How to get a strong recommendation letter
Who should I ask for the letter of recommendation?
How can you ensure that the writer of your recommendation letter does the job well and honestly? This isn't an easy task, and it pays to think hard about who you ask.
Teachers are a very popular option when asking for a recommender, and with good reason. Your teachers will know you well, having seen you at school day-in, day-out. They will have a good knowledge of your skills and aptitude for specific courses. And their written English should be strong as well.
They aren't the only option, though. If you have worked in a sector related to your course, bosses or colleagues could be preferable. This is often true for Masters or PhD applicants who want to develop their professional skills in Germany.
Is it important to be well-known by the recommender?
When you choose a recommender, it's usually advisable to pick someone who knows you very well indeed.
Put yourself in the place of the admissions team at your German university. They want an in-depth profile of who you are, and how your skills measure up against your application form. Only someone who knows you well can provide that kind of information.
Is it possible that the admission committee will contact the recommender?
Universities may well contact your recommender to check that the information they have provided is accurate, and to clear up any confusing issues. But they won't generally carry out long interviews or demand a lot of information.
Admissions staff usually trust recommenders to provide an honest appraisal, but it's still very important for the text to remain as truthful as possible. Any discrepancies between your recommender's words and your personal testimony could raise questions about your application in general.
When making a request to act as a recommender, provide information about your course and what you hope to achieve. And when the task has been completed, why not purchase a gift for your teacher or colleague?