tips for getting closer to teachers for LORs?
Hi! I have 2 teachers in mind to ask for letters of recommendation, but because of covid/online learning, I don't think either of them knows me well enough to write a letter. I want to go to their office hours and try to get to know them better before asking them for a letter at the end of the year, but I don't know what to talk about if I don't have any questions about homework or testing. A lot of people say to ask them about their day and all that, but I feel like that's kind of awkward/weird (special thanks to my social anxiety). Any advice on what to talk to them about? (I'm planning on asking my AP world history and English teachers, if that helps. Should I be asking a STEM teacher instead? I also hear a lot of people saying to ask at least one STEM teacher, but I'm most interesting in writing/history/the humanities and I already know I don't want to major in anything STEM-related.) It's also the same situation with my counselor because she has 500+ students and I don't want to set up a meeting to ask how her day was or something because she already has so much to do. Sorry for the long post haha, but if anyone can help that'd be really appreciated!:)
EDIT: Also, I could ask my tech theatre teacher, who I know much better, but idk since it's an elective. And am I supposed to ask for a letter from mentors/non-teachers? Or is that an optional/additional thing? Thanks again!
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You're on the right track with asking questions! Even if you know the answer, you can ask just to ask! You could also try asking them for their opinions on whatever you're learning about, or if you're reading a book for English, try asking your English teacher for their interpretation! It can definitely be difficult in a virtual world, especially with social anxiety, so don't beat yourself up too much for not engaging! Also, ask teachers that you feel know you best and can attest to your intellect and character. I would say it's better to ask the AP World/English teachers rather than a STEM teacher because they teach subjects you are interested in and can probably attest to your passion. As for your guidance counselor, I'm almost positive schools take into account caseloads, and with the pandemic I'm sure they'll be even more understanding. Like I said, don't beat yourself up! Navigating school and the college process during a pandemic is difficult enough. I hope this helped, have a great day!
You are smart to be thinking about this proactively. You could connect with your AP world history and English teachers by asking for their help preparing for another college application requirement - showing involvement in extracurricular activities that align with your desired major. People tend to have positive feelings toward others when they offer them some kind of help, and teachers respond well to students that show an appreciation for their area of expertise. If you can only interact with these teachers on line, then email them with two things to express: first, you are interested in the subject they teach, and are considering it as a college major, and second, you would like their advice on extracurricular opportunities you might engage in this year to deepen your understanding or experience in that subject matter. At worst, they have nothing to recommend, but you have opened a line of communication and let them know you care about the subject they have chosen to teach. At best, they DO have some project/volunteer opportunity/job/reading list to recommend, and you can find an activity to include in your list for college applications. Good luck!
If your teachers don't know you well enough to write you a letter of recommendation, one suggestion would be to make a BRAG sheet for them. In a BRAG sheet, you list your honors/AP classes, your accomplishments, your extracurricular activities, your leadership positions, your cultural experiences, and etc. This will give your teachers an idea about you and will help them write a letter of recommendation for you. Good Luck!!
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