2 years ago
Admissions Advice

Format of Recommendation Letters & Family Responsibilities

I am confused about how the recommendation letters are supposed to be submitted. Which one of these is right?

1. Printing the letter on official school letterhead, then signing and stamping the letter. After that, the letter is scanned and submitted in PDF form.

2. No letterhead, no sign, no stamp. Just a vanilla digital letter submitted in PDF form.

I am afraid that 2 will make it seem that the letter is not official and AOs will start questioning. I am also afraid that 1 creates problems for AOs as scanned letters are harder to read, also if the university uses some sort of software, then the software won't be able to process the letter as it is not a digital letter.

Also, if I help my family's business in editing, advertising, etc for about 3-4 hrs/week, 20wks/year, can it be listed as an activity? Should it be under work or family responsibilities?

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3 answers

Accepted Answer
2 years ago

Hi @idk123454321!

Option 1 would be the best possible case, but if that's not possible, Option 2 should also work. Scanned letters are not necessarily hard to read if scanned properly. If an actual scanner isn't available, just try using scanner apps on your phone (some of them work really well).

For option 2, it's not you submitting the letters, but your counselor/teacher. If they include their contact info (something like a school email id), that'll make the letter more "official".

You can definitely include your family business as an activity. What you put it as depends on your purpose of involvement. Are you just trying to voluntarily help out as you're interested (work) or is it an obligation to support your family (family responsibility)?

Hope this helps!

2 years ago

Personally mine were submitted through email or through common app the people would reach out to my Counselor or Teacher and they would just type it out and send it back to whoever emailed them in the first place. (but then again I did mine through commonapp and even when i didn't my counselor typed it up stamped it and turned it into me via a pdf so I could submit it on college websites.) I know some places have you print it and send it to the admission's office with it stamped and signed of course, but I'm not too sure, but I highly doubt it'd be suspicious ! Yes you should definitely add family responsibilities! If you get paid for it add it under work :)

2 years ago

Your teachers and outside recommenders will submit their recommendation letters digitally through an application system, e.g. the Common App. Mailing recommendation letters is still possible, but you will need to ask every college you apply to about their requirements for mailed-in letters.

The way that the standard digital recommendation system works is through this process. Let's use Common App as an example:

1. Go to the "Recommenders and FERPA" section

2. Click on the "Add Recommenders" section. Fill in each recommender's information there, including their email address.

3. Your teachers will receive an email that will invite them to write a recommendation for you. By clicking on a link in the email, they will have access to a portal where they can write your recommendation letter.

As for your involvement with your family's business, you can certainly list it as an activity! If it is a paid job, you can list it as work.

Hope this helps!

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