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NostalgicChills's avatar

College letters of Recommendation help, URGENT?

Asked by NostalgicChills (2774points) October 25th, 2012

People of Fluther, I am in desperate need of your help. I’m a senior in High School and I am also the first person in my family who is even applying for college. I had no idea how to do anything involving college applications but I got the help I needed. Now comes one of the last steps: College recommendation letters.
Oh boy. So, I looked up the process for one but it’s slightly confusing. I don’t know if you guys can open this link, but here it is.

What parts of this are necessary?
Do I send the letter? Or does my teacher send it? How many should I get?

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8 Answers

Mariah's avatar

Can’t open the link.

The necessary number of letters will probably differ from college to college. If you’re interested in a specific college, look up the info on how many they need.

Generally, students do not see their letters of recommendation. You have the option to waive the right to see it. It is recommended that you do waive the right, otherwise it appears to the college as though you’re unsure that your chosen person will write nice things about you.

I’m trying to remember, I think my teachers gave my letters to the guidance department at my high school and they did the sending? I can’t remember for sure. Do see your guidance counselor – their job is to help you with these sorts of questions!

marinelife's avatar

You can do it either way depending on what the application requires. I have done it both ways. If the person is supposed to submit the letter directly, you still need to ask them very nicely in advance if they would mind writing you a letter of recommendation. Then if the school contacts them directly, ask them what method of contact they would like used: email address or snail mail address.

If it is up to you to supply them with the necessary information, have copies made of all relevant info (instructions [sometimes the school gives directives about what they want the letter to include]; where and how to submit the finished letter; etc.) and have them ready to give to the people as soon as they say they are willing to do it.

Then ask them, again very nicely, to let you know when they have sent the letter. Offer them an SASE if they prefer mail. Once you get the receipt, a nice handwritten thank you note is in order.

DeanV's avatar

You need to make your link public on gdocs so we can all see it.

NostalgicChills's avatar

@DeanV How do I do that?

Seaofclouds's avatar

As the link says, it really depends on what the school you are applying to wants. I am getting ready to apply to grad school and some of the schools want my references to mail the letter directly to them while other schools have an online system they use. Is there a counselor at your school that can help you sort out what you need to do?

NostalgicChills's avatar

The school I’m applying to wants it mailed.

Fly's avatar

At my school, you provided the teacher that was writing the recommendation with an envelope that you have already addressed to the school and stamped. However, this may be different at your school. When you ask a teacher for a recommendation, ask them what you need to do. Or alternately, make an appointment with your guidance counselor and ask them about the procedure at your school. You should also ask the teacher 2+ weeks before the deadline as a courtesy and to make sure they have enough time to write the letter, since they are probably writing letters for multiple other students as well.

Individual schools will have different amounts of recommendations that they suggest/require, while others don’t give a requirement or suggestion at all. In the case of no guidelines, a general rule to go by is no more than two, and only get a second recommendation if you think a second teacher can offer additional insight or a different perspective.

Blonderaven's avatar

If you are using the common app (you can do this for most schools) this is pretty easy. First, log in to commonapp, select a school , and on the left hand side of the page select ’‘school forms” on the bottom of that page you will see how many recommendations you need.

One of those HAS to be your councilor so go to him/her first. She/he has probably done this a billion times before, and hopefully he will take care of his part or give you specific instructions. If not, just ask him nicely to write a recommendation and be sure to get his e-mail address. Then, go back to common app, and click ‘invite official’ You should see a place to put in the e-mail address.

Next, you should decide on teachers you feel know you well, and ask them super nicely to write you a recommendation. At my school, we are supposed to give them a sort of resume so they know what to write about, but in general I don’t think that is necessary or even recommended. Once you have enough teachers consenting to write nice stuff about you, go back to commonapp click ‘assign official’ (again) and fill in the addresses. For the teachers you will have to indicate the subject they teach.

If you have super duper reccommendors, all you will have to do is sit back and watch the acceptance letters role in. In reality, you should give your reccomendors a few weeks, then if they haven’t sent in the recommendation (you can see if they did on commonapp) visit them again and nicely remind them. rinse and repeat.

Finally you have to go to the bottom of the ‘school forms’ page click ’‘assign new teacher’” and add as many as you need.

If the school you want to apply to is not on the common app, there is probably pretty specific stuff on the school website (look under apply, future students, asmissions, or similar). If the school requires your recommendors to mail the recommendation in, it is customary and polite to give the teacher a pre-addressed envelope with a stamp already attached.

Best of luck! and remember that practically everyone wants you to go to college. Applications can be super stressful, so ask for help! Teachers, councilors, and friend’s parents can help you. (I know you said your parents didn’t go to college, but they may be able to help you for some parts, at least) They understand your situation better than a bunch of internet jellies.

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