With spring break just around the corner and the end of junior year quickly approaching, it is time for juniors to start the process of asking teachers to write their teacher college recommendations to prepare for one of the requirements in the college application process.
Spring is also the time when each junior will meet with his or her counselor to review the timeline and expectations for each step. Counselors will reinforce the importance of the tasks each student must complete before the end of the school year and this includes asking teachers if they are willing to write their college recommendation.
Typically colleges and universities require a specific number of recommendations. Often they will accept more than the minimum requirement. This is why it is important to get a commitment from at least two teachers before the end of junior year. Juniors should be thoughtful about which teacher(s) to ask. If students already know their potential major, having a recommendation in that subject area should be considered.
Counselors may also recommend considering requesting a recommendation from a teacher to reflect a student’s accomplishments in both a STEM and language arts class.
According to CollegeVine.com, you want the teacher who writes your recommendation to be someone who thinks you are a great student and a great candidate for college and has some positive experiences with you that she or she can talk about. It’s important to form relationships with your teacher throughout the year and have them get to know you. You want a recommendation that comes from a teacher who knows what type of student you are, what your strengths are and what kind of person who are. “I asked Ms. Pykosh to write my rec because I have a good relationship with her and she teaches math so I thought she’d be a perfect teacher to ask for a rec from,” senior Molly Gleicher said.
Teachers are busy and they don’t get paid for writing letters of recommendation. It is a significant time commitment and they get requests from multiple students. Therefore, think ahead and make your request in a timely manner to ensure they can accommodate. Be polite and respectful in approaching each teacher and making your request.
Students may be nervous about asking teachers to write their recommendations. However, it does not need to be stressful. Think about the teachers who know you best and who you have formed relationships with. “Last year, I asked the week before spring break because I knew Mrs. Debnam would get many other student requests. I went to her classroom before school and asked if she would write it and she said yes. It was not as stressful as I thought it would be,” senior Jessie Grinspoon said.
Early in senior year or even during the summer months, it is important to follow up with each teacher you asked. Provide them details on if you are applying early decision or early action that would expedite due dates. Be clear on when your deadlines are. Don’t forget to thank your teachers for the time and effort they put into helping you in this important step of your college application process.