Securing Strong Recommendation Letters
Get the inside scoop on how to secure the best possible recommendation letters.
2021-10-26 Securing Strong Recommendation Letters
[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar securing strong letters of recommendation. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation, then answer your questions in a live Q and a on the sidebar. You can download the slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q and a tab.
Now let’s meet our panelists. Hello guys. I’m Kevin. And as you can see from the slides, I’m from Northwestern university and I’m a freshman currently. And in terms of majors, I’m doing economics and policy kind of on a pre-law track. But, um, I’m pretty much like undecided so far too. So I’m still trying to figure out like what classes I want to take and what kind of career path I wanna go to.
But originally I’m from Colorado. And so some of my favorite things to do, it’s probably going. [00:01:00] Snowboarding and like rafting too. So a lot of outdoorsy stuff. So yeah, I think like, as far as me just being from Colorado in terms of that. Yeah. And also in some of the things I did in high school or soccer and debate too.
Alright. Well, thanks for that intro, Kevin. All right. Right now we’re jumping into our poll. What grade are you in?
Sorry, actually, uh, we have another, um, sorry about the confusion. We actually have another poll that we’re going to be asking instead for tonight. Um, what standardized tests are you planning to take? Um, so the sat, the act, the PSVT other AP exams, TOEFL other, or none.[00:02:00]
So Kevin, how are you kind of enjoying your classes this fall? What is maybe like when one or two of your favorite courses that you’re taking? Yeah, definitely for me, um, my favorite class would be intro to comparative politics. And in that class are basically studying like governments and democracies, like all across the world and the answer, like pretty like general questions in very specific ways.
So like we answer stuff like what is democracy? And we’ve been exploring that for like a whole month now. And we still don’t really have an answer, but yeah, we’re just kind of in that process of exploring general ideas and like going into like specific Selma. So I really enjoyed like the theoretical aspects of like poly psy in that course too.
I would say that’s my favorite course. So. Yeah. In terms of that too, like, um, the quarter system we have, we have a quarter system at Northwestern and so [00:03:00] everything feels really fast. Um, I just took my midterm, but we have another midterm in two weeks, so it’s like really fast paced, but it also allows me to take more classes.
So I have like better opportunities to really explore what I like next for my perfect. All right. So results are in from the poll. We have 57% coming in with the sat 26% with the act, um, 11% with AP exams and 6% with none. All right. So we’re just moving back to the presentation. Alright. Sounds good. All right.
So letter of recommendation. So the general idea of. But they are in the first place is it’s the letter that speaks on your behalf, but basically to the perspective of an outside source. So it’s like your college essays, your extracurricular descriptions, that’s, uh, you explaining yourself to your two admission officers, but this rec letter is like someone talking about you.
And so it’s through a [00:04:00] different perspective. And so it provides more insight about you, but through a third party, essentially, and the purpose is to help admission officers get a more complete visualization of yourself or of your applications. So, um, it’s a picture it’s like a piece of the puzzle that helps the mission.
Officers know who you are as a person, what kind of applicant you are. Yeah. And another way is like another purpose for extracurriculars is to check the authenticity or like the validity of your extracurricular description. So I’m a lot of. My, I know my guidance counselor too, wrote a lot about like my extracurriculars and what I’ve been doing.
And like how many, how many minutes and hours I’ve put into that, um, extracurricular. And so, yeah, that could also be a way to check, to make sure like your extracurricular descriptions are authentic and yeah. And also like it provides more of a holistic view of you as an applicant. So just by looking at GPA and test scores, those are you really just [00:05:00] numbers, but it doesn’t show you really like what kind of person you are.
It just shows that you were able to get all A’s and like maybe a good GPA, but it really doesn’t show you like who you are and what your personality traits are and how you will act like within the classroom among your peers. And so the, the regulators kind of fill that void in a sense, and that it provides just another clear picture of you and yeah.
And so in terms of importance to rec letters, like it’s not something that you should put off or like think, um, I think less about Jason mission officers, like more personal inf info about you and who you are as an applicant. And that kind of shows like it helps them visualize what kind of student you will be at their college.
And so when teachers talk about like how you acted in school, or like how you interacted with your peers, um, through those like anecdotes and letters from your high school teachers, colleges all then look and like visualize maybe like how you’ll be acting in their classrooms. If they accept you, I would say [00:06:00] those are the biggest thing.
That’s why direct letters are really important. Let’s go on to the next slide. And then, yeah. So the next question is like, who writes letters of recommendations? And so it’s pretty simple. There’s um, the ma the main people who write your essay or ratio rec letters, uh, teachers and guidance counselors. So usually your high school teacher.
But there are also possible writers too, that don’t have to be from your guidance counselors or teachers. And these are like kind of special circumstances, but it could be like a close sponsors. So if you created like a cooking club outside of like in your school and you have another teacher that you don’t have a class with, but it’s sponsoring your club, they can also write a rec letter for you, but it’s from like the perspective of a close sponsor.
So they can write about how, uh, how you facilitated this club and how you ran it. And also maybe it’s from someone like coworkers or people at your internships, you know, just people that work with you [00:07:00] for stuff you did outside of school, they can also write you rec letters that you can send to colleges.
And also, yeah, professors that you also conducted research with. So let’s say, um, you’re a biology major and you want to conduct research on animals there, you can reach out to other professors. And if you did research with. Um, and informed great relationship with these professors or other institutions.
Um, you can ask for a rec letter and that would also help your application to if you’re going into that field. And like, the things that I’ve listed so far is not, that’s not it, the list goes on, but these are the main people essentially are going to be writing rec letters. Yep. Let’s go on to the next slide.
And so this is like, I think the most important question, like who should I ask and like, who are the best teachers, right. For rec letters. And like, honestly, it really depends, but it could be better if it’s a teacher from junior year, just because they had [00:08:00] you like most recently, right. Transitioning into your senior year.
