Advice for slow and possibly indifferent counselor and teacher?

<p>My son has an application ready to be sent early action to a school with an EA deadline of 11/1.</p>

<p>Through the common application we “invited” his counselor and a teacher (after my son asked personally) to provide the required counselor and teacher recs on 9/13. As of today they’ve not submitted this information to the common app.</p>

<p>Since we’re less than two weeks away from the deadline I sent each a variation of this e-mail yesterday morning:</p>

<p>"Son is in the home stretch of his application process; transcripts ordered, test scores sent and essays written. We're double checking everything ahead of the November 1 deadline to apply early action to University. However, per the Common Application website, your letter of recommendation has yet to be received (requested 9/13).</p>

<p>As we have less than two weeks to the deadline I wanted to make sure we have done everything properly and have not missed anything. Have we provided all the information you require? Do you need me to re-send the letter of recommendation request?</p>

<p>Please advise. Thank you."</p>

<p>As of this posting, no response from either. My plan is to call them today after classes are over, and if I don’t reach them (likely) I’ll leave a message. If they don’t call back by Friday PM, I will call to make personal appointments for Monday.</p>

<p>What’s odd is his counselor turned around his twin brother’s rec in about ten days. Our high school is a large, though well regarded, public school in a suburban area. However there are only four counselors for about 1,600 students so I’m sure they're stretched. I certainly don’t want to alienate these people as time is short; but this is, after all, their job.</p>

<p>With campus visits, the teeth pulling to get essays written, whittling down the list of potential schools, etc., It’s frustrating to be 98% there and not have much control over this final 2%.</p>

<p>Has anyone here had a similar experience, if so what did you do?</p>

<p>Am I being too forward or pushy?</p>

<p>Any advice appreciated.</p>

<p>Yes you're being too pushy ... but I completely understand your motivations.</p>

<p>I see two issues:
(1) You're doing your S's work; and
(2) The assumption that your S's college application will be negatively effected by late recommendations.</p>

<p>I can't help you with (1). This is something you need to work out with your S. As for (2), you could call the college admissions office and ask how the college handles these types of situations. Being that your S is from a large HS, it's likely that the recommendations will be kind of generic anyway ... and as such, of little help to the admissions process. The college might even have a HS profile from the prior year. </p>

<p>Bottom Line: The college already has the important stuff ... and they'd really rather accept your S than reject him. Good luck!</p>

<p>Colleges know he recommendations will often arrivenlate and your email was not yours to send. Also it may have been sent just not input as they have thousands of pieces of paper or documents to log in. Your email assumes the worst of the counselournwho may very well have sent in the information and the school isnthe one lagging behind. The request coming from the parent was not the right move at all. No where in any of the correspondence should it say we....this should all have come from the son.</p>

<p>Were you intentionally trying to upset the people you asked for a recommendation so that they will be sure not to write a good one? If I were the teacher or the counselor, I would think so.</p>

<p>If it was your son knocking on my door and asking me those questions, I'd react quite differently and more positively. But coming from a parent. . .</p>

<p>I completely sympathize with the OP and am in a similar boat with my twins. My kids have worked hard to be on top of the process, but frankly, it's at the point where deadlines are fast approaching and counselors are not paying attention to the entreaties from my children. I've been in touch with my DD's counselor, who has been kind enough to respond to me & try to help, though there are still lots of kinks that need to be worked out (Naviance issues). Similarly, my husband was at my DS's school today to get another secondary school report signed by the counselor who failed to send the first one (though my DS turned in all his required information over a month ago and followed up with the administrative office several times). </p>

<p>Sometimes parents need to step in. I know that for many of my kids' apps, the apps are incomplete unless all items have been received; I find it frustrating when the kids and parents do everything necessary, but due to circumstances beyond their control, applications are in limbo.</p>

<p>I get that for counselors and teachers, this is the same old same old that takes place every fall. I don't entirely blame them for their sense of ennui, but I do have a problem with anything that negatively impacts my children's chances of being accepted into colleges.</p>

<p>the 11/1 deadline is the student deadline foe when information needs to be submitted. It is not the deadline for the teacher/counselor. As others have mentioned, the colleges will extend professional courtesy if they are late. If there is anything major, and your child is a viable candidate based on the information that s/he is responsible for, the regional rep will even call the counselor for a recommendation.</p>

<p>Newhope does bring up an excellent point, this is your child's application process not yours. It should be your child following up, communicating with teachers and counselors. You as the parent intervening does send the message that your child may lack the maturity, follow through to handle his/her own business and it could be negatively reflected in the recommendation. Believe me when I tell you that teachers/counselors do take not and it has shown up in the recommendations.</p>

<p>I don't think it's so bad for a parent to help with deadline stuff - but maybe suggest to your son to go in & ask the GC & teacher about whether thay need anything else. That way, if <em>they</em> are thinking about it the way some posters suggested, it will help assuage them.</p>

<p>My D's GC also was the last one to submit her recommendation for all the schools she applied too (even the ED one). I tried to call her once or twice but she didn't pick up, and I didn't want to leave a voicemail (trying not to hover). She actually took 2 weeks vacation in late October (which kind of seems like her "busy season"), so she was additionally backlogged when she returned.</p>

<p>It all got done. D didn't get into her ED school, but she got off the waitlist at another school where I believe the GC had some pull with the head of admissions. So the moral here is -- it's incredibly frustrating, but back off, because you don't want to antagonize the GC -- you may need them later.</p>

