should I request a letter of recommendation from?

It’s usually recommended to request a minimum of two or maximum of three letters of recommendation from different professors for your application. Choose a professor who knows your work well, such as a mentor or advisor, and has had direct experience of working with you in a classroom or research setting.

Can I request a letter of recommendation via email?

It’s totally okay to request a letter of recommendation via email as long as you keep it brief, professional, and include all the necessary information required. Also, avoid sending mass emails or requesting recommendations from professors with whom you haven’t had any previous interaction.

How much time should I give my professor to write a recommendation letter?

It’s important to give your professors at least 3 to 4 weeks advance notice before the deadline to request their letter of recommendation. This will allow them adequate time to write a thoughtful, precise and personalized letter that reflects positively on your abilities and experience.

What if my professor asks me to provide the first draft of the letter of recommendation?

It’s not common for professors to ask their students to write their own letter of recommendation, but if they do, it’s crucial to maintain a professional tone and don’t exaggerate your achievements or accomplishments. Keep the letter simple, to-the-point and emphasize your skills and experiences relevant to the program/application.

Is it important to follow up with my professor once I have submitted the application?

It’s best to check back with your professor if you haven’t heard from them within a few days or a week. Thank them again for writing the letter of recommendation and ask if they need any additional materials or information from you. Keeping them in the loop will ensure your application is complete and submitted on time.

Wrapping It Up

Thanks for taking the time to read my article on how to craft a sample email asking for a letter of recommendation from a professor. I hope these tips help relieve some of the stress that comes with requesting a recommendation letter. Remember to be polite, respectful, and provide your professor with all the necessary information they need to write a great letter. If you found this article helpful, please don’t hesitate to come back and visit for more tips and tricks for a successful academic experience. Good luck with your letter writing!