And ideally you want to ask for your rec letter as soon as you start really senior year. So like the golden standard, usually our teachers from junior years, but there are exceptions too. So it’s like, um, I know my teacher. One of my history teachers was actually my senior year teacher who, who wrote a lyric letter for me.
And so it doesn’t have to be from a junior and teacher. Like if you have, if you had a great relationship with your sophomore freshmen teacher, definitely ask them too. It really just depends. But like generally I would say junior year and the most people would say, um, teachers from your junior year and also on some common misconceptions is that like you don’t have, you don’t have to be the best student in your teacher’s class, or you don’t have to all A’s A’s in that class in order to get a great rec letter from that teacher, a teacher that can also like, write about your growth and like how you struggled in that class, but still preserved beard, uh, that can make for a great rec letter too.[00:09:00]
And so don’t feel as if, um, you have had to be like the best student in that class for your teacher to write you the best track. Um, because that’s not the case. Like, even if you have a B in the closer to C, even if you have like those like relatively low grades that are not in a, if you have a great relationship with that teacher, definitely ask them for a Reckler.
Yeah. So overall, like to summarize it, it’s the teacher that you vibe with the most or the teacher that you liked the most, honestly, those, those teachers you should be asking for records then too. All right. Um, when should you reach out to recommend them? So this is a time period. And I would say like, um, I don’t know how many seniors are in this on webinar, but like, you need to ask now, if you haven’t already, I would say for seniors, um, ideally you should ask, like once you enter school, especially if you go to a bigger public school where there’s a lot of kids, because there’ll be a lot of [00:10:00] kids asking the teachers for the rec letters.
So. I would say like, um, after junior year, summer. So when you’re entering, when you’re a rising freshmen, definitely us during that period as your juniors history is during that period in like, um, that’s not too early, too, but like, if you didn’t ask yet, that’s okay too. Just make sure, um, that you make it a priority, right.
To ask them because teachers can get teachers get a lot of recommendation letters like requests, and if they receive too many requests requests, like I’ve heard of instances where my friend said, like, I’m a really close teacher. Couldn’t write them a red letter just because they were overwhelmed with so many letters that they had to write.
So yeah. Just make sure on if you’re a senior and you haven’t done it already, I would say like, get that done right now. Like tomorrow when you go back to school, if you at school tomorrow. Yeah. For that. And if you’re a junior yeah. Yeah, just what I said earlier, like when you enter into freshmen, when you, when you become, when you enter a senior year, that’s when [00:11:00] you should be kind of asking like within that first week interval, but again, like, even if you haven’t asked, it’s not the end of the world, you still have time to ask.
Yeah. I would say would still, if I had to give a recommendation, that would be like the ideal time period to ask for your rec letter.
All right. Be able to pull. All right. Well, we’re here on the second pole. Uh, so where are you in the college application process? All right. So we’ll go ahead and start pulling for that, um,
question for you, Kevin, but it kind of slipped my mind just now. Um, oh yeah. What was your, what was your own experience when it came to, um, asking for recommendation letters and which teachers did you end up, you know, uh, reaching out to you for your applicant. Yeah. So, um, where the teacher said, I asked where my language arts teacher, my history teacher, both of my core teachers and my [00:12:00] language arts teacher, I had a really great relationship with, but also my friends told me, like my, my year above friends told me that she was, she really wrote rec letters really well.
And so I knew like that was one of the instances too, but we also were really close. So I made sure to ask her and actually, um, I’ll get to this later too. But my history teacher was actually my senior year. And I asked him for my rec letter very, very late into the college application process. I’ll get into it later, but yeah, so that’s one of the mistakes that I made and that’s why I want to strongly encourage you guys to never ever like wait that long to get your rec letters done.
Awesome. Uh, we look forward to hearing more of that story later on Kevin, the results are in, so we have 11% for a heaven started, uh, 56% for I’m currently researching schools. Uh, 15% are saying that, you know, I’m working on my essays, 11% of you, uh, you’re getting your application materials together. [00:13:00] And 6% of you said I’m almost done.
All right. Awesome. And we’ll continue on with the presentation.
All right. So the next one, the next thing that, um, regulators come with is a brag sheet, basically. And when you hear of a brag sheet on just think of it like a resume in a sense, and where it’s like you send this brag sheet to your recommend recommender in order to give them more info about yourself. So it’s basically, it’s a resume or list of your accomplishments, extracurriculars, or any information that can help your writer write more easily and more information about you then should like, it should include stuff like your interests, achievements, and extracurriculars generally, but you can also like talk about stuff like.
You can ask your teachers talk about stuff that aren’t on your application like that you can ask them to talk about how you were in their class as a student, or you can talk about, [00:14:00] you can ask them and talk about a certain experience or an event that happened in your class that showed a certain personality trait about you.
And so, for example, when I made my brag sheet, um, I asked my language arts teacher to write about like a presentation that I did in class, which like for like a creative writing piece. And yeah, I thought that just showed that like, um, in my application, um, I don’t know if I really showed like the creative aspect of me.
And so I kind of wanted to. Show the emission officers, my creative side through the rec letter by asking my language arts teacher to write about that experience where I think that I showed a little bit of creativity. And so, yeah, that’s, that’s kind of what the brag sheet does. And, um, it’s just a list of your ECS, your accomplishments, and then maybe at the end, just stuff that you want your teachers to talk about, really help them out with that process.
Um, more, the more information, the better. And, uh, the two, my teachers told me that my broadsheet really helped them just write more about myself just because I [00:15:00] really guided them on how I want, I wanted like my rec letter written in a sentence. Like I wasn’t just watching over their shoulder making sure like, like, uh, they wrote what I wanted them to, but I sort of like guided them in a way in which I kind of set the path for them.
