High school students seeking to enter one of the country's military service academies must have a recommendation letter from at least one senator or representative of their home state. Competition for these nominations is intense, because each government official can only submit a limited number of nominations. Some job openings also require a letter of recommendation from a state representative. Whatever the reason, do your research, gather the necessary documentation and start the process early to maximize your chances of success.
Identify the representative from your district you plan to ask for a recommendation. You can find this information on the House of Representatives website's directory pages. You can also go through your state's government website, which typically lists each representative's contact information, along with the district represented.
Study the representative's instructions for requesting a letter of recommendation, then follow them exactly. Some require an original hard copy letter to be sent to their office, while others provide an application form that you must complete and submit online. Pay particular attention to the deadlines for such requests and make sure you get your request submitted well in advance of the deadline.
Specify in your request exactly why you are seeking the letter of recommendation. If you happen to know the representative personally, be sure to mention that in your request. Include all the relevant information your representative needs to meet your request, such as the contact information of the person who needs to receive the letter, the date the letter is needed and whether a specific format is required.
Include with your request all the supporting materials required for your representative to complete his recommendation letter or package. For an employment opportunity, this may be simply some basic information about you. Service academy recommendations, on the other hand, require a substantial amount of supporting documentation, including an official transcript, test scores, a photograph and information about your school and community activities.
- Always carefully review your letter to the representative and any supporting materials you provide to ensure they are error free and present you in the best light possible.
- United States House of Representatives: Directory of Representatives
- Quintessential Careers: How to Obtain and Use References and Recommendation Letters
- United States Military Academy: West Point Admissions
- U.S. News & World Report: Ask Early and Nicely for Letters of Recommendation
- U.S. Scouting Service Project: Eagle Congratulation Letters
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