HOW TO GET A LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION
There is a Word document at the bottom with specific information on what to write for a college letter of recommendation. For summer programs, please do not give me a folder or a transcript. I want a “blurb” about the program, why you chose it, what you want to do in the future, your current hobbies/experience related to program, etc. This writing should be given to me hard copy along with information on how the recommendation will be sent and when (email sent to me; send PDF letter; etc). Use the firstname.lastname@example.org address for emails and also provide me with your non-Schoolloop address.
When to ask Ms. O for a letter of rec Traditionally, letters of recommendations for college admittance are written by teachers a student has his/her junior year. Often Ms. O writes letters for colleges when a student is a TA, athlete, or tutor (a personal connection outside of sophomore chemistry). However, some universities have been specifically asking for two letters from science/math teachers. If this is the case, then it is o.k. for a sophomore teacher to write a letter. If a student feels he/she does not have a good option for a junior/senior teacher to write a letter (student has a difficult year or the teachers have too many letters to write, etc.), this would be another time that a sophomore teacher would be the right choice. More and more sophomores are electing to apply for summer internships and programs that require letters of recommendations. Ms. O asks that students only ask for a letter once in an academic year. She does not mind writing for more than one program in one sitting but finds it a burden for the same student to ask for something two, three, four times unless it is a follow up letter. Letters of recommendation for volunteer work are o.k. at any time. However, again, please come prepared. Ask me in person and have the paperwork ready.
A list of what to do for letters of rec Instead of the no-nos…try the YES-YESsss:
1. Ask the teacher in person for a letter of rec
2. Send an email before and/or after about the letter of rec so the teacher has a reminder and more details
3. Come prepared- know what type of letter, how it will be delivered, what specifics are to be addressed, due dates, addressed and stamped envelopes if required, etc.
4. If the teacher gives you guidelines for the letters (writing about yourself, putting a file together including transcripts, or whatever the requests are), follow them
5. Give the teacher plenty of time to write the letter of rec; politely check up if the due date is near and the letter has not been completed
6. Thank the teacher- large monetary gifts are not appropriate; a personal thank you; a card; an update on the status of what you applied for– just a sense that the time the teacher took is appreciated
A list of what not to do for letters of rec It is not in a teacher’s job description to write letters of recommendation. Most teachers are more than willing to write letters in support of students. However, here is a list of NO-NOs that I have experienced at Monta Vista:
1. Your parent should not be asking for a letter of rec for you
2. You should not add a teacher to Naviance without speaking with the teacher first
3. You should not ask every teacher for a letter and then go back and say “never mind” if you have more than enough teachers
4. You should not ask for a letter from many teachers and then not send some letters because you have enough
5. You should not ask a teacher for a letter of rec at the last minute (I’ve had several ask for a letter for the next day or over the weekend) nor ask for a letter without knowing exactly what the letter is supposed to address and other details Find the Document