<p>Good luck.</p>

<p>I totally disagree with those posts about OP doing her son's work. I know for fact that many adults do not pay attention to students when they request for things. There has been so many instants when I contact the school I get instant action. This constant "it is your kid's job" is getting tiring. Your kid doesn't become some sort of incompetent idiot because you contacted the school on his behalf. Those seniors have so much on their plate at the moment, having parents drop by school with envelopes in hand to watch counselor stuff those envelopes maybe what's necessary right now. At a large school where there are 1000+ seniors, it is very easy for your kid to fall through the crack. </p>

<p>I am in constant contact with D2's counselor almost on a weekly basis since Sep. There is one cunselor for 200 kids, and we are used to have one per 40 at D2's other school. As much as I sympathize with their workload, my only concern is my kid doesn't fall through the crack.</p>

<p>D2 decided on her ED school early. We decided to submit her app on 10/8. Two weeks before hand, I emailed everyone who needed to do anything for her app (GC, teachers, private counselor, D2) a time line when they needed to turn in their stuff, got a confirmation from them, followed up with them 2 days prior, and the deadline was met.</p>

<p>OP - I would call today to make any appointment for Mon. When they see you are coming in, they will make an effort to get those letters out in order to prevent an unpleasant meeting.</p>

<p>I think that colleges do impose a deadline on the students, but in practice, they do not require that the recommendations be submitted by the same deadline. On the other hand, they will not consider your son's file until all the recommendations are in; and I suspect that there is some advantage in having a file that is among the first group to be read, as opposed to being read two or three weeks into the early action decision period.</p>

<p>As far as what do to: I'd say it depends on the views of the guidance counselor and teacher at the school. If they believe that it is your son's job to handle, then I'd suggest that you do nothing further, but perhaps your son could ask whether they need any more information for the recommendations on Friday. If he has accomplished anything of moderate significance since 9/13, he could mention that, as a way of opening the conversation.</p>

<p>A lot of people with many letters/issues to handle will time their work to "just meet" the deadlines. Sometimes people are so swamped that they only way they could work ahead would be to drop a project completely--not what is wanted.</p>

<p>On the other hand, I agree with oldfort to the extent that I have seen students being ignored or even treated rudely, when an adult can get a quick and pleasant-seeming response on the same issue. For the people who are advocating the stance, "hands-off, this is your son's responsibility," have you not encountered that phenomenon at your local school?</p>

<p>''For the people who are advocating the stance, "hands-off, this is your son's responsibility," have you not encountered that phenomenon at your local school?"</p>

<p>Sure, of course I have. And IF this was an issue with irreversible repercussions then a little unpleasantness would be the least of the offending GCs problems. But it isn't. Kids need to learn how things operate (or don't operate) ... how to decide when to be assertive. A late teacher recommendation the college will probably ignore anyway? Sounds like a perfect learning opportunity to me.</p>

<p>I agree it's your son's job, and also that with two weeks to go the counselor probably thinks they have lots of time. I also have read enough pop psychology to know that admissions officers may well admit more of the early early birds even though they don't mean to. That said, the hard and fast deadline is for students not teachers. We found that it was usually better if my son went in person to take care of stuff like this. Especially at a big school it puts a face on these kids.</p>

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I also have read enough pop psychology to know that admissions officers may well admit more of the early early birds even though they don't mean to.

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<p>It is not a pop psychology. At this year´s Yale presentation, the rep came flat out to say it is the case. They only have one month to do EA/ED, they often do not wait until 11/1 to start looking at all applications. Unlike RD, most schools say they do not start reviewing until after Jan 1.</p>

<p>I think people were a little harsh to OP. Nothing she wrote was horrible, though she should listen to the advice to let our son start taking the lead. I'm all for parents stepping in if the kid isn't getting anywhere, but in this case it did seem a little premature.</p>

<p>I think there is a better way to put subtle pressure on the counselor and teachers instead of pointing out that their part is not yet done and due asap. Turn it into a question - son is concerned that his app wont be read early and it will put him at a disadvantage - is this true? He really loves this school and has worked very hard to apply as early as possible.....etc.
I have always done this informally since it really is up to the student to manage. I think it's acceptable to bring it up at teacher conferences or casually when I see the teacher at school - thanking them for their recommendation and sharing how the particular school is such a great fit for my kid and how much work they have put into the application....creating a sense of partnership with them.</p>

<p>With all the budget cuts at public schools, those GCs are probably over worked and all they could do is to keep their head above water. Every school is different as far as how they cope with college process. As a parent, you need to adjust your involvement based on your school. I was more hands off with D1´s application because I had full faith in her school´s college counseling (4 for 120 students). With D2´s school (1 for 200 students), I am not going leave it up to them.</p>

<p>I sympathize with the OP - I am a real "drive to closure" person and it would drive me batty that there was a deadline and no apparent movement towards it. I agree with Youdon'tsay and think Shanghaimom's positioning is very smart.</p>

<p>I started building my relationship with D2´s GC and advisor last year. This is what D2´s GC wrote to me after her application was submitted and I thanked her for her assistance,"I must say that I really appreciate your attention to all of the details and most importantly advocating for your daughter!"</p>

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I agree it's your son's job, and also that with two weeks to go the counselor probably thinks they have lots of time.

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<p>I think different people perceive time differently. Seriously. My business partner and I go toe-to-toe on this all the time. She sees a deadline of 11/1 as meaning ... ok, I can get to it on 10/31 or the morning of 11/1 if need be and still get it in by end of day. I see a deadline of 11/1 as meaning ... I had better have it done and submitted by 10/15, because what if ... (I get in a car accident, the computer dies, I get overloaded at work, the dog eats my homework). Go back to Myers-Briggs - it's J vs P.</p>

<p>Pizzagirl - I am more like you, I always try to leave some extra time for unexpected. I have rarely missed a delivery at work.</p>