NicRasool, Features and News Editor
The college application – an effective, albeit stressful, method for colleges to understand you as a student. One of the most important aspects of the application is the recommendation letter, as they humanize students and let colleges review applicants in terms of how a they would affect the campus and its community.
But how should you go about asking for a letter?
There are a two main types of recommendation letters that a student can obtain: the counselor letter and the teacher letter. However, the paths to get either of these letters are relatively different.
The Counselor Recommendation:
The Counseling Department has revamped their system for obtaining recommendation letters. It previously involved a large amount of paperwork, having students fill out request forms for a different form in order to fill out their senior profile so that they can submit the profile to their counselor and then get their counselors to finally start the recommendation letter. Starting this year, however, they have attempted to streamline their process by moving things to Google Classroom. All of the counselors now have a Google Classroom where the required paperwork, like your senior profile, can be found.
Now, instead of handling a large amount of paper, you simply have to download the senior profile, fill it out on your own time and then turn it into your respective counselor’s Google Classroom. Everything is event posted in order with titles such as “Step 1: Senior Profile” so it should be relatively simple to follow all necessary guidelines.
After submitting your senior profile, you have to move on to Step 2 – the actual request form. It’s a Google Form and is extremely straightforward, and if you’re applying through the Common Application or Coalition Application, the counselors will even upload your transcript for you. Unless one of your schools does not use either of these applications, you can skip the Parchment request.
So, you’re finally done, you’ve filled out your profile, turned everything in perfectly, now what? Well, you wait. The counselors receive each request and they are all listed out based on who turned in the request first, so it’s a first come first served basis. All you really can do is wait.
The Teacher Recommendation:
The teacher recommendation is a way for colleges to learn more about you as a person and about you in the classroom. Due to the circumstances of the teacher recommendation, you are far better off asking a teacher who has known you for more than just your senior year.
When deciding on which teacher to ask, however, your main focus should be what your college actually wants. Some might specifically ask for a recommendation letter from a humanities teacher whereas others may ask for a letter from science or math teacher, and others may ask for multiple recommendation letters from teachers of multiple different subjects. Basically, aside from actually finding a teacher who knows you well, you will always have to consider your application requirements.
Asking, however, is a slightly different experience that mainly boils down to: don’t be entitled or asinine when you ask your teacher for what is basically a favor. Keep in mind that your teachers are in no way obligated to write you a letter of recommendation.
So, your favorite teacher, who knows you the best, is willing to write you a recommendation letter, now what? Well, now all that can be done is wait. You can ask them if they got the email to write the letter, or tell them when you need the letter to be done, but other than that there isn’t much students can do. If something changes, you should inform your teacher as soon as you can so they don’t end up putting time and effort into a letter you didn’t even need.