And then they just wrote like, based on that, but yeah, I would say. That’s the importance of a brag sheet too. It’s like, don’t, don’t just ask them for a rec letter and then leave them in the dust. Right. Your teachers make sure you give, uh, give them some sort of guidance on how to write about you and your rec letter.
Yeah. Sounds good. Content, next slide. Yeah. I think you kind of cover this with like the fundamental aspects and like what makes a brag sheet great is that it shows like it lists all the colleges that you’re applying to and their deadlines. So, um, remember the teachers have a lot of stuff to do, right?
Especially, um, if a lot of kids are asking them for rec letters, so make sure you make the deadlines [00:16:00] clear for all the colleges so that they don’t fall behind. And even if you do give them the deadlines, it doesn’t mean that they’ll meet it. Right. So constantly check in to make sure that they’re on good pace through, uh, finishing your rec letter and again, yeah, just achievements, extracurriculars.
And maybe like your intended major, if you put some of those things down, your teachers can talk about how, like, how you as a student and some experiences that they had with you would make you a great person for this major, like major. And so those are some of the things you could write about too. And an interesting thing that I wrote about, like I put on my brag sheet was like favorite memories that I had with teachers and like, um, to kind of like get my teachers thinking about like some of the memories that we had together and like some of the things that they could write about my personality in this rec letter.
And also any strikes, like any things that you think were left out on the obligation, in a sense, [00:17:00] like, if you didn’t get to talk about like how you are a great writer, maybe your team, you can ask your teacher to write about like, uh, your writing skills and vice versa. And so things like that will also help your rec letter.
And then other than that, like there’s no list really, or like guidelines for what you need on here. Just any information that you think will help your recommendation, recommenders write their letter. You can just put on there. So yeah, just making sure you guide them well throughout this process, just so they have a sense of what you really want them to write on your rec letter sheet.
Sounds good. Let’s go to the next one. Okay. So the big question is how do recommend their submit, submit these letters to colleges? And like essentially there are two weeks, the first way is through common up, which is the basic way. And if you’ve gone to commoner, there’s a section called the recommended recommenders and F E R sex.
And that’s going to be in the school. Like if you click into [00:18:00] school, it’s going to be in the, my colleges tab. And then from there, if you go into that section, you can add the emails of your recommended recommenders in each of these schools. So what happens is you put in these emails and then college board will send out these emails to recommend recommenders.
And these in your recommended recommenders will submit their letter through college board. And that’s how it kind of heard through common up. And that’s how it happens there. So you put their email in comment up and then comment up, we’ll send an email to them and then they will upload their rec letter to comment.
And then that’s how you get the common apps, like set basically how you get the recommenders to submit their letters. And the second way, which was the way I did it for my school is through the audience. So, um, for nonviolence, it’s a thing where it’s like, you’ll only do it. If your school. Tells you to do it this way.
So it’s like something that’s done at school, but for non the, you’re going to connect with common up first. So there’s a [00:19:00] section where you link Naviance and common out together. And if you like, it’s not a very terribly difficult process. If you search it up online, there’s like a bunch of YouTube videos telling you how to, but, um, yeah, you just connect Nagi on.
So with common at first, and then it’s a similar, it’s the, basically the same process after that, you will add your recommended, recommended via email and then to your noggins account. And then they should be able to upload their rec letters to call just through an audience. But all like, if you have any questions too, like throughout the process, or if you can’t see where you recommend recommenders submitted, it always ask your counselor, your guidance counselor, because they will know, um, they’re your college, college counselor, because they will always know like how to submit these letters.
And if you have any questions, they should be your first go-to to make sure that you’re doing this process correctly.
Yeah. So the next question is like, um, how do you know, like, as soon as you submitted the [00:20:00] email and you send the request, but how do you know if they submitted it? The first way through common app is if you go into the college’s application, click on recommender, and when you click on there, it will say completed or not started.
So obviously like completed means like your teachers submit the rec letter. And if it says not started, that means, yeah, they just haven’t submitted their letter yet. So that’s how you can kind of tell. And the second way is if you submitted your application or your like you’ll initially get an email or a notification from the audience when your teacher has submitted to letter.
So it’s been a week since you asked and some say submitted, but you don’t see the notifications. That means something went wrong and you can also go onto your profile. And the audience. And then from there you can scroll through and see what letters have been submitted for what school invites. And also again, like if any complications arise, like go to your chancellor at that tier number one resource [00:21:00] in making sure that everything is running smoothly.
And I’d say that’s the most, that’s how you can tell in early if your application has been, if your recommendation letters have been submitted.
And so yeah, this part is more about the significance of rec letters and like how it can help your application. And the first way is it’s a tiebreaker. I put type it’s a tie breaker. If you’re competing against an applicant with similar test scores and GPA GPA, right? So if there’s another kid from your school or from your state where they have the same exact test score, it’s test scores and GPA.
How they determine, like if all other factors are the same, how they distinguish who to accept and who to reject it’s through the rec letter, because again, the regulator offers a perspective about who you are. And so if you’re tied in one rec letter is really enthusiastic about you, but the all direct letter is not so enthusiastic, then the person [00:22:00] with the better rec letter will be, or is going to probably be accepted.
And considering that all other factors are the same. And also, yeah, it can boost your application by providing you with more of a holistic view of your application. So essentially it’s like a mini essay in a way as in that it’s another source of a holistic part of your application that shows another aspect of you.
And it really helps colleges like visualize what type of student will you be in the classrooms at our college and will he, will he, or she would thrive here in this environment. That’s what they’re really trying to, um, Gage when they look at these red quarters. Also another thing is that it can also act as a substitute for when interviews aren’t available.
This, I didn’t really know until when I was applying to, but some colleges like duke and Northwestern could provide an interview for everyone. And so for duke in Duke’s instance, because I [00:23:00] wasn’t offered an interview. And so what they did, what they said was that if you’re not giving an interview, what you can do is you can send a rec letter instead.
