Letters of Recommendation
There are two types of recommendations that are requested by colleges and universities: Teacher Recommendations and Counselor Recommendations.
Teacher Recommendations: Most colleges require at least one – if not two – formal recommendations from teachers. Since you will want to have the best possible recommendations sent to each college, we suggest that you consider the following in choosing teachers who will write on your behalf:
- How well does the teacher know you? Will he/she write well on your behalf
- Has the teacher taught you more than once? A teacher who taught you over a two or three year period has seen your talents and personality develop.
- Has the teacher sponsored an extracurricular activity in which you made a contribution?
- Do you get along with the teacher?
- Does the college or university specify that a recommendation must be from a particular subject instructor (e.g., a science teacher, an English teacher, etc.)?
- If you declare an intended major, try to choose a teacher in that particular field.
- If possible, choose your Junior and Senior year teachers. They are best able to address your ability to do college level work.
- Try to choose teachers from academic subject areas (e.g., Math, English, History, etc.).
- If you have a strong commitment and/or leadership role in an activity, community service activity, job, etc., you may want to add a recommendation from the supervisor/moderator in charge.
Counselor Recommendations: This will be written by your school counselor. This recommendation is a more personal overview of your high school experience, including:
- Your involvement in the school community.
- Your progress as a student, especially specific information about obstacles you have overcome and an explanation about a rough patch you may have gone through personally or academically.
- How you are perceived by your peers and your teachers.
- Any other information about your life as an Irvington student. If you have a specific issue you would like to be discussed, be sure to bring this to your counselor’s attention.
After your teachers and counselor have written recommendations for you, be sure to write a thank you note. Remember it takes time and effort to write these letters