9 answers

When should I ask the teachers for the recommendation letters? I’m currently a junior.

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9 answers

Theresa’s Answer

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When writing recommendation letters, make sure to give your recommendation writers at least one month's notice. This is so they have enough time to make a great LOR for you! Since you are a junior, one thing you can do is ask your references to write their letters during the summer before your senior year starts. Another thing you can do is give them a month or two to write all of your needed letters before the deadline for your first application. This is so they are not in (what seems to look like) an endless cycle of writing.
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Syed’s Answer

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Hi Hanna,

The summer after junior year is the most critical for the college application process. You should use this time to finalize your college list, do research about scholarships, figure out if you want to do Early Action/Early Decision, and get some strong extracurricular experience. You should also use the summer after junior year to review your transcript and identify which classes you did best in (A- and above).

Among those maybe 4 or 5 classes, figure out which teachers you connected the most with. The best recommenders are the teachers you've connected the most with inside and outside the classroom. If there are any individuals who you've interacted with as both teachers and coaches or mentors, then push those to the top of the list. Ultimately, you'll want 2 or 3 strong recommenders.

Now when you get back to school in the fall, reach out to those potential recommenders both in person and over email. Most Early Action/Early Decision deadlines are around November 1st so if you talk to teachers in the first 2 weeks of school, they should have enough time to put their recommendations together in the Common App or otherwise. Make sure to give them context on your contributions to their classes, your grades in their classes and any personal connection you may share with those teachers.

Good luck!
Do colleges only look at long recommendation letters and not the short ones? Or they look at both? Hanna K.
Usually schools will have a word limit for the recommendation, and you won’t see what the teacher wrote. Syed Ferdous BACKER
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Ari’s Answer

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My suggestion to you would be to ask your teachers before the end of your junior year of high school for your senior year so that when you are ready to have them write it they already expect to set aside the time for it. That is what I was told when I was applying for college and it worked well for me because I am now a junior in college and I applied to undergrad in September of my senior year of high school so I gad a very quick turn around on the need for recommendation letter and my teachers were much happier to write them because I had asked a couple months in advance. Basically PLAN AHEAD!
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Giaan’s Answer

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Hi Hannah,

My suggestion is that you should ask your teachers for a letter of recommendation at the end of the year so that by this time, they know you well enough. Ask them at least a month in advance so that they have time to complete the letter in the best way possible for you. Junior year teachers are often a good choice because they had you recently and for a full year (whereas your senior year teachers might not know you that well yet). It can also be a good idea to ask your junior year teachers at the end of junior year, when you're fresh in their mind from being a student in their class all year (also a good idea if you have early decision deadlines). It gives them an entire summer to work on your letter. Just make sure to politely remind them a few weeks before your deadlines, if they haven't submitted your rec letter by then. Make sure to give them your brag sheet of all the extracurricular activities that you've done over the years so that they have enough information to write about you.
This is great advice! I recommend having your "asks" done by the end of your junior year, with all the information that your recommender needs to easily process the letter on your behalf. Depending on the size of your school and how many others may be requesting letters as you are, you want to give your recommender plenty of time to write the best letter that they can, without being rushed or confused about what they need to do. Jennifer Haden
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Sara’s Answer

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One piece of advice on asking for recommendation letters is to write the letter yourself and then ask them to edit and add to it. I know it sounds crazy but you have to remember many people are asking them for letters which is very time consuming. Imagine is someone asked you to write them a letter? Do you have an hour to sit and write a letter for someone? Wouldn't it be better if it was 1/2 way done already? I think giving a miniumum of two weeks notice is appropriate but remember how many other people may be asking for the same.
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Estelle’s Answer

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I would focus on asking teachers who like you and know you well enough to give you a great recommendation. It is also good if they can be from teachers who have taught you in a subject related to your intended major.
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Vaibhav’s Answer

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Agree with Theresa. In addition, you'll want to be clear in how the LOR should be submitted. Imagine you are the one being asked to write a LOR. What are all the logistical things you would like to know? Making it easy for your teachers will go a long way.

It also goes without saying but be sure to ask teachers with whom you have a great and working relationship. A teacher you have built a relationship with will be able to give a more substantive LOR. Hope this helps!
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Hanleigh’s Answer

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Hi!

I would recommend giving your teachers 3-4 weeks prior to the deadline to write your recommendation letter. Keep mind if you are referring to a recommendation letter for college you may want your teacher a few months notice to write your recommendation letter because they may have several students that they are writing recommendation letters for. It is also important to remind your recommender of the deadline. Try not the be overbearing, but a friendly remember, because they are busy, would be helpful to them.
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Teri’s Answer

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As a teacher and parent of a Junior going through the same process, much of the previous advice is great! As you search for colleges, make sure you talk with an admission counselor and ask for advice on choosing the right person for a letter of recommendation and even if the college says the LOR is optional, submit one!!

Also, just as you would ask someone for a LOR for a job, ask your teacher or counselor if they can give you a positive recommendation. As many colleges open their applications starting in July and August, under the current situation, it is not too early to start thinking about who would be the best teacher to give you a LOR and reaching out to them before the end of the year, even just to give them a heads up. If you know what colleges you want to apply to and when, give them an idea of your timeframe and ask when the best time would be to follow up with them and what other information they might like to have from you to help them craft the best letter possible. Ideally, they will know you fairly well and can speak to your character and work ethic.

If you have not yet made a connection like that, yet, please be sure to actively engage online with your teachers, ask questions, participate in online discussions and demonstrate qualities that make you a well-rounded student who demonstrates initiative, independence, and self-motivation which will set you apart from other students making it easier for your teacher to write a great letter of recommendation for you. Best of luck!
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