Letters of Recommendation
Many colleges require letters of recommendation along with your application for admission. Even if a college does not specifically ask for recommendation, it is a good idea to provide letters that support your application. These letters are an important way for admission officials to gain insight into your personal strengths, weaknesses and accomplishments.
Usually 1 – 3 letters of recommendation in support of your application are acceptable. You want to ask teachers or school personnel who know you and who can speak to your strengths and passions. Just saying you are a good student, or have strong character is not a strong recommendation. The person needs to be able to say why that is true. Even if you made a lower grade in a teacher’s class, but you put forth a lot of extra effort in working toward that grade, that person can usually write a stronger letter than someone in whose class you made an easy A. You will also need letters that speak about your involvement in activities, the community, or other areas of interest.
You should follow these steps when requesting letters of recommendation for college admissions:
- Be sure your yellow activity sheet is complete and updated and on file in the guidance office. You will need a copy of your activity sheet and the Recommendation request form BEFORE you ask a person do write a letter for you.
- Fill out the top of the Recommendation Request Form and be sure to list a date that you need the recommendation turned in to guidance. Understand that letters should be confidential and should therefore be turned in directly to the guidance office.
- Ask the teacher/person at least a week BEFORE you need the letter turned in. If you are trying to meet a deadline, you should ask about 2 weeks in advance. Provide them with the copy of the activity sheet and the Request Form (completed).
- The teacher will then write the letter and attach the request form to the top of their letter and turn it in to guidance.
- When you submit any paperwork to guidance – you will complete a transcript request form. List the persons who will be turning in your recommendations so that these can be put together and mailed in a single packet.
- For scholarships – teachers can only do 2 letters of recommendation for the same scholarship.
- Some applications have special forms for teachers to use for the recommendations. Please check to be sure you are using the correct forms and attach them to the Request Form. If they are to mail in something, be sure you provide an envelope with a stamp on it along with the form.