Letters of Recomendation

The basics are up top – you should know most of this stuff if you’ve read EPIK’s information cover to cover but here’s some reminders. 
For specific problems or more suggestions click “more” below to see the rest of the article. 


  • You have to have two letters of recommendation.


  • If you have teaching experience (of one full academic year) one letter has to be from that school
  • Professors are highly recommended for current students/recent graduates
  • Cannot be written by a friend, family member or co-worker.
  • Must be written by “a professional acquaintance (supervisor, professor, director)
Make a list of 3+ people who can write your letter as there is a high chance some people will say no (too busy, don’t know you very well enough, etc). 

What should be in the letter?

  • Applicant’s full name (not Rob or Bob but Robert)
  • How long they have known the applicant
  • “The strengths and weaknesses of the applicant relevant to teaching English in Korea”
  • Contact information of the writer, email address and address
  • The letter should be written on an official letterhead (if no letter head a business card must be included)


From emails with our recruiter its become very obvious that the letter should be (or is better to come from) somebody who is very high up. Korean culture is very honorific based with an emphasis on social and educational standing. Students study their whole lives for a 10 hour test that essentially makes or breaks their lives (based on what school they get into). Knowing this, it seems better to get letters from…

  • professors with higher education (doctorates over assistant professors)
  • heads of departments (if you’re in Uni there’s a good chance you’ve never met the head of your department or head of your college but it may  be worth a shot). Some of these higher up people have pre-written templates.
In the case of teaching experience, EPIK says not to go to a principle that doesn’t know you … applying this to the LOR, try to go to someone who is high up but still knows you pretty well (see “but my person doesn’t know me” below)

Possible problems we’ve run into…

But the person I want to write it doesn’t know me… 

After transferring schools, studying abroad, and changing majors I’ve only had one professor twice. Everyone else had only seen me once then never again. This makes it hard to find someone who knows you well enough. In the past, professors have asked me to include a little letter (or information sheet) of my own stating my own weaknesses/strengths or anything else that would help them write it.

The person writing your letter may also want to know more about EPIK. It never hurts to bring them 1) a little information about yourself 2) a copy of EPIK’s LOR template 3) a little more information about the EPIK program.

I can’t decide who should write my letter

You may as well get at least 3 letters at this point. Our own recruiter and a few others have mentioned recruiters saying this. After reading them, your recruiter can guide you on which one sounds the best and you will just submit those two. This works very well as they can pick which one will sound best to EPIK.

No one will write my letters…

This hasn’t happened to us but we have been rejected a couple of times. People are busy. You will probably be rejected at least once so it helps to think about alternatives…
  • any professor you’ve ever spoken to outside of class. 
  • any professor you’ve gotten a good grade with (consider writing a letter about yourself to help them along)
  • if you truly do not know anyone go straight to the top of your department or college and tell them what the problem is
  • any past employer (assuming you left on good terms)
If you still cannot get someone to write a letter its time to work up some personal skills. Many schools need tutors/volunteers for projects (science fair judges, after school programs). Local newspapers also have lists of volunteer programs. 



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