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LOR Strategies & Things to Follow

Updated: Jun 5, 2020

Most private, selective colleges require one or two recommendations from teachers.

Ideally, you should ask teachers from eleventh grade who have taught you in an academic subject. These teachers have witnessed your progress over a full year. They have also provided comments to your dean. Be sure to ask your dean for advice on who might be most helpful. Senior teachers may be used in some cases. The teacher who gave you the highest grade may not be the one who will write you the best recommendation; it is more important that the teacher knows you well. Once you have decided whom you would like to write your recommendations, ask him/her by the deadline that your counselor has announced. We have told the faculty they will know by the beginning of October how many recommendations they will have to write and that they need not honor requests made after that date.

Here are some tips for you to follow:

  1. Do what the schools want, not what is easiest for you.

  2. Academic recommendation means a teacher has to do it. It should be a teacher you've had in the last 2 years. COC and AOC teachers are best.

  3. If it says English teacher, it is Wilhelm. You have to provide Mr. Wilhelm a screenshot of the page showing it must be an English teacher.

  4. If you have more than 1, don't have them all from the same school or major.

  5. Other recommender = club (COC, too), summer program/experience, unrelated to school, job, faith-based, etc. Not a parent or family.

  6. You should ask in person. It is fine to start with an email requesting a quick meeting about college recommendation letters, but it is most polite not to make the request via email or in passing around campus.

  7. You may have to reconnect with someone or make yourself known to someone new like a COC instructor.

  8. Expect the AOC teacher to ask who else is writing LORs for you and why. Follow their process.

  9. If you have 8 total schools that require at least 1 LOR, the same AOC teacher should write for all 8.

  10. Teachers prioritize by deadline, not by who asks firsts. If you ask too close to a deadline, they can say no since they don’t have enough time.

  11. If you ADD a school with an earlier deadline than previous schools, the teacher may miss the deadline. They may not SEE the addition. BE considerate and TALKto the recommender before adding an earlier deadline.

  12. If you CHANGE a deadline to later, TELL the recommender! They may get more time to do it.

  13. Writing the letters and completing the process averages 2-3 hours per student. 10-15 is a lot; 30+ is crazy!

  14. If you decide NOT to APPLY to a school—TELL your recommender IMMEDIATELY that they don’t have to send a letter and CANCEL the request in Naviance.

  15. COC ACADEMIC recommenders for CommonApp MUST submit TEACHER EVALUATION PDF. Use the specific instructions in Classroom (LORS and CommonApp topics).

  16. AOC teachers and COC instructors can be non-academic/other recommenders. Garvar can write about Linus or Labus about Bible Club…only if this is appropriate and strategic

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