11 months ago
Admissions Advice

Is a school allowed to withhold a counselor recommendation + student forms?

I attend a private religious high school where higher education is discouraged. I need a counselor's recommendation for Common App but my school might not let my counselor give a recommendation, because they don't want me to go to college. Are they allowed to do this? Is it legal? I am a good student, who is respectful and receives good grades. Therefore, I shouldn't be denied a recommendation.

So is a school allowed to withhold a counselor's recommendation (plus the forms a counselor is supposed to fill out) based on their agenda, or do I have any rights to demand a counselor recommendation and a filled out Student Report, and additional forms?

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3 answers

Accepted Answer
11 months ago[edited]

I would suggest asking your counselor for a recommendation letter and if they don't want to give one, email the colleges you are applying to about the issue (ik it's gonna be a hassle but what can you do) and try to indicate it in the additional information section because I think that is the place to talk about these things. Maybe even email the support team for the Common App or whatever application you are using. Honestly, this is a pretty unique situation. If the school adamantly refuses, you can also have your parents show up and possibly scare the school into giving in.

I don't think you can force them to give it but it's kinda wrong for them not to. After all, you are your own individual so you can choose to go to college or not.

11 months ago

So to my knowledge there is no “right to a rec letter” but definitely ask. I’d definitely reach out to the schools you are interested and if they require a counselor LoR ask if a supervisor or someone you report to (non family) would suffice such as a coach a manager et cetera. Also definitely shore your letters with your school teachers Becuase if you don’t have a counselor you almost certainly need a teacher preferably 2 but 1 is good enough. If they don’t do rec-letters REACH OUT TO OTHERS such as the aforementioned manager coach etc.

Also does your school not like rec letters or just college in general? Becuase you may potentially put down contact info for your counselor in place of a rec-letter as duck tape solution. If they hate higher Ed I have no clue as to potentially solutions but definitely put down contact information for your school and seek alternate LoR sources.

Hope this helps and feel free to comment if you’s like clarification as I’d be more than happy to help!

11 months ago

Hi there, I'm very sorry to hear about this! This is a pretty unique situation, but I don't believe that this is illegal, unfortunately. If you can, you may want to consult a lawyer, as I'm not qualified to give legal advice.

Like the others, I would try to ask for a recommendation and for your counselor to fill out your forms. If they refuse, you may want to get your parents involved. If necessary, you may want to write in the Additional Information section that your school is extremely religious and discourages higher education, so you had some trouble getting the necessary counselor forms filled out. You should also contact each school individually to see how they'd handle this situation.

If you can, I'd encourage seeking the advice of a trusted adult at your school. They may be able to advocate for you and give you advice.

Best of luck, and good on you for pursuing your education!


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