When selecting teachers for recommendations, select one from the English/Social Sciences and one from the Mathematics/Science areas. It is always wise to help college admissions officers, to hear from those that have worked with you in different areas, showing how you have been able to learn skills in one area while applying them in another. For example, inference is generally covered in English and while used in this area, it is often a skill utilized also, in the Science arena. Selecting two teachers is generally enough. You can ask outside individuals to provide you with a recommendation letter that you can share with your guidance counselor, providing them as well, with that same information of how you send you time outside of the classroom. An example here would be perhaps the coach of a student that plays soccer with the town traveling team or maybe a Scout master. The more information you can offer your guidance counselor for their recommendation, the better.
Keep in mind that teachers are on a time line in regard to grades and mid-quarter reports. It is best to leave the teachers plenty of time to design their letter while not interfering with their completion of mid-quarter reports or, averages of grades for each quarter. You do not want your teachers to rush through what they write so be sure to leave them ample time.
Once you have decided which teachers to ask, have formulated a short resume and have asked them to actually write the letter, you need to ask your guidance counselor if you school uses Naviance. If your school does use Naviance, teachers will be able to upload your letter directly to their website allowing for duplicates for each college you are applying to. If you school does not use Naviance, you will need to provide each teacher with a self-addressed, stamped envelope for each college you are applying to.
4 Tips for Asking for Teacher Letters of Recommendation
During your high school years it’s helpful if you are a good student and stand out in some of your classes so that your teachers get to know you fairly well. Teachers may become more aware of your strengths and character if you ask them for assistance or advice regarding course work, or if they are an advisor in a school club that you are active in.
Here are four things to consider when asking teachers for letters of recommendation for your college applications.
1. Start Planning Before Senior Year
Don’t wait until your senior year to decide which teachers you want to write your letters of recommendation. As your junior year draws to a close, determine which of your teachers in your academic classes know you well. You may want to talk with two or three of those teachers before summer break to see if they would be willing to write a letter for you. If you are unable to talk with them before school ends, talk with them when your senior year begins. The more time a teacher has to write a letter, the better the letter can be. Remember, teachers are being asked for letters of recommendation by dozens of students. If you wait too long, they may be too busy to write a letter for you.
2. Inform Teachers of Your Activities
While teachers may be aware of your work in class and some school activities, it can be helpful, and will make their job easier, if you provide them with your resume or a list and description of your activities and other relevant information. You may also want to remind them of projects or other course work that you completed in their class. Provide the teacher with your GPA, and any awards or honors you have won.
3. Check in with the Teacher
Teachers are busy and are probably writing letters for many students. Make sure that you have provided the teacher with the deadline. It’s okay to check in to see if the teacher needs any additional information from you. Don’t pester the teacher, but make sure he or she has the task on their radar.
4. Thank the Teacher
Show your appreciation to the teacher who is writing your letter of recommendation with a hand-written thank you note and even a small gift such as a gift card or other small item. It’s even acceptable to thank the teacher before the letter is written to show how much you appreciate them.
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