Tips on Getting Great Recommendation Letters for College Transfers

December 5, 2023
Transfer Admissions

If you are getting ready to transfer to a new college, you probably want stunning letters of recommendation from your current professors—the kinds of letters that will help increase your odds of admission, get you the scholarships and grants you want, and set you up for success at your new school. Try some of these strategies to get great letters of recommendation from your current professors.

If you are planning to ask for a letter of recommendation, you do not want to request a letter from a random professor. Instead, pick a professor whose class you loved and with whom you have a relationship—ideally, a professor who enjoyed having you in class and noted your participation. They will have the ability to write a personalized letter of recommendation that includes specific details and anecdotes.

Choosing a professor you have had recently, rather than one from a couple of semesters ago, increases the odds that you are fresh in the professor’s mind and that they will write a letter of recommendation that reflects your abilities as a student.

Timing matters when it comes to letters of recommendation. At the end of a semester, many professors, especially the ones that are well-liked or popular with students, are inundated by requests for letters of recommendation as well as with other end-of-semester responsibilities. If you want to get a great letter of recommendation from a professor, choose your timing with care:

  • Try to get your request in early. Do not get it in just before the deadline! This gives the professor more time to think through what they want to say about you and ensures that they will not be in a rush to complete your letter.
  • Approach your professor during office hours or at a time when they otherwise are not busy to ensure that the request sticks in their mind and so they do not forget about it and so your request is not a source of frustration.
  • Try to approach your professor at a time when they are not dealing with other responsibilities. You do not want your letter to be just another item on a long list of things that your professor has to accomplish.

Many college professors see hundreds of students coming through their classrooms every day. Your favorite professor might remember you but still struggle to remember exactly what makes you unique as a student. Even a professor with whom you have had a great relationship or who doubles as your advisor might need a little extra assistance putting together a solid letter of recommendation that reflects all of the qualities that make you unique. To get the best possible letter of recommendation, try offering a little help:

  • Provide a brief cover letter that outlines some of your contributions to the class. Don’t be wordy! Instead, allow your professor to evaluate.
  • Offer a verbal reminder of some of the memories you have of interacting with that professor.
  • Send your professor an email that provides some information about you. Remember to keep it brief! You do not want to write your own letter, just jog your professor’s memory to get the best possible letter possible.

Your letters of recommendation are only one important part of your transfer application package. Want to increase your odds of transferring into your dream school? Get in touch! AtomicMind’s college admissions coaching services can help you navigate the transfer process with confidence, narrow down the giant field of potential colleges and figure out which schools best suit your personal interests and aspirations. We work closely with students at every stage, from highlighting their unique talents to selecting the best schools to fit their individual needs and ambitions to prepping them for interviews and helping them craft standout personal essays using their own authentic voice. And of course, we can help you secure those important recommendation letters.