And that could like kind of serve as your interview. And the same thing was with Northwestern too. So they initially said they couldn’t provide me with an interview. So I said like, I would just submit another rec letter to make up for that interview that I couldn’t have. And so that’s what I learned.
That’s another aspect that would rec letter that you could use. So if you have more than two, definitely like think of sending it, if you think it adds another aspect or another perspective about. And then, yeah. Other than that, overall, it just elaborates on your personality at the end of the day. Like these emission officers aren’t robots, right?
They’re not, there’s not like a formula for if you’ll get accepted or not. So if you have, like, if your teachers write about your personality well, and like who you are as a student, you’ll come off as a likable person and that in, that will help your application as a whole,[00:24:00]
like 14. And then, yeah. So the next question is, is that like, can a value rec letter hurt you and like to be Frank? Yeah. Like it will hurt you if you have a bad rec letter, right? Like, um, It’s not like it’s not like something you can change in a sense that like, if you like thought you had a good relationship with a teacher, but they give you a bad wreck letter, it will, it will hurt you your application to extent.
So the first thing I would say is like, make sure that your teacher, that you ask your Reckler for, you know, isn’t a teacher that like you got in trouble with a lot of times, or like, uh, maybe he were talking too much in the class and like, you know, it happens sometimes don’t ask that teacher for a rec letter, just in the case of a possibility that like they could mention it.
But I would also say like, to a certain extent, trust your teachers. Like, I think most teachers want you to succeed most. So it really depends on like what school you go to, I think, [00:25:00] and like what type of teacher you want. But like, I think maybe most teachers like wants you to succeed. And so like, they’ll, they won’t purposely.
Most teachers won’t prove to see, try to hurt your application by writing bad rec letters. But it is a possibility. And honestly, those things you can’t really control, right? So it’s not like it’s something, it’s not something you should lose, sleep over. And as long as you have like a great relationship with your recommended recommended it shouldn’t hurt your application.
And, um, also like a teacher that’s maybe bad at writing, like maybe a math teacher that won’t hurt your application to get there. It’s just like, um, something that happens. Right. So, yeah. As long as like there’s nothing negative, like, um, this kid like fought with another student, um, at my school, as long as there’s no notes like that, it shouldn’t really like change your application as a whole.
Sounds good. But at the end of the day, like once you ask a rep recommenders, unless you waive your right to see it, [00:26:00] like you won’t be able to see it. And so it’s better to like, not lose sleep over it and just worry about the stuff that you can change, like your essays and extracurricular descriptions.
And so some of my experience with rec letters, like I would say is that like a counselors are a human Sue. And so like, they will make mistakes and like they’ll accidentally, um, like making mistakes part of your application, right? Like sending too many red clutters or like not sending red letters on the deadline.
So I would say from my experience, um, my counselor, I think accidentally sent like six different rec letters to one college and yeah. Um, that was catastrophic. Yeah. So making sure. Make sure you’re clear with their counselor on what rec letters you want to be sent. And I think that was partially my fault too.
Like getting rec letters from six different people. But yeah, I don’t think it helped my application when the initial officer just lost six letters in my application. [00:27:00] So yeah, it definitely make sure, but you’re communicating really well with your counselor and then, yeah. And also like some other experience was that because of COVID I did not know who my counselor was, guidance counselor was until my senior year.
And so like to make up for that, if any of you are really in that similar case, like just go in to see them every day. That’s what I kind of did on my counselor. Just had like. In their room. And so I would just stop by grab candy and then like, just ask her how her day was literally it doesn’t, you don’t have to have like a profound question or a question about your application in order to strike up a conversation.
Right. Um, I don’t really like, I’m pretty introverted, I think, but like, like, uh, because I’d never like met my counselor like that because of COVID I really had to force myself to strike up a conversation with her and I would encourage you guys to do the same, like maybe it’s for your teachers where, um, after class you can pretend like you had a question about your homework or something, and then just start a conversation through that, or just ask them [00:28:00] how their day was just striking up.
Like small conversations can lead. It’s like the building block that leads up to like great relationships. So yeah, I would say definitely do that. And then, yeah. So the experience that I was talking about earlier, where I asked my history teacher for the rec letter only, it was really bad, but I realized like very, very little.
That the two rec letters I needed were from core teachers. So core class teachers, which is math, science, math, science history, or like language arts, but one rec letter was from my language arts teacher. But the other was actually from my like, um, Doby teacher, but he’s not like a core teacher, so he couldn’t count.
And so all my colleges were like sending me emails, telling me that like my application was incomplete. And then, so like during winter break during Christmas, actually I contacted my teacher on Christmas day asking him if he could write me a rights letter. And thankfully he did. So he, so my history teacher literally wrote my rec letter on Christmas [00:29:00] and I felt really, really bad.
Like, um, I just can’t imagine him just, it still haunts me to this day where I could just imagine them, like not spending time with his family and just writing my rec letter on Christmas day. So yeah, don’t be like me, make sure you really know the requirements or like what red letters you need to be done.
So, yeah, I definitely don’t do that. Say that’s the number one thing. All right. Yeah. For that. Yeah. And I mean like some last advice that I would give recommendations is that yeah. Like teachers are humans too, so it’s like, they’ll make mistakes and like, they’ll forget about your deadlines. So make sure you’re like checking in with them once in a while.
Don’t come in every day and ask them like how they’re doing on their rec letters. Cause that will just ignore them. But you know, if the deadline is in a month, maybe ask them like every two weeks, how it’s going or just casually try to bring it up. That’s what I kind of did just because some of my teachers like, um, weren’t able to write it on time.
