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Letters of Rec. from Teachers

theconcernedkidtheconcernedkid 32 replies14 threads Junior Member
As a highschool student, when surveying teachers to get a letter of rec, 2 teachers come to mind. One sophomore english teacher, and one Junior Chem teacher. Will colleges not like that it's from a sophomore teacher? How much will it effect my odds? Should I try and find a junior teacher who somewhat knows me vs the sophomore teacher who really knows me?
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Replies to: Letters of Rec. from Teachers

  • CCEdit_SurajCCEdit_Suraj 85 replies161 threads Editor
    This is a great question -- we recently covered this topic in a College Confidential article, which might be helpful:https://insights.collegeconfidential.com/getting-a-top-notch-letter-of-recommendation
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  • theconcernedkidtheconcernedkid 32 replies14 threads Junior Member
    Thank you!
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 5352 replies89 threads Senior Member
    It is ok to get a rec from a soph teacher, you might discuss it with your HS GC as well just to get another perspective. Do ask for those recs now, rather than waiting until later in the summer, or fall. Good luck.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 10815 replies588 threads Super Moderator
    The best recommendations come from someone who knows you well, who you like, and who likes you. No college is going to reject your app because it came from a sophomore year teacher.

    If the teacher and you are still in regular contact, it’s fine. You want the recommendation to be written by someone with thorough knowledge of you.
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  • mikemacmikemac 10582 replies154 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2
    One thing that hasn't been brought up yet is that every student asking for recs should ask each teacher whether they can write a positive letter. This is always appropriate, phrased politely of course. For example, "Am I a student you would write a strong letter of reccomendation for, or do you suggest I ask someone else?" Don't argue or ask why if the answer is ask someone else, simply thank the teacher for their honest answer.

    While it can be uncomfortable for a student to ask a direct question like this to a teacher I would never assume a teacher will write a positive rec. In "The Gatekeepers" book in which a NY Times reporter followed the admissions committee at Wesleyan for a year is a real-world example of a bad rec. No doubt when the student asked she assumed it would be positive but here is what she got:
    There were times, I must admit, that I thought Tiffany might have taken a stronger interest in mastering the material in our course. When I saw that Tiffany was a National Merit Semi-Finalist I was a bit surprised. While clearly bright and competent, I had seen in Tiffany neither an exceptional skill for testing nor a particular affinity for the subject.

    This could have been avoided if the teacher had been asked if they would write a strong rec. The student did not get in.
    edited June 2
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  • ms50263ms50263 17 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Definitely go for the sophomore teacher! As long as the teacher is someone who knows you well, you're fine.
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  • theconcernedkidtheconcernedkid 32 replies14 threads Junior Member
    Thanks!
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