Choosing a Teacher to Write a Letter of Recommendation for their College Application

While some students think long and hard about which teachers they choose to write their Letters of Recommendation,

While some students think long and hard about which teachers they choose to write their Letters of Recommendation, for some, it is an easy choice. Generally speaking, students choose one teacher from a Humanities subject and one teacher from a STEAM Subject. But there is flexibility here depending on the circumstances. Also, your college counselor will be a writer as well, unless your school has some other system. 

Many schools use a college platform (Maia Learning, Naviance, etc.) where you fill out a form that is helpful for teachers to see additional information about you so they can learn more about you. Be sure this is up to date. Some schools won’t allow you to even ask your teachers for recommendations unless this is filled out. These forms allow you to give your teachers a bit more information about you-commitments outside of school such as work, extra curricular activities, perhaps some extenuating circumstances they may not be aware of. It may also be helpful to give the teachers a resume. 

Keep in mind that there may be a deadline date involved with this, as well as the fact that some teachers in both private and public schools may place a cap on the number of Letters of Recommendation they will write. So, start early with this. 

Choosing Your Recommenders 

The teachers you choose  don’t have to be those who give you straight As.  It can be teachers who have given you a challenge and know you well and know that you are a good honest worker. You want a teacher who is approachable and will be excited to write this letter about you. In other words, it is okay if the class was challenging. It is  your work ethic and honesty that are important. Admissions committees want to know that you are a determined person. Even if you struggled in class, admission committees want to know that you were persistent and knew how to ask for assistance. Bottom line… will they say nice things about you and can they illustrate this in writing? 

Give your teachers plenty of lead time to write these letters. If you are in a school with many students in your class and you know that the most popular teachers will be asked for recommendations, get a jump start on this. Ask in Spring of Junior year. Don’t wait until the beginning of Senior year. 

Understand that you are unable to see this letter. It is private and confidential. So have trust in your recommenders. 

Remember:  Keep up to date with your school’s college platform (Naviance, Maia Learning, etc.), ask teachers early on, perhaps Spring of Junior year, have faith in what they say, as you are unable to see the recommendations. 

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