How to Obtain a Teacher Letter of Recommendation
Which Teacher(s) do I Ask?
Colleges are looking for specific information about you in a teacher letter of recommendation that does not appear on the transcript or anywhere else in your application. Keeping this in mind, reflect on the following comments to determine who would be the best teacher to write a letter for you.
- Ask a teacher you had your junior or senior year (sometimes students ask teachers from freshman or sophomore year with whom they have had a continued mentoring relationship).
- Ask a math or science teacher if you are planning on majoring in premed, engineering, architecture or a science. Business majors may also want to ask a math teacher.
- Ask a fine art teacher in your area of discipline if you are planning on majoring in dance, music or fine arts.
- For all other majors, including undecided, ask a teacher who knows you well academically and who can answer the following questions:
- What distinguishes you from other able students?
- What kind of learner are you?
- Did you do any special projects for a class?
- Were you prepared and did you actively participate in class?
- Did you go above and beyond what was required of you?
- In short, what did you add to the classroom on a day-to-day basis?
After I Determine which Teacher, then What?
Ask initially in person then you MUST fill out a Teacher VITA form, or pick up a copy in the counseling center. You MUST give your recommenders at least 4 weeks notice before your first deadline. If your college uses an online recommendation format or you are applying with the common app, you need to double check with your recommenders that they have received the email requesting their recommendation.
How do I get my Counselors Recommendation?
Ask initially in person, then you MUST fill out a Counselor VITA form, same as Teacher VITA form, and your parent(s) fill out the Parent Brag Sheet, or pick up a copy in the counseling center. You MUST provide both to your counselor either by email or in person at least 4 weeks before your first deadline. If your college uses an online recommendation format or you are applying with the common app, you need to double check with your counselor that they have received the email requesting their recommendation.
If your letter needs to be mailed, provide a stamped, addressed envelope to your recommender(s) along with your request.
Please keep in mind that teachers have the right to cap the number of recommendations they agree to write so that they can do an excellent job on the letters they provide. Therefore, it is in your best interest to ask teachers and prepare your material for teachers early.
Provide a thank you note/card to your recommenders – it’s just good manners.