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Recommendation letters needed for too many things


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My son is a junior and is starting to think about life after high school. He's been working on awards and activities and thinking about college applications,  It seems like almost everything needs recommendation letters! He just got Eagle Scout and needed at least 4 recommendation letters. He wants to apply to an Academy and they need recommendation letters. There are scholarship applications that require recommendation letters. Other awards that he's eligible for and would look good on his applications require recommendation letters.

We have never been part of a co-op and have done mostly home brewed classes and those that are done outside are often short term classes (once a week for a few months) or not always taught by the same person each time. That doesn't give him any teachers other than me to write recommendation letters. Even if he does dual enrollment next year, he's likely to be in a huge freshman lecture class at the local university and not in a class where the professor will get to know him.  DS is very active in Scouting, but other than troop stuff, his activities have him working with lots of different people and few get to know him really well. DH is the Scoutmaster and our troop only has one active Assistant Scoutmaster. DS is also very active in a couple of groups related to his major interest. There are a couple of people there who have written recommendation letters and he's asked them to keep a copy since he'll probably need other recommendations later. Since the letters usually need to be sent directly, it's seems a bit rude to keep asking the same people to send letters again and again. For the Eagle, we did give each person a SASE to make it as easy as possible for them, but still...I wonder if public school students even have that many people they can ask for recommendation letters. Have any of you run into this problem? What do other homeschoolers do about it? Do they just ask the same people?

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It's a lot of recommendation letters for sure.

The good thing about the Common App is that a person can write a recommendation letter once and it can be applied to multiple schools. But that does not help with the many other situations where they are needed.

For us, yes, you just keep asking the same people. Unfortunately some people who might write a good letter are terrible about getting it done. You tend to return to the reliable ones.

We did give small thank you gifts at the end of the college app season to the ones that got used the most. Did not want to do it earlier and appear to be currying favor, of course.

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Funny you posted about this as I've wondered the same thing. Same boat here. Son made Eagle last spring and it involved asking for recommendation letters. He also had to ask for letters for applying to DE at local college and letters for a competition he's entering. This has all been in the last few months. I hate asking the same people but they are the ones who know him the best and are reliable to write the letter. He's a sophomore so he'll be doing this all over again in 2 years. I almost thought about asking people to write a generic recommendation so it could be used over and over but I think the best letters are situation specific. Also how long are they good for? I'll be interested to see what people say.

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I’ve written recommendation letters for a lot of people because I teach a high school class at our co-op. Once I’ve written one, it’s easy to send it again, even if I have to modify it slightly for a new thing. One thing that is super helpful to me as a writer is when the student tells me things that the scholarship/experience/competition is looking for. Then I can add a few sentences about how the student meets those characteristics. And then change them for the next letter. But leave the  main body of the letter the same. 

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Even in a large lecture class, your DS can forge a connection with the professor by attending office hours and help sessions.  We do get to know these students. Also, there may be smaller discussion sessions or recitations where he can make an impression on the TA.

Generally,  someone who has agreed to write a LOR is aware that they will be asked to send multiple letters. That's fine.

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