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online classes and LOR?

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Are teachers of online classes situated to write strong letters of recommendation for students? Especially for classes following an asynchronous format?

The teachers that know my daughter best are involved in her music education.  I don't find that they write letters that really speak to her academic interests or assets.  Online classes provide another avenue for outside assessment of a student, but I wonder how well a remote teacher can know a student. 

My daughter chose an asynchronous AP English class for fall (Blue Tent) because she liked the course description, but I had wondered whether the Potter's School counterpart would provide a better opportunity to connect with the teacher since there are three hours of (online) contact per week.

I guess a local class would address these issues better, but her extracurricular schedule has made such a commitment difficult.

Could anyone share any BTDT concerning LOR and online classes?



Lee in New England

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My daughter used her AP English teacher from PA Homeschoolers, another online asynchronous format school, as one of her two LOR writers for the Common App. The class was highly interactive, though, with daily writing and discussion boards, & I'd say that her teacher knew her quite well, both academically & in a personal sense, by the end of the school year. Dd balanced that letter by using a math teacher who knew her well in real life for her second LOR. We never saw the English teacher's letter, but I suspect that it was quite strong & helped her admissions results.


My son, on the other hand, was a serious piano student of ten years & did use his music teacher for one of his two LORs. He never outsourced any humanities or social science classes outside of Write at Home, so we thought that letter would give some balance to an otherwise STEM oriented kid. His second letter, like his sister's, was from a real life teacher who could address his math & computer science side.


One thing that can help if you do decide to use an online teacher for a letter is to send them a resume or outline of your daughter's overall schooling and extracurricular pursuits after they agree to the request. Then they can get a better sense of the whole person before they write their recommendation.

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Thank you for replying, Kathy.

Have you run into any online teachers who would not write LORs for students as a matter of policy?


Good question!


Yes, my son had one teacher with PA homeschoolers like that. However, we didn't find out about his policy until the course was over, & ds asked him for a LOR. Since my son had received an A+, we had just assumed that it wouldn't be a problem. Yikes!  Fortunately, that guy no longer teaches for them. So later on, in my dd's case, we asked around in advance before signing her up for the AP English class & were assured that her teacher had indeed written LORs for students in the past.


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At least in 2007 Debra  Bell would not write LoR's for online-only students. (She may have changed her policy since then.) My dd wasn't planning on using her for a LoR so the policy didn't affect us, but she didn't hear about the policy until the first week of her AP English class her senior year. I felt really badly for any juniors who were hoping to ask Ms. Bell for a rec since asking a junior year English teacher for a rec is pretty standard.

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