So yeah, just casually, maybe [00:30:00] like twice a week is ask them how, how they’re doing and ask them if you can help them in any way with more information that that’s the best way. So don’t be like, Hey, like, have you finished my rec letter? Just be like, Hey, is there any way I could help you write your rec letter?
Any other information that you need? It sounds less like aggressive in a way I’d say and less confrontational. So definitely approach it that way. And also, yeah, in terms of like relationship building, even if you don’t have a question or like a concern staff, their class to talk with your teacher, just ask them how their day was or anything like that.
And then also the thing I think is like the biggest tip is like, worry about the things you can control. Like it’s a waste of your brain power and like calories to like, stress about something that’s out of your control. So I had like this irrational fear of like, what if, like, what if my language arts teacher like mentions the time I almost knocked over her bookshelf?
Like, I was like paranoid. I was like, oh no, like what if that comes up? Or like, what if they say something bad about me? But like, at [00:31:00] the end of the day, like most teachers wants you to succeed. And like, even if they do, like, you can’t change anything about it. So you might as well just not worry about it.
And so it’s like, I think that’s the number one thing. Even after you submit your application, don’t stress about like the decision that I did that and like, this is not good for my mental health. Like, I feel like I was more stressed after I submitted my application, just waiting for the results. So it’s like only worry about the things you can control, like your essays or your GPA after they submit your rec letter.
Just don’t worry about it anymore. And then again, like the earlier you S the better kind of, so don’t be like me and asked during Christmas, just always, always, always strive to ask some earlier also. Yeah. Um, well, as I said, for like the brag sheet, um, don’t be afraid to like, kind of like, in a way, like guide it slash instructor teachers on how you want your, um, letter to be written.
So it’s like, if you want them to talk about this aspect before it, you know, they would appreciate it because they [00:32:00] then have like a better idea of what you want them to write about. Yeah.
All right. Perfect. Um, so that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful and remember that you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab. Uh, so moving on to this live Q and a, uh, we think the questions you submitted in the Q and a tab, uh, I’ve already pasted some of them into the public chat, um, and then a week more loud for everyone.
Uh, Can, you know, so the panelists can give you an answer and as a heads up, if you’re a Q and a tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, just double-check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page. All right. So we’ll go ahead and get started.
Um, so, um, Kevin, can you ask at the end of junior year, and [00:33:00] then, so can you ask a teacher at the end of junior year for a rec letter and then follow up in the fall? Yeah, I don’t, yeah, that’s a great question. I don’t think he can hurt. Right. So like, I think that’s a pretty good idea just to keep it a mind in the back of the minds of the teachers side, where it’s like, Hey, like end of junior year, maybe don’t give them your brag sheet yet.
Right. But maybe it’d be like, Hey. Um, after the summer comes, you write my rec letter, just like trying to have a casual conversation. And if they say, yes, that’s great. And, um, don’t give it to them over the summer. But like after summer break and after you become a senior, maybe then you can give them like the brag sheet and everything.
But like, if you really want to start early, I don’t think you’ll hurt either. So if you do want to like, make your brag sheet and like, because your extracurriculars can change senior year, right. Or like a lot of the extracurriculars that I did were during junior year of summer. So like when I was a rising senior.
So like, those things might be left out if you do anything [00:34:00] junior summer of like rising senior year. But if not, like, I guess you could like, it wouldn’t hurt to ask them earlier, but just like, keep in mind that like, you might do some extra curriculars there’s some activities could come up that you could put on your brag sheet.
And so like, just make sure you continually update them. If you do ask them, uh, junior year after year, Okay. All right. How many teachers have recommendations? D how many teacher recommendation letters do you need? Yeah, so, um, like most schools too, from core teachers. So I saw a question on the Q and a to ask him what core teachers are, the core teachers, our science, math, language, arts, and history, like the humanities a little bit, and like stem.
Those are like core classes. So classes that wouldn’t be core classes are like choir debate, like swimming, any, any class like that. That’s like not science, math history or language [00:35:00] arts. And so usually schools asked for two rec letters from core teachers and they have. Um, you can send in supplemental rec letters from like internships or coworkers, but it all depends on the school too.
Some schools want like four, three. So I can’t give you a direct answer because I don’t know which schools you want to apply to. So I would say if a quick Google search would able to, like, we’ll be able to like, answer some of your questions, just put in your college and then like how many regulators does Northwestern require and then it should pop up pretty easily, but generally too, but not two for every school.
So definitely make sure you search it up. And an additional here is, um, in addition to Google, uh, you should also be able to see what the college requires via the common application. So when you actually highlight the college tab, uh, should show you what all they’re requesting as well or requiring for their application via the common app.
So either way we’re a Google or a common app. [00:36:00] Um, how important is it to get letters of recommendation from stem teachers versus non stem teachers, if you are applying for stem major? Yeah, that’s a great question. And so like, if you’re going to be doing stem, like it would be great if you’ve got a rec letter from like your stem teacher or your math teacher.
So getting red letters from, um, classes or teachers that are related to your major would be like some sort of a boost too. But I would say like, if you have a great relationship with your history teacher, don’t not ask him for a rec letter just because he’s not like he’s not a teacher that teaches your major class.
Right. So it’s like, it depends really, but like, it definitely is beneficial. If you get a rec letter from a teacher that is related to your major, but that would be a big plus, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of like, uh, not choosing someone who you had a great relationship. Is it okay to complete a Le a letter of recommendation for yourself and ask your [00:37:00] teacher to sign off on it?
Um, I would say no, because I’m like, it might seem like a unique thing to do, but like a lot of kids do it, honestly. Like some teachers will even be like, you write it and then I’ll sign off on it. But college admission officers can tell, um, like they there’ll be, I think there’ll be like most emission officers, like really advise against it, advise against it.
