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How do letters of recommendation work?

collegermcollegerm Posts: 91Registered User Junior Member
edited September 2013 in Common Application
I'm confused as to how the whole letter of recommendation thing works. I asked my teacher yesterday for a letter, and I thought that was that.

Ok, so general questions

1). Do the teachers just write a letter about you and whatever, or do they fill out some Common App sheet?
2). How do I submit the letter online? Do I have to send it to the colleges? Does my teacher have to seal and send 10 different letters to the colleges that I'm applying to?
3). What's the deal with getting a letter from your counselor? Does his recommendation work the same way as the teachers do?
4.) How many letters of rec does a person send?

Post edited by collegerm on

Replies to: How do letters of recommendation work?

  • raqbauraqbau Posts: 218Registered User Junior Member
    Maybe this will help, below is a pdf version of what your teachers have to fill out online:


    Counselors have to submit the school report,mid year report, and the final report:




    When you ask your teacher for a recommendation (and the school you are applying to uses the common app) assuming your teacher says yes, you have to go to the school forms tab in your common app account and add school official; here it will ask you for your teachers email address, name and title. When you click the submit button your teacher will get an email saying that you requested them to fill out the recommendation forms for you they have three options: they can deny your request, say that they will do it on paper or accept your request and complete it online (most teachers and counselors do it online). If it's their first time on the common app for this application season they will also get emails with their username and password. Keep in mind that the moment you send the email the rest is up to your teacher and, assuming you waived your rights to see the recommendation letter, you don't get to see what your teacher writes. Essentially the counselor's rec works the same way the only thing that changes is the amount of forms they have to fill out, but on your end it's the same.

    As for your final question, it really depends on the university your applying to. Typically it's 1-2 teacher recs the counselor rec and sometimes some other universities require others you have to read on their website to be sure.
  • bella1234bella1234 Posts: 302Registered User Member
    If you invite teacher online on common application and if they write rec online, how will rec letter available for those colleges that do not accept common app? Also Scholarship programs require rec letter too?

    How to work around this problem? Do you ask teacher to send copy of rec letter to your guidance office and then you can request guidance office to mail it wherever you want to it to go to outside of common application.
  • nicedayniceday Posts: 2,498Registered User Senior Member
    The common app process only works for common app schools. For all other schools, programs, scholarships, jobs, whatever, you need to follow the specific application procedures of each. Look up the website of each place where you plan to apply and determine whether they want recommendations by regular mail, email, or uploaded electronically to an account.

    Typically if recs are sent by snail mail, the recommender mails them directly. It is customary to provide properly addressed stamped envelopes to the recommenders along with any printed forms they might need. It is not typical for the guidance office to mail teacher recs, but your school might do it that way. Your teachers and counselors may have preferences about recommendation procedures. No doubt they've done this quite a lot already.

    If you are asking for several recs from one person other than through the common app, it can help to provide a cover letter detailing the deadlines, etc.
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