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2 months ago
Admissions Advice

Recommendation
Answered

Is it necessary to add your higher secondary school teacher for recommendation, or any one who has taught you in any grade, any where will be ok?

LOR
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4 answers

1
Accepted Answer
2 months ago[edited]

I am happy to disagree with the others.

A teacher recommender can come from anyone who has taught you. From a PE teacher to a music teacher to your AP Capstone teacher. It does not have to come from a core subject teacher. In fact, since 90% of applicants use the same recommenders at their schools, do you really think that your recommendation is going to be that much different than the other 20 or 40 recommendations that AP Calc teacher has to write. How can everyone in AP Calc be the best, brilliant math student they have ever had. Your AP Core instructor is, I repeat not, going to call you out, and advocate for you when there are another 20 people in the class who are getting an A in the subject and turning in their homework on time, and doing all the assignments, and participating in class. You are just recommendation #11 or #26, not the best student that this teacher has seen in the last 5 years of teaching this subject.

It would be wiser to get a true heartfelt recommendation from someone that can offer another insight into how special you are. Some kind words of advocacy that resonate with the application readers to support what he/she already thinks about you from reading the rest of your application. If you are good at Math, and have taken 4 years of the hardest Math including AP Calcu B/C and have 4 As in the Math on your transcript and got a 5 in AP Calc and are the President of the Math Bowl, then having your math teacher write out "Johnny is a great math student" will not mean anything because everyone already knows that who reads your application. But if your 7th grade teacher writes a recommendation like "Johnny comes to the Junior High every Tues and Thursday and hold special tutoring sessions for the kids in my class that is having a hard time keeping up and he is so patient and kind to them, I'm so grateful because he is there to help me. Plus he brings snacks for the kids so they always look forward to seeing him." Now that recommendation is 100 times more valuable than the assuming that Application Readers want to hear from your core subject teachers.

Now if you are on your way to becoming the next Stephen Hawking and applying to CalTech and MIT, then having your AP Physics teacher say you are the best student they have taught carries some clout. But 999/1000 of us are not that student.

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2 months ago[edited]

Hi there @Txby,

I would agree with @emmyolive here, with a caveat. For your prospective school, there might be limitations to which teachers you can ask in order for the letter (and your application as a whole) to even be considered.

Some schools require letters to come from a teacher in a core academic subject - and even this definition can look different across colleges. For instance, some schools might count foreign language, while others will stick to math, English, history/social studies, and science. For STEM or engineering majors at some schools, sometimes a student is required to submit a letter of rec from a math or science teacher.

Also, colleges will expect that these letters come from teachers that have taught you in junior or senior year in order to get a response that encapsulates who you are now. I would say if this is not explicitly required by the college, it's less important that it comes from a junior or senior year teacher and more important that the course is of significant rigor. Regardless of which teacher you choose, you should aim to ask one from any honors (ideally AP or IB) coursework.

If you want to submit a letter of recommendation from someone besides a teacher, some colleges will allow you to submit a supplemental letter of rec - this is the place to have a mentor, coach, or other extracurricular guide upload a letter for you, rather than the main recommendations.

Hope this helps!

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-1
2 months ago

Colleges usually require teachers from core subjects but don't have a strict grade-level requirement, though most recommend someone who taught you in junior year (Grade 11) because that will be most current. If there is someone that you really want to add who taught you in 9th or 10th grade, you can definitely do that, but think about it carefully and make sure that person can really speak to your performance and talk about your achievements and character as you are now and not as you were as a 9th-grader so that their recommendation is as relevant and helpful as possible to admissions officers.

Bottom line: If you have a core subject teacher from 11th grade who knows you really well, I'd recommend that person. However, if there's another teacher who you think can advocate for you better or knows you better, then go for it!

Note: If it's not a core subject teacher (e.g. art teacher, sports coach, etc.), you can always submit their recommendation as an additional/supplemental letter if you think they'll add a significantly different perspective to your application, but make sure to ask colleges (call or email the admissions office) first if you want to put that person as your main required teacher recommendation.

Hope this helped!

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2 months ago

Recommendations should come from a teacher who has taught you in High School (which is usually 9th-12th Grade). Although most would say that Junior year teachers are the best ones to ask for recommendations from. You should also take into account the subject the teacher teaches since this is a requirement in some universities (most require science or math teachers). Just make sure to ask someone who you feel like knows you best and has seen your growth as a student.

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