So that’s, I would say that’s a huge, no Capitol case. No. Um, yeah. If a teacher does ask you this, tell you to do that, like, just read it for yourself. Um, maybe ask another teacher, but I would say like, um, I wouldn’t say like, it’s clear because they’re reading your common up essay too. And your supplementals it’s clear if you wrote it yourself and then have your teacher write off on it.
Alright. Uh, the Brack list just goes to my recommender, right? Not to the school. I am applying to[00:38:00]
the brag list. Only goes to my recommender, right? Not to the school that I’m applying to. Yeah. Yeah. Your brag list will only go through your recommend recommender, not to your school. Alright. Is there a limit to the number of references? I can submit it. Okay. Actually, this kind of mirrors the question from before.
So I’ll find another one. Um, can you ask at the end of junior year, wait, that’s the same one, sorry, one second. It doesn’t matter what subject teacher that we get a recommendation from. Yeah. Like kind of like going off of that previous question, it does matter to a certain extent. So like, if you’re going to major in history, like having a rec letter from our history teacher would be.
But like, it shouldn’t matter too much. If you have a really great relationship with that, I can speak on like some skills that you need for all majors, right? Like, um, maybe your teacher can speak on your behalf for your critical thinking skills, no matter what major you are, you [00:39:00] need critical thinking skills.
So it’s like, that could also speak to your major too. So, and us in CS, like it does matter to a certain extent, but having a great relationship is stronger than just being like, yeah. Perfect. Um, how do colleges Inforce FIRPA yeah. Verba is like the real requiring that, like, we don’t look at it. Right. Like when the teacher’s ready for the next, so yeah.
On, they don’t enforce it. So it’s like, um, you can like, you waive your right, right. Um, to look at it. And so like, technically you’re not allowed to look at your rec letter, but. I don’t, I don’t think they actually enforced that. That would be kind of hard too, but like, I would say, like, just don’t look at it and like trust your teachers.
Um, yeah, it’s like a moral question. I would say. I think it’s like, um, they don’t enforce it, but should you, and it’s just based on more probably I guess, at this point in [00:40:00] ethics. So it’s like, I know like it’s really stressful, right? Like, um, I was petrified to, even though I had a really great relationship with my teacher, I was like, what does she mentioned this, this, so like I talked over her one time because you’re traveling.
So yeah. Like those things come to mind, but at the end of the day, like, I don’t think they will. And like, but yeah, to answer your question directly, they can’t enforce it. Like, it would be pretty hard to enforce that rule. Yeah. Awesome. Can sports reckless? Yeah, definitely like, um, that would be like the supplemental, uh, rec letter.
Right? So it’s like that’s in the category of like research. Uh, coworkers or internship people, but yeah, definitely. If you have like a great relationship with your sports coach, definitely get them to write you a rec letter. I had the soccer culture, right. And their athletic too. So yeah. That’d be a great addition to all right.
Well the recommendation letter to me, or will [00:41:00] they submit it directly to school and if they submitted directly to the school, how will I know they have submitted the rec letter? Yeah. So, um, they won’t submit it to you because you’ll, if you waive your right and most people waive their right. But yeah. Um, they won’t, there’ll be sending it directly to the school in terms of like, how you’ll know is if you submit it through the audience, you’ll get a notification.
And if you go into your profile for Navi and so you can see like the list of your schools and the rec letters and whether they’ve been sent or not in terms of common app, if you go into the recommend recommender section, Uh, and click on their email, right? It will she’ll pop up, like whether it’s sent or not started, if it’s not started, it means they haven’t submitted it yet.
Then you could also just ask them to, they submit it to the, it comes to that.[00:42:00]
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Um, if I have a common app and audience, which one should I submit the letter of recommendation first? Uh, yeah. So if you have both and it depends on your school, so I don’t think you can have both in the sense that like you’ll only use Navi on-site if your school does it. So ask your counselor, ask your counselor, if you should, if they use, if your school uses Naviance or common app, and then she’ll be able to give you a clear [00:43:00] answer, but like there’s no need to submit it through both mediums.
Like you own, you choose one or the other. There is no both, so yeah, but, uh, someone who can answer that question better than me as your counselor is Aslan and they’ll know which way that you need to submit it. Alright. Um, do you teach your spin the same letter to all of your. Yeah. So if you get a rec letter from someone that rep letter will go to all the colleges you applied to, so they don’t have to write a different letter for different colleges.
Thank you. Um, is the letter of recommendation in Brack sheet? The same thing, if not, what is the main difference? Yeah, so the brag sheet is the tool that helps your rec letters write your rec recommendation letter. So it’s basically like an outline that you give to your teachers so that they can write a strong letter of recommendation.
And your brag sheet does not get sent to colleges only your rec letter. So it’s like, yeah, basically [00:44:00] just think of your brag sheet as an outline, like your resume that you would give to your teachers. And they use that outline the teachers use that, outline the information on that brag sheet to write your rec letter.
And the only thing that’s going to be sent to colleges is the rec reckless. All right. Do retro owners need to be specific to each school or generic? So the same letter can be used for multiple schools. Yeah. Um, it depends on what you want. So, um, for like for Northwestern, I really wanted to go here. So I asked my counselor to write a specific letter just for Northwestern and then like have another generic letter ready.
So like, um, if your teachers have the time or like maybe your counselors have the time, you can ask them to write a specific rec letter for one college. And then with general rep letter that they can give every other college. I would say that, but like mostly, yeah, most of the time your teachers will write it generically so that you can use one rec letter for all this colleges that you [00:45:00] applied to Kevin is, um, is a foreign language teacher considered a core class teacher.
Uh, no, but yeah. Uh, now for foreign language teachers, aren’t considering core core core teachers. So they would just have to be math, science, language arts, or history, but it would be a great like supplemental, um, supplemental letter of recommendation. Right. So, yeah. All right. Um, how does the letter of recommendation process work on the common app?
