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Confused by Common App Letters of Recommendation

nottellingnottelling Registered User Posts: 4,329 Senior Member
edited November 2012 in Parents Forum
My daughter has decided to expand the list of schools to which she is applying. Her teachers have already submitted letters of recommendation electronically for her original schools. For each college, the common app requires the applicant to "select the teachers below whose recommendations will be submitted to this institution on your behalf." There is a drop down list containing the recommenders who have previously submitted letters. Here are my questions:

-- When she decides to apply to an additional school, does she have to go back to the teacher and ask permission for the original letter to be submitted to an additional school?

-- Does the teacher receive a notification that the letter is being submitted to a new school?

-- If so, does the teacher have to approve the submission before the Common App submits the LOR?

My daughter's counselor seems to think that she can just select the teacher as a "recommender" for any school without re-contacting the teacher. That seems strange to me, especially since the teachers originally required her to submit a list of schools to which she intended to apply. My daughter is insisting that she doesn't have to keep "bugging" the teachers each time she refines her list. It was torture for her to ask the teachers for the recommendations in the first place, and she doesn't want to go back to them.

SECOND ISSUE: Also, she will be getting a recommendation from the instructor from a college summer program that she attended. She got college credit for the class. Should that instructor be invited to submit his recommendation through the common app? Or should he just write a letter and send it directly to the school? What's the etiquette on submitting LORs from these kinds of summer programs to schools other than the hosting school? She had a great time and did solid work, but it wasn't rocket science. The instructor volunteered to provide a recommendation; she didn't ask.

Sorry if these questions have been asked before; I did a quick search and didn't see them. I'd appreciate any thoughts. For some reason, this has been the hardest part of the process for my daughter. She ended up selecting the recommenders based on the approachability of the teachers rather than on her performance in or the rigor of the class, which is obviously a mistake. These, of course, are the same teachers that were asked by huge numbers of other kids. Sigh.
Post edited by nottelling on

Replies to: Confused by Common App Letters of Recommendation

  • mommaof5mommaof5 Registered User Posts: 570 Member
    Once a teacher uploads their letter of recommendation into the Common App it can be sent to any school that accepts the CA. She doesn't need to ask them anything additional. She may have been asked what schools she was applying to to give the teachers an idea as to what to write in the original recommendations. I can't advise as to your second question.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 29,495 Senior Member
    Typically the teachers write a letter generic enough that it could go to any college because they know it will be used for multiple schools. So your D is correct that she does not need to go back to the teachers.

    Our particular high school uses Naviance to upload recommendations, transcripts, etc. So although the teacher does not have to take any steps, in our case the college counseling/guidance office has to do something to upload the recommendations for the specific school. So they would need to be told if a new school is added and what the deadline is. We tell the college counseling office which recommendations we want them to use (they have a form), and they upload those as requested for that college. But I can tell on the Common App if it has worked because the little triangle for School Forms for that particular college turns green. :) So because of the way we use Naviance, we do not actually select recommenders on the Common App form or supplement -- it comes from our high school.

    Ask the guidance counselor at your high school about the "out of school" reference. My D has one of those (although it is an academic team coach at the school, he is not a teacher there). That one shows up as something like an "Out of School" recommendation along with the teachers. Our college counseling office got the recommendation from him and uploaded it through Naviance along with the teacher recs for the one college D sent it to.
  • nottellingnottelling Registered User Posts: 4,329 Senior Member
    Thanks for the helpful responses!
This discussion has been closed.