Teacher and Counserlor Letters of Recommendations

2016Teacher and Counselors Letters of Recommendation
Rebecca Joseph



1)   Teacher selection process

  1. Many colleges ask you to submit one or two letters of recommendation from teachers. Prioritize your top and your second choices as you will have to rank them on the common application.
  2. Colleges prefer teachers who have known you most recently-ideally an 11th grade teacher or a teacher who has had you more than once.
  3. They want teachers from core area-English, Social Studies, Science, Math and Foreign Language. Special schools will want extra letters from arts teachers.
  4. Choose teachers who know you the best in terms of academic work, intellectual potential, and class participation. Also choose teachers who are known to write great letters and submit all materials on time.
  5. ASK TEACHERS AS SOON AS YOU CAN SENIOR YEAR!!! You can even ask the end of junior year and track any junior teachers who leave the school.Letter-of-Rec

2)   College Counselor selection process

  1. Many colleges want a high school counselor to write a letter.
  2. Find out how your school assigns the counselor who writes this letter.
  3. Once you determine this counselor, go speak with him or her as often as possible.

3)   Deadlines

  1. Develop a list of your colleges, recommendation requirements, and deadlines.
  2. Ask your school and teachers their requirements for recommendations.
  3. Give teachers and counselors at least one month to write letters.
  4. Remind them a week before and/or before the Christmas holidays.

4)   Brag Sheets and other materials to give teachers and counselors

  1. Submit a cover letter with your list of colleges and deadlines thanking the teachers and counselors in advance for agreeing to write the recommendations.
  2. Fill out any brag sheet teachers or counselors ask you to complete with great focus and many details as many counselors will not know you that well.
  3. Use this opportunity to also mention any qualities, details, class remembrances or pertinent facts that need to be included in the letter or letters.
  4. Provide everyone with a copy of your résumé. Mention in your letter that this copy is strictly for their usage and should not be mailed with the letter of recommendation.

5)    Online Submission Process

  1. All schools on The Common Application accept online teacher letters.
  2. You need to enter your teachers’ and counselors email addresses so find out the ones that they will check regularly.
  3. Make sure your teachers and counselors receive the email request from the common application.
  4. If your school uses Naviance, sign the waiver to allow everyone to submit the forms.
  5. You can check on the common application and on many college websites when letters are submitted.

6)    Additional Letters

  1. Select extra letters very carefully.  Do not overwhelm a school.
  2. The Common Application allows you to submit other letters. Go to the college’s website and look at its approach to additional letters.
  3. Select a person who knows your leadership and initiative and covers an area you feel your application does not cover fully. They should know you personally.
  4. Some schools state they will take specific extra letters. Dartmouth takes a peer letter. Stanford takes one extra letter. Arts supplements take extra letters.

7)    Little Extras

  1. Give your teachers and counselors a thank you note and perhaps a gift card to Starbucks, iTunes, or Amazon.