Do the teachers see the schools you were attending to, uh, are they given a link or website to submit the letter of recommendation that connects with the common app? Yeah. So when you put their email in the common though, they’ll just send them a link where they can just upload their essay or the rec letters essentially.
And then the other part of the question was like, um, they, do they see what colleges that they’re sending the regular to? Yeah, they do. And they’ll also be on your brag sheet too, so yeah, they will essentially. [00:46:00] Okay. Um, can you get a rec letter from 11th or 10th grade teacher? How much will it weigh compared to a 12th grade teacher?
Yeah. Yeah. Like, um, shoot for the junior year teacher, 11th grade teacher. But again, like if you had great relationships with even your freshman year teacher, like go for that and set, if you, if you think the relationship that you have looks better, uh, there wasn’t, there’s not, it’s not weighted. So it’s like the admission officers won’t go through and see like, oh, if it’s a, from a 12th grade teacher, it’s more valuable than from a ninth grade teacher.
That’s not the case. So, um, essentially it doesn’t matter, but if you don’t know what she should have, go for it, go to G go to a junior teacher just because they remember more about, but in terms of weight, it doesn’t matter at all. Okay. All right. Uh, what kind of details can we ask? And the recommendation letter specific to a.
Yeah. So I, I’m assuming it’s talking about the brag sheer, right? Like some of the information that can be put on there, [00:47:00] I’m thinking. Yeah. So it’s like, like all your, like, essentially we talked about like all your ECS or accomplishments and like, but also like what you want them to talk about in your rec letter.
So like any personality traits that you want them to write about, maybe your favorite memories, that show who you are as an applicant, stuff like that, we’ll go on like the brag sheet. And then that can be transferred over to the red player, which the colleges will say. Um, if the school asks for two required recommendations, one counselor and one teacher, but you can get up to three additional teachers.
Do you do that yourself through the common app? If your school is doing required Rex through Naviance? Yeah. Yeah. So if your school is doing it through an audience, I can speak on this views. We use all the guns to. No, like just supplemental ones will also be submitted through an audience too. So just, um, let your teachers know that you want to [00:48:00] send supplemental rec letters and then like you will have to submit it again through an obvious, not coming up.
If you use an audience for the first two rec letters. Yeah. All right. Uh, this is another good question. If at school I’m applying to doesn’t require it, any recommendation letters, um, should, uh, lost it, uh, is it bad to not send any? Yeah, so I think it, it depends on the wording. So if it’s like, if they say a rec letter is optional, I would say send it like, in my opinion, whenever you call, just say optional, I don’t think it’s really optional, but yeah.
But if it’s not required, Um, it wouldn’t be okay. Right. Cause they said it’s not required. And I don’t think colleges are trying to trick you. Right. If they really wanted a rec letter, they would just say they want a rec letter or make it mandatory. But yeah, if it’s not required, you don’t have to. But I guess like if you have a really great read clutter, it shouldn’t hurt.
If you send it just [00:49:00] don’t send it. If they strongly encourage you not to send it direct letter, or if they explicitly say that they don’t want, they don’t want to recommend a Johnson, the red letter. And so your question, all right. Um, if I want to go into engineering, which teachers should I ask to write a letter of recommendation?
Yeah. Uh, first, first thing, any teacher that you have the best relationship with second would be for engineering, like stem stuff. So math science. AP calc BC, AP chemistry teachers, any advanced classes like that, like I would say so any STEM-related classes, but the first, the first benchmark is like any teacher you have the best relationship with.
All right. Um, can you get a letter of recommendation from a teacher who no longer works at your school? Uh, yeah, you can’t. Um, you would just have to talk to your counselor to do that. I also did, but you also talked to your counselor or if they’re not a part of the school anymore, you can just send them [00:50:00] an email through a common app, like through recommending of person, like what we talked about, the process or common up, you can just do the same thing there and, uh, put their email in and then common apple sent them an email.
Alright, perfect mess. I have a good relationship with a teacher before asking them. I don’t know, my junior year teachers, because we never actually met in person or talk outside of zoom and my senior teachers, I only know a little bit. Oh yeah. Okay. Um, yeah, I guess that’s like an interesting question because, um, if you don’t know him well, right.
It’s going to be hard to ask them. And even if they do say yes, like they’ll know a lot about you. So I would say some things that you can do is you can still ask them, right. If you’re running kind of out of options, just trying to be on your best behavior and maybe like starting tomorrow in your case, like come see them after school or like, just talk with them.
But yeah, like if that’s the case, like yeah. Get the rec letter from them, even if you don’t know too much about [00:51:00] him or you can, the other option is you could like try to get to know your senior teachers better. Like I did. So it’s like, because I still needed a direct letter on Christmas day. Like I made sure.
You know, like make a really good relationship with my senior year teachers. So that’s the second option you could do is like, yeah, just ask your junior year teacher for it or starting tomorrow, you know, at school you can strive to make better relationships with your senior year so that they can write a rec letter and then next week or two.
Yeah, that’s what I would say. Okay. Um, next question is common app and I’ll be honest, the only two ways for a teacher to submit the letter of recommendation. Um, I think so. Yeah. Like those are the two mainstream ways. Uh, I never really saw. And you and I heard about anyone using any other means system, but yeah, I think so.
I can’t really answer that question. Well, I think just because I’ve never heard or [00:52:00] seen anyone submit their rec letters through a means other than common often common app and audience. But you can like if you use a coalition app, right. It’s the same process, but it’s just through the coalition that, or applied Texas, it’s the same process, but just through the ApplyTexas application.
Okay. Uh, if you need two teachers from core subjects, can both be from the same department, say the science department. Yeah. I don’t think that should hurt. Right. And making sure you guys understand too, like some colleges don’t care if they’re not from core teachers. So make sure you look into that too.
