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LoRs from 9th, 10th grade?

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#1 daijobu


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Posted 12 September 2017 - 03:17 PM

My dd is concerned about the teachers she wants to write her letters.  She has had a great relationship with her AP chem teacher from 9th grade and her AP bio teacher from 10th.  But she's been hearing that she ought to have teachers from 11th or 12th grade writing her recommendations.  Is it better to have more recent teachers write her letters?  What difference does 1-2 years make?  She continues on as a TA and tutor for both classes, so she has some continued contact with these teachers, though it is online, so not very directly.  


Thank you for sharing your experiences and suggestions.  

#2 quark


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Posted 12 September 2017 - 03:30 PM

I'd recommend keeping LoRs to junior year/ senior year unless, such as in your DD's case, relationships are being built throughout from 9th/10th, in which case I say go for it. I feel this way because there's a lot of growth in 11th/ 12th that a teacher from only 9th/10th might not be aware of plus it always helps to have some feedback from a teacher in 11th/ 12th...which seems to be the period most colleges want to know more about.


Having said that, I did use quotes from teachers in the younger years to demonstrate my student's focus/ motivation/ drive to learn things in much greater depth. E.g. Derek Owens wrote me an email regarding kiddo's honors physics class that was so touching and so representative of the way my kid learns...I felt that would be succinct but very precise insight into who this kid is and I included that quote in my counselor letter.


Just my 2 cents.

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#3 jdahlquist


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Posted 12 September 2017 - 03:38 PM

Depending on when applications are submitted, 12th grade teachers may not know the student that well because the school year is just beginning.  If she has teachers who know her better from 9th and 10th grade (especially if they are advanced level classes) and she has had continued contact with them, I would ask them for LOR.  Often the recommender will say something in the letter like, "Sally was a student in my advanced biology class...." and maybe "I have known Sally for the past 2 years as a student..."  But, I don't know that it would necessarily be obvious when reading the LOR that the recommender was a teacher in a course taken in 9th or 10th grade.  (The reviewer could go back and match the course name to the transcript, but I would think they would rarely spend the time to do that.)

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#4 Julie of KY

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 03:53 PM

I think in your situation in which your daughter has an ongoing relationship with the teacher, then it is a good choice. Being good enough in the class to now be a TA makes for a good recommendation.

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#5 regentrude


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Posted 12 September 2017 - 04:23 PM

I think normally, more recent LORs are preferable, and you would want an 11th grade teacher over a 9th grade teacher. However, her situation is different: she has developed an ongoing relationship with the teachers and still works for them as a tutor, so these would be very strong letters. They can go beyond talking about her as a student in the class and expand on her tutoring and her development over the course of several years. That makes these teachers very good choices, much better than a teacher who just had her in class one year.


A 12th grade teacher would not be a good choice because he will have known the student only for a few weeks when it is time to submit college applications.

Edited by regentrude, 12 September 2017 - 04:24 PM.

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#6 dirty ethel rackham

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 07:42 PM

This was a very timely question. Dd has a great relationship with teachers from 10th grade. But not so much from 11th grade. She really challenged herself which meant she wasn't the tippy top student in their classes. She is afraid they won't have as much positive things to say about her. The exception is her AP art teacher, who absolutely adores her. But dd doesn't plan to major in art. She had planned to ask her honors bio teacher from 10th grade because we know him and because she thinks she plans to.major in a bio related field.

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