3 months ago
Admissions Advice

Rec Letter situation

I am applying to majors within business but is very math-heavy (data science) and I wanted to know what would be the best rec letters to submit:

My International Relations teacher who also supervises a club Im very active in

My 11th grade physics teacher who I have a great relationship with

My computer science teacher who I really enjoy

Or should I ask an English/Social study teacher instead?

Also if a school requires 2 teacher rec and a counselor one is there any benefit to submitting a letter that's written by a person in the community (as in my supervisor at a job)


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4 answers

Accepted Answer
3 months ago[edited]

I'll answer your questions in order.

Any teachers you are close with will be more likely to find time to write you a LOR and they will also most likely write a more detailed one. Computer science and data science have a lot of overlap, so I'd suggest asking your computer science teacher and your physics teacher (if you are submitting two as you mentioned in your second question).

Generally speaking, colleges will examine your jobs and community service positions, but they will usually only want LORs from your HS officials. (Teacher, principal, counselor.) Good luck, hope this helps.

3 months ago[edited]

It is a rare thing to be actual friends with a teacher. To me, that means not talking about class or homework or your academic record. To me, it means to have a two-way conversation about life, and feeling a mutual respect for one another. It means sharing things about your families, your hopes and dreams, your concerns, and even your weaknesses

I was lucky enough to have a few actual teacher friends. We exchanged book and Netflix recommendations, baking and cooking recipes, and talked about family and even all the mean kids and leadership politics. These adults became part of my family of choice which is different than blood relation families. I picked them and they picked me.

When it came time to pick a recommender, I wasn't thinking about aligning my major with a teacher. Rather, I was more interested in who could speak about me in an honest way. I needed someone to convey my personal character, my work ethic, my integrity, and advocate for me not because they were selling me using a crib sheet I provided them but because they actually knew me as a person.

I don't know what they wrote, and never asked. But I do know that they went to bat for me and I got into Columbia University ED. I wasn't a recruited athlete, legacy, development candidate, a VIP, or a son or daughter of a faculty member.

Therefore, after reading this I hope you can easily pick your recommenders and who your backup is. And eliminate someone who really doesn't know you nor sees you as you are.

Good luck MAX.

3 months ago

Hi there @DebaterMAX,

If your prospective major is STEM-heavy, you'll want to check your prospective major requirements. For engineering majors, colleges will sometimes require one letter of rec come from a STEM teacher.

If this is not the case for you, the letters you choose are at your discretion. Because you stated your major is data science-oriented, you'll want to err on the side of STEM and business if possible. I'd recommend you go with your Physics teacher, as they'll probably have personal things to say about you if you have a good relationship, and your IR teacher, as the topic relates to business and they know you outside of the classroom context.

You might like other teachers and even get along with them, but you want to prioritize those that you have a working and personal relationship with to get the most detailed and personalized letter possible. And even if your teachers know you well, it's a good idea to reach out and ask if you can provide them with a resume or cover letter so that they have more information.

As for an additional letter of rec, you should only submit one if your prospective school allows for it as a supplemental submission. Your required letters should be for teachers, but if the school allows for you to send additional letters, these should be from mentors and leaders that you know through extracurriculars or work experience. This can be an athletic coach or as you said, job supervisor.

Hope this helps!

3 months ago

I personally think you should do either your physics teacher or International relations since they are the one's that probably know you the best.


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