Can you ask a professor for a letter of recommendation years later?

Asked by: Tyshawn Huels  |  Last update: August 19, 2023
Score: 4.2/5 (43 votes)

Professors are used to hearing from former students years after they've graduated, so even if it feels like it's a long shot, it probably isn't. Plus, professors usually keep records of grades, which will help them determine if they can write a letter that will actually be helpful to you.

How do you ask a professor for a letter of recommendation after a long time?

How to request a letter of recommendation
  1. Choose a professor who knows you well. ...
  2. Request a meeting with your professor. ...
  3. Set a realistic deadline. ...
  4. Submit a written request. ...
  5. Share information about yourself and your goals. ...
  6. Offer details about the position you're applying to. ...
  7. Follow up. ...
  8. Thank your professor.

Is it okay to ask an old professor for a letter of recommendation?

As a recent graduate, potential employers may ask you to provide a recommendation letter when applying for a new job or internship. If you're just starting your career, you may not have a former employer, so you may consider asking a former professor to write a letter for you.

Can I use a letter of recommendation from 5 years ago?

A letter of recommendation is sent from the recommender directly to the university or employer. You do Not have a copy. If you are five years later applying for a new job or a new graduate student slot, you ask the person to update the letter of recommendation and submit it to the new college/employer.

How do you ask for a reference letter after years?

Ask in person first.

Before you send a formal, written request for a letter of recommendation, speak with each individual in person. Preparing what you'll say ahead of time can help you feel more calm and confident. Explain what it is you're applying for and why you're asking this person to recommend you.


44 related questions found

How long is too long to ask for a reference letter?

Start early. Ideally, give the person three to four weeks, but never less than two weeks to complete the recommendation. Most faculty and staff are very busy and have numerous recommendations to write, so you want to be courteous.

Can you use a letter of recommendation from 2 years ago?

I do not recommend you get a letter of recommendation from your online course professor who you don't interact with and who doesn't know you. The letter from a few years ago isn't bad. And so, just ask if the professor would re-date the letter.

Can I reuse an old reference letter?

If you're reapplying, your recommenders may resubmit the previously written letters with your new application.

Can you reuse letters of recommendation next year?

You may be able to reuse letters of recommendation. However, many grad schools ask the letter-writer to submit the letter directly, so you will have to ask your writers to re-submit their letters each time you apply to a new program.

Can a professor deny a letter of recommendation?

One of the most important things to remember before writing a recommendation letter is that you can say no. If you feel you have bad experiences with the student and won't be able to provide the glowing recommendation they need, you can deny their request.

Who should you not ask for a letter of recommendation your teacher?

You may be tempted to ask a well-known teacher, but if that teacher doesn't know you well, the letter won't mean a lot. You should also avoid teachers that you had several years ago. Don't ask a family member or a friend for a recommendation as a college may not take them seriously.

Is it bad to ask for a letter of recommendation late?

You shouldn't pass up an opportunity to apply for the fellowship of your dreams simply because you found out about it late in the game! You will not be the first or the last to request a last-minute letter of recommendation from your boss, professor, or other recommender. So, you should not feel afraid to ask.

Can retired professors write letters of recommendation?

Us retired faculty still exist and writing strong letters of recommendation does not come to a full stop instantly. In any event, it does not hurt to ask. The professor's e-mail address may be on their department's web site, if you do not have it already.

How do you email an old professor for a reference?

In fact, you can ask for a reference from a professor in just a handful of sentences. Open by introducing yourself and letting them know about your career goals. Tell them why you're hoping they will serve as a reference. Then, ask if they're willing to provide a strong reference.

How to ask your former teacher for a letter of recommendation?

The best way to ask is to simply ask. Find a time when your teacher isn't busy and ask them directly. Don't go with friends, and try to avoid emailing. Be sure you have any information your teacher may need to write the recommendation and give them plenty of time to complete it.

Is it OK to use a reference from 10 years ago?

A common question among job seekers is, “How far back can I go to ask people I've worked with before to be references for me?” As a general rule, the answer is not more than five to 10 years.

Can I use a former professor as a reference?

Yes, professors are considered professional references! The key is choosing professors who have watched you act in a productive capacity where you proved your skills and qualifications for employment.

Can you save letters of recommendation for later?

Most schools provide a letter storage service via their career center or similar resource. There are also online letter-holding services such as Interfolio. You can ask your letter writers to send the letter directly to the service or upload it yourself whenever they are ready.

Can you ask a professor for a letter of recommendation twice?

If you're applying to multiple opportunities, it's totally okay to ask the same person for multiple letters because they can reuse their writing and submit it to any position you apply to.

How many times can you buy letter of formal recommendation?

Purchases are limited to one Letter for each Trading Company per major monthly update. Every Letter of Recommendation costs 30 Doubloons. These Letters cannot be bought if the selected Company's Reputation has already reached its max level.

Can I ever read my letter of recommendation?

In the academic world, recommendation letters tend to be kept confidential. Your teacher or counselor may show you the letter and ask for your feedback or revisions, but this depends on the person. Even if you're burning with curiosity, you shouldn't pressure your recommenders to show you the letter.

What happens if your recommendation letters are late?

Call the Admissions Office Immediately

First, you should confirm that the letter has not been sent and that the schools to which you are applying have not received it. Contact the admissions office as soon as possible. Calling the office directly is better than sending an email, because you need a response right away.

What to do if you can't get a letter of recommendation?

Here are a few things that you can do to make the connections that you need to find recommenders that will round out your graduate school application.
  1. Reach out to your academic advisor. ...
  2. Reach out to former professors. ...
  3. Ask your boss (or former boss) ...
  4. Take a class and build a relationship. ...
  5. Talk to Admissions.

How late is too late to ask a professor for a letter of recommendation?

It really depends on the teacher. It is common courtesy, however, to give the teacher at least a week to complete one if it is sent electronically. If the letters must be sent by mail, give them at least two weeks.