How to Address Envelopes for College Recommendation Letters
- Locate Address. Look for the information about recommendation letters to see where these need to be sent.
- Print Address on Envelope. Type or clearly print the name and address on the front of a business-sized envelope.
- Return Address. Don't put your own address here. Instead, put your reference's professional address in the upper left-hand corner of the envelope If the reference is a teacher, put their name and the name of the school and the school address.
- Bottom Left-Hand Corner: Put "Re:" and your name and what you are applying to. That way, your letter can reach the right person more quickly.
- Stamp. Be sure to put a postage stamp on the right-hand corner of the envelope. If the letter of recommendation includes several forms, you might want to put two stamps. You don't want your application delayed because it had insufficient postage!
- Highlight Instructions: Make sure your reference knows what they need to do. You can highlight on forms places they need to sign or the instructions. You can also include a note, especially if the reference is to seal and sign the back of the recommendation for authenticity. If you are sending a recommendation for someone else, it doesn't hurt to sign the back in ink across the seal.
Recommendation EnvelopeClick thumbnail to view full-size
How to Ask for Recommendation
Each college is different and if you are applying to several, you will need to keep the forms straight. Some colleges want your references to fill out a form. Others want a letter. Make sure your reference knows what you need to have done. Here are steps you can take to get the best possible recommendation:
- Give Your Reference Clear Instructions. If the college provides instructions, then be sure to provide a copy. If the college does not provide instructions, then type what you need out for your reference.
- Give Your Reference Something to Write About. It doesn't hurt to remind them of some of your best moments in their class, or even to give them a transcript or a list of your achievements. Having written many of these letters, I know the hardest part is when you draw a blank and can't remember anything specific to say.
- Make Sure You Include a Stamped Envelope. If you don't put a stamp on the envelope, then your reference will have to do that out of their own pocket. I can't believe how many times I've had to do that. Remember that the person giving you a reference is doing you a favor. A big favor. You want to make a good impression. Forgetting the stamp shows you are either lazy or not on top of things.
When students have similar grades, test scores and lists of student activities, often it is the recommendation letter which makes the difference in college admissions. The recommender should know you well enough to tell the college or employer:
- What kind of a person are you?
- What is the quality of your work?
- How hard do you work?
- What makes you stand out?
- Do other people get along well with you?
Since your acceptance depends on that letter getting to the right place, at the right time, make sure you have it addressed properly. Look at my photos and step by step instructions for addressing college recommendation letters properly. I also give tips on how to get the best recommendations.
Remember to Send Thanks
When the reference has been sent, be sure that you send a thank you note to show that you appreciate the time and effort. A small gift of cookies or a $5.00 Starbucks or Sonic gift card is also appropriate. Remember, you may need to ask for a reference again and you want that person to think about you favorably. Besides, it is just good manners.