Letters of Recommendation

One component of the college application may include letters of recommendation. When requesting a letter of recommendation, it is important to research each college you are applying to in order to determine if a letter is required or not. Important factors to consider when selecting/requesting recommenders:

  • For your academic/teacher recommendations, the college is looking to hear from your most recent teachers (i.e. junior year teachers) about the type of learner you are, your growth, characteristics, involvement in the classroom, etc. Some colleges may require that at least one of your letters of recommendation be from a core subject area.
  • Ask early. It is important to ask teachers for letters of recommendation at least 15 school days in advance as they are most likely writing letters for other students as well. Have a discussion with your recommender to determine what information they need - copy of your resume, deadline date, type of letter (college application, consideration for honors college or scholarship), etc.
  • You will assign your recommender(s) in your online application. When assigning your recommender, it will prompt you to complete your FERPA agreement. The FERPA agreement must be completed prior to requesting recommenders. Once requested, the response to this question cannot be changed. We highly recommend waiving your right to see your letters. Waiving your right tells the college you aren’t afraid of what your recommender may write, and the recommender is being totally honest.
  • Finally, it is important to write a thank you note, card, or email to all of your recommenders. This gesture is appreciated by those who took the time to right on your behalf and share kind words about you as a person and as a student.


A counselor recommendation highlights your academic performance throughout high school, school involvement, characteristics/ qualities, and possibly explanation of any extenuating circumstances.

In order for your Counselor to write their letter, they may request you provide them with:


A teacher recommendation highlights the type of student you are; learning styles, communication skills, problem-solving, peer interactions, challenging yourself/ growth, etc. This is a great way for an admissions counselor to see the type of student/person you are to ensure success at the college level.

To provide additional information in their letter of recommendation, they may request:


A letter of recommendation in this category may include a/an: employer, coach, religious mentor, etc. This letter should provide the admissions counselor with additional information about your character, leadership skills, etc. This letter should highlight the type of person you are outside of the classroom.