Requesting / Sending Recommendation Letters
Colleges handle recommendations in many different ways:
- Some colleges do not require recommendations at all
- Some colleges ask for recommenders to fill out a particular form
- Some colleges ask simply for a typed-up letter of recommendation
You need to read the application instructions for each particular college to see what you need to do. Note, also, that sometimes recommendation letters MUST be from teachers, but occasionally you are given the option of asking a mentor/employer/neighbor.
- Figure out which teachers know you best and have a positive impression of you, and ask them well in advance if they would be willing to write you a college recommendation when you need one. If they are willing, obtain their e-mail addresses. Also, it is wise to give the teacher a copy of your senior resume, your full name (including middle name), and your birth date (so that they can put this identifying information on any recommendations they send).
- Depending on what type of recommendation is required, give the teachers the following instructions:
- When you use the Common App, or any other “online” recommendation system, let teachers/counselors know that they will receive an e-mail from the organization with a link to their online recommendation. Check with the adults to see that they have received that e-mail, as some messages get blocked in our filter. Please enter the email addresses prior to completing the application (unless the online system will not allow recommenders to be added in advance). This will allow recommenders to begin working on and submit your recommendations.
- When you are instructed to print out a form that the teacher/counselor must complete, fill out the basic info on the form (name, etc…), give it to the adult with a stamped envelope that is addressed to the school’s admissions office, and let the adult know the deadline by which it must be sent. You may do this in advance of submitting your application.
- When you are instructed to have a teacher/counselor write a letter, and no form is required, explain to the adult that a letter is to be sent to the college, provide a stamped envelope that is addressed to the school’s admissions office, and let the adult know the deadline by which it must be sent. You may do this in advance of submitting your application.
- Send (hand deliver) thank you notes to everyone who wrote you a recommendation letter.