Requesting Letters of Recommendation via Online Services:
Letters of recommendation do account for a large part of a universities evaluation process. In the College Board’s Annual Survey of Colleges (April 2004), colleges indicate which admissions criteria are most important. In this survey, criteria rated “very important or important” by 1,841 four-year colleges were:
School Achievement 93%
Test Scores 87%
If letters of recommendation can account for up to 49% of their decision, wouldn’t you think that you should take this process very serious? Wouldn’t you want the person writing your letters of recommendation to have ample time, information (Senior Profile) and personal contact (interview) with you to write you the most favorable letter you can receive? A personalized letter of recommendation will always help you stand out and may help you seal the deal. Letters of recommendation allow your recommender to offer insight into various details of your personality, challenges, talent, contributions, and experiences; that help validate what you have illustrated on your applications. For recommendations from teachers, look for those with whom you've had a good experience in an academic subject, who know you well, and who can vouch for your likelihood of academic success. Ask two teachers at the end of your junior year if they would be willing to write you a letter of recommendation. Some teachers may have a quota.
You should ask teachers who taught core courses such as (English, math, science, history or foreign language). Unless, you are applying to a specialized university program or major, in which your letter should be written by that specialized teacher. These letters do not have to be written by a senior teacher. They can and should be written by a teacher that knows you well and in which, you have had positive interactions.
Now with all that being said, the following expectations are what teachers and counselors expect from you:
EARLY Decision/EARLY Action Deadlines SEPTEMBER 23, 2016
- Meet the following deadlines, submit Letter of Recommendation Cover Letter and Brag Sheet.
REGULAR Admission Deadlines
—November 10, 2016
• If using an online application such as the Common Application, the Universal Application, or SENDedu. It is not okay to simply request a letter of recommendation online without having first asked a teacher or counselor prior to receiving an email invitation, if, they want to assist you with this requirement.
• It is courtesy to respect a teacher or counselor’s winter break and it should not be assumed that last minute request for letters of recommendation will be honored.
• If a letter of recommendation must be sent by mail, you must provide a stamped addressed envelope with specific instructions to your recommender.
I hope that this helps you to understand the value of a letter of recommendation and some common etiquette when requesting letters of recommendation.