Rec letter - teacher leaving

<p>My son is a junior, and his beloved, favorite teacher is leaving to take a job in another state at the end of the school year. It's a small school, and he's had this teacher for two of the past years (he's also been one of his debate coaches the past two years).</p>

<p>Even though he will be gone this fall, we want him to write one of my son's letters of recommendation for him. All of his schools are common app schools, and I see from the prototype app for 2012-13 that the teacher is supposed to get an email link, then go to the rec form which includes bubbles to bubble in as well as a straight-up letter. I understand a teacher can also send in a written letter if he prefers, but I am so afraid it won't get done or it will get lost, and we'll never know. It seems a lot to ask this guy to wait and upload a rec to the Common App after August 1, when he has already moved on and will be getting started with a new job at a new school - running the entire language department.</p>

<p>We are not sure what to do, in order to ask him, what to ask him to do. Would a letter written now, on school letterhead, be as good an option as one on the Common App form? As I mentioned it is a very small school, and other than his English teacher, who will write the other letter, he doesn't have a lot of options for another recommender. At least not one who knows his work as well.</p>

<p>Also, will the schools care that the teacher is no longer at that school?</p>

<p>I also meant to mention that this teacher has to be nagged to write a letter. He actually missed the deadline for an internship my son was up for, despite being reminded almost daily up until the last day, when he apologized and said he just had too much on his mind. But he later wrote a glowing letter for my son for another summer program, which accepted him!</p>

<p>So not the best guy to just trust that it will get done from 350 miles away.</p>

<p>Near the end of the school year, I would have your son send him a letter of thanks for being such a great teacher, wish him the best of luck, etc, and ask if he could have his new contact information in order to get in touch with him for the recommendation in the fall. Then wait until maybe early October, after he’s had a chance to settle in but still plenty of time to get the rec done. I don’t think it matters to colleges if he transferred to another school, as that kind of thing happens all of the time.</p>

<p>I think you also need a plan B or backup teacher in case this just doesn’t end up working out. Maybe someone who has been through the Common App process can confirm, but I think you can track receipt of the recs and everything else through your account with them.</p>

<p>I would say pick another teacher. I know a kid who had a similar situation and the teacher who was now in the new job never did it for him despite promising to do it. At the 11th hour (like the day before the stuff was due) the kid had to get another teacher. So, skip all the pain and pick another teacher now. Once a teacher is 350 miles away in another school there is little motivation to make sure the letter gets done.</p>

<p>Thanks, it would be really hard to choose another teacher. The school is small, teachers keep leaving and moving around. He really only has one other academic teacher from upper level classes who knows him well enough to write a rec, but we need two.</p>

<p>What about the option of having him write the letter now, leaving it with the guidance counselor, and sending it in by mail in the fall? Does anyone have any experience with doing this? Does the common app allow for that?</p>

<p>I would have him do a to him it may concern rec now and file away or have gc hold it in sealed enevlopes. The gc can make the copies and help out.</p>

<p>Ask them formally, now.
Get their address or email address and keep in contact. If they’re leaving this year, you can give an addressed envelope. Otherwise, tell them to send it to your schools GC. That should work. I did this with one of my teachers.</p>

<p>And having a hard copy letter will make it into the common app file, even when everything else is submitted electronically? I don’t want to risk it not showing up for those schools that require two teacher recs.</p>

<p>The only way for the letter to not show up is if the teacher never mails them. Otherwise, the hard copy recommendation letters should be sent directly to the college admission office, not to somewhere Common App related. All you need to do is to elect on the Common App to not submit rec letters electronically. (At least that was the case three years ago…)</p>

<p>I think this is something for your son to ask his guidance counselor about (whether the teacher can leave his rec with the guidance office to be submitted later with the transcript). It can even serve as a great excuse for your son to get to know his guidance counselor better before senior year.</p>

<p>Thanks! Fortunately he knows his guidance counselor very well. I thought I read somewhere that you either had to submit all the attachments electronically, or all of them by hand. But whatever I saw was confusing, and that is why I posted this. Wondered if anyone had specific knowledge if this? I wouldn’t make everyone submit everything by hand just to accommodate one teacher.</p>

<p>Unfortunately you do either have to opt to submit all letters electronically or by hand, if I remember correctly. </p>

<p>When I was applying, all of my teachers preferred to snail mail the letters, but I think what they actually did was exactly what Seahorsesrock suggested: one copy to the guidance office which then photocopied and mailed the letters with the transcript. (