3 years ago
Admissions Advice

Teacher recs

Okay so I have about four teachers who have said they’d write a recommendation for me. But…how does it work? Like what do I…do?

The earliest application deadline I have right now is November 1st so I have to figure this out by then. And they have to have 10 days in advance minimum. Is there a limit on the number of teachers that can recommend me per college? Am I allowed to read what they wrote? How do they submit it to the college? One of the teachers in question is not a core class teacher—he’s my band director and he mentioned that some colleges don’t want teachers that teach electives. So how do I figure that crap out? Help…

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4 answers

Accepted Answer
3 years ago

Hi. I'll answer your questions in order.

You need to go into the common application and register them as recommenders. To do this, you'll need to make sure you have already added the schools you are applying to. If you have, all you need to do is click "show more details" and then "Recommenders and FERPA." This will prompt you to waive your right to view your rec letters. Generally, you should do it, but talk to your guidance counselor first if you do not want to. Once you waive your rights you'll be sent to the page asking you to Invite Recommenders (below the add counselor section). You should click that button and follow the directions. Also make sure to add your counselor in that section.

Each college has its own limit. You need to check this limit on the school's website. It's pretty easy. I typically type in something like "NYU undergrad application requirements," but for each school, and a few scrolls later I know.

Once you waive your FERPA rights, you will have no right to read what they wrote. Most teachers want you to waive your rights, however it is possible that you'll have a cool teacher who lets you read his letter for you.

They submit it through the common app or by email/mail if you print the teacher evaluation form and give it to them. If you are applying through a different application platform (school-specific, Questbridge, Coalition, etc) then it will be uploaded there.

You will know what kind of teachers each school wants by going to their application requirements page ( see above).

Let me know if you have any other questions.

3 years ago

Common App is very helpful, especially if you are applying to multiple schools. They have a whole section for recommenders. All you have to do is put your teacher's names and emails, and it will invite them to send recommendation letters to schools.

3 years ago

Hi @Clari_qween! These are good and important questions, and I'm glad the forum has been able to provide great answers!

Firstly, I would like to echo the answers provided by @JonathanB regarding how to register your teachers as recommenders on your behalf -- these answers are very helpful!

Secondly, regarding the appropriate number of teacher recommendations, I agree that most colleges/universities will only ask for two letters of recommendation, often with an optional supplemental letter of recommendation (though this will depend on the college/university). As for your (two) main letters of recommendation, I would strongly recommend you enlist teachers who have taught you in core subjects (e.g., English, History, Math, Science, Foreign Language) during your junior or senior year of high school. This is because these teachers will be able to best speak to your academic competencies in core subject areas (the sorts of subjects you will almost certainly pursue to at least some degree in college) as demonstrated by your recent performance -- if your teachers are from very early high school, they won't be able to represent you as accurately as you are at the time of your application, and this is why colleges typically recommend that your recommenders be teachers who have taught you recently.

However, if you feel that your band director can provide a meaningful recommendation that will showcase new dimensions to you, your character, and your skills, then perhaps consider asking him to submit a supplemental letter of recommendation on your behalf. But you should know, the majority of college applicants do not submit supplemental letters of recommendation, and you should only do so if the additional letter will provide new information and/or showcase another core aspect of yourself that you feel like has not been appropriately represented elsewhere on your application.

I hope this is helpful, and good luck -- you got this!

3 years ago


So most colleges only need 2 teacher recommendations, so make sure you pick two teachers who know you the best.

Yes, you can read what they wrote but it makes the recommendation less valuable because colleges know that you looked at what they wrote so then they won't take the recommendation as seriously. I would recommend not looking at what your teachers wrote, that's what most students do, including myself.

If you are applying via common app then there is a section labeled "recommenders and FERPA". You will find this section if you select a specific college that you are applying to and in this section, you will give your teacher's name, subject area, and email.

You can use your band director but it would be better if you ask a teacher from a core subject. If you don't have one from a core subject then your band director is good too.

Hope this helps!

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