Jump to content


Letter of recommendation - advice


Recommended Posts

I am a college instructor and have been asked to write a letter of recommendation for a high school student who is taking my class for dual enrollment and is applying to colleges. I have never been involved in a college application process before.

How does Common Application work - will I upload one letter for all schools, or are they contacting me individually? No paper letters, right?

Anything in particular admissions officials are looking for? (it sounds like a stupid question coming form a college instructor, but please bear in mind that professors have nothing to do with the admissions procedure and that the skills WE want to see in the students may not necessarily be what gets them in.)

Anything YOU think was important about your child's LOR?

Thanks for all pointers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With the Common App, if the student has asked you for an LOR (letter of recomendation) to be submitted electronically, you should receive an email from the Common App with info on how to log into their system. Once in, you will be able to upload your letter and complete the associated form. Make sure you submit it when you're done.


With the electronic submissions on Common App, your letter will go to all the schools that the student has specified you as an LOR writer. You won't know how many schools that is, so your letter should not mention a specific college (unless the student directs you to).


When my son applied 2 years ago, he had some problems getting the Common App to send the email to the LOR writer. Their system didn't like comcast email addresses back then. Hopefully, they've fixed that issue. If the student has told you to submit the letter electronically and you haven't received the email from Common App with the log in info, contact the student right away so he/she can work out any issues with Common App.


One other thing to be aware of is that their posting windows have timeouts. One of my son's writers got about half the letter done and then had to leave his PC for awhile. When he came back, he found that what he had written was lost because the session had timed out. So, best bet is to write the letter separately in MS Word, and then when you're ready to submit it, paste it into the Common App form.


Students are also allowed to printout the Common App recommendation forms and sign them and hand them to you to complete. If your student has chosen this method, you would complete the form they give you, attach your recommendation letter, and then mail it to the specified college.


Here are some tips for writing LORs from the MIT website. I thought they were helpful in general and not just for applicants to MIT:




I think the basic idea is that they want to know anything about the student that would make him/her special and would differentiate him/her from the other applicants.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a high school teacher, I do these a lot.


First, my common ap emails often end up in the spam filter, so you might want to watch for it.


Second, there are some questions that are asked that you rate on a likerd scale--things like how this child rates on academics, leadership, etc. in comparison to his peers. There is a response for not knowing that information, which you might not. (As a high school teacher, my guess is I know a lot more intimate details about my students and their lives than college professors.)


For the recommendation letter, you can type it in any word processor and attach it rather than typing in the box. There is a limit to how long it is, and I have hit it with a couple of students. Things I highlight--anything that makes the student unique, how I think they might positively impact a college (I had a student who was active in eliminating child trafficking out of the Philippines as she had a sister who was sold and I included this information,) great class participation and good questioning, and if they were looked favorably upon by both the faculty and students of our school.


I hope this information helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...