Give Them a Reason to Say Yes



Updated June 8, 2022

You’re reading an excerpt of Admitted by Soundarya Balasubramani. Written by an Ivy League graduate from India, this is the proven guide for students worldwide looking to pursue undergraduate or graduate study abroad in the U.S., Canada, or Europe. Purchase for instant access to the guide and other exclusive resources—including sample SOPs, sample resumes, scholarship lists, and a private community with other readers.

To reiterate, you are not the only student who is requesting a letter, and they have a packed schedule as it is. So give them a reason to say yes by being prepared with your request. If you’re meeting them in person or speaking on the phone, give sufficient context around the following: why you chose to study abroad, picked that major, and decided upon those universities. They would be delighted if you chose a major where their expertise lies.

In addition to requesting for a letter, you need to provide them with the information they need to fulfill that request.

Speaking of which…

Share the Right Amount of Information

Most things in life are not black or white. Rather, they lie somewhere in between. Sharing too little or no information will lead to them writing a short, insipid letter that could hurt you rather than help you. Sharing too much information will overwhelm or, worse, annoy them into writing a subpar letter which could once again hurt you.

Beyond sharing the foundational details, you need to carefully cherry-pick the achievements and highlights you want to mention, to refresh their memory of how amazing you really are. In no specific order, the following are recommended fields to share:

  • context of your relationship with them

  • You’re reading a preview of an online book. Buy it now for lifetime access to expert knowledge, including future updates.
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