So all my colleges required a two core class letters of recs, right. Um, that might not be the case for other schools. So make sure you do your research before, like you send your rep letter. Some colleges might only need one from core teachers or zero. Maybe it doesn’t matter for other colleges. So make sure you look into that first, but yeah, if you get a rec letter from two different science teachers, I don’t think it should matter [00:53:00] that much.
Right? Like it’s the same rec letter and it’s not like it’s the same exact class. So there’s different aspects of you that they can talk about. All right. Um, is there any way for teachers to see which colleges you’re applying to? Uh, yeah, that would be on your brag sheet. So on your brag sheet, put down all the colleges that you’re applying to and the deadlines and that’s how your teachers would know.
What if, what if I don’t want my teachers to see which colleges is that a oh yeah. If you don’t want your teachers to see what colleges just give them the deadline, I would say it’d be like, um, yeah, don’t put down what colleges you’re applying to, but just the dumb, the deadlines of the colleges that you want to go to.
And the deadlines, the rec letters need to be something. Um, for those of us who don’t have school counselors, uh, say some schools outside the U S can our principal function as a replacement. Um, yeah. Um, if you’re at school, does know a counselor, [00:54:00] um, it might be better for you to just throw it to common up.
Right. I think like that’s more individualistic, but yeah, common app is probably the best way, but yeah, definitely ask your principal too. I know some international friends here who said, like they weren’t able to submit their letters through their principal because they didn’t have like a huge student body.
And so the principal kind of acted as their guidance counselor. Now, I don’t know if that’s the same case for this person, but yeah, definitely. You can definitely ask your principal and you could, and he, or she could definitely send it to, um, kind of going back to the, um, the previous part of this question.
She had your brag sheet list, all the colleges you were applying to. Or only the ones that your teacher is writing the rhetoric, the writing, the rec letter for yeah. Um, it doesn’t matter, I should say. So like, again, like if you’re like the other person who asks the question, like, and you don’t want them to know what colleges you’re applying to just give them the deadlines or just give them the names of the colleges that you want their rec letter to be [00:55:00] sent to.
But yeah, on your brag sheet, I would say like, if you don’t, if you’re only going to send these rec letters to certain schools, just put down those certain schools. Yeah. Don’t wait, put down a bunch because I think that would just be unnecessary in a sense, but you can, if you want, but I don’t think it’ll matter at the end of the day.
All right. Thank you. I’m already graduated. Let’s say for those who maybe might be taking a gap year or something like that, Yeah. Sorry, could you repeat your question? I think, I think it cut off for a second. Yeah. Sorry about that. Can I ask my teacher to write my recommendation letter after I have graduated from high school?
Like let’s say maybe that’s it’s I’m assuming that maybe this is a student that’s considering a gap year or something like that, right? Yeah. Yeah. Definitely ask, ask like your teacher maybe stay in touch with them. Right. If you’re taking these just to like remind them that you’re still there and that you may need a rec [00:56:00] letter in the future.
So yeah. Just stay in contact with them. But yeah, it’s not like forbidden, you know, you can definitely do it. It’s a good question too. Um, uh, to be clear, all teachers that teach subjects outside of the core, uh, courses that you spoke about, uh, they will be considered supplemental recommendation letters, correct?
Uh, yeah. Yeah. Like only if the colleges require you to submit to from core teachers. So it’s like, yeah. Anything else would be like supplemental. Yeah. But again, like, um, do your own research first, certainly colleges that you’re applying to some on some schools don’t care if they’re from, for teachers, like there’s not a requirement.
So if that’s the case, like there are no such thing as core rec letters and supplementals. Right. Because it doesn’t matter. But for some schools like Northwestern where they require two from core [00:57:00] teachers then yeah. Um, anything else that isn’t from a core teacher would be supplemental rec letters. Okay.
Um, if I have, um, if someone has like a research professor, uh, maybe some type of research program, someone said, if I have a professor, could I ask them for a letter of recommendation? Can someone ask a person that’s already teaching at a higher education institution for a recommendation letter? Yeah, definitely do it.
Do it, do it, do it because I think that would help your application a lot. Right. Especially if you’ve worked with some professor and like maybe you did research related to your major too. I think that’d be a strong way to boost your application. Yeah, definitely. Um, if they’re willing to, yeah, they can definitely write one in summit when for you.
All right. I think we have time for just one more question. Um, so I’m trying to find one that doesn’t mirror, all the ones that have [00:58:00] been asked before. Um,
Um, Yeah. A lot of these, yeah. All of these pretty much. You’ve already kind of answered in some way, shape or form. So, uh, Kevin, if maybe if you could just end us off with just kind of last reminders, well, people, if you want, you know, what do you want people to take away, uh, the most from your webinars tonight?
If they can only remember kind of one to three things, what are the most important things for them to kind of walk away with remembering? Yeah. Um, the regulars are underrated. They matter a lot, so make sure you don’t slack off on those. They’re important. And also, um, so human, like they can miss deadlines to make sure you’re checking in on them to make sure that they’re not like slacking in the sense that [00:59:00] where like, um, like they’re not going to miss a deadline.
Right. And the last thing I would say. Would be to do it early, if you can, like, don’t wait like me until the last minute. That’s very stressful. And that’s very stressful for your teachers too. I’m still very sorry about my history teacher. So yeah, I do it early. I think that’s the top thing advice I had.
Thanks Kevin. Um, thanks everyone for coming out tonight. Uh, and thank you to our panelists tonight. Um, Kevin, your, uh, feedback and tips were, uh, very helpful. Um, so that is the end of the webinar. Uh, we had a really great time telling you about letters of recommendation and here’s the rest of our October series.
Um, so just so you can kind of be aware of upcoming webinars from CollegeAdvisor, uh, and with that, that is the end of our webinar. Have a good night. That sounds good. [01:00:00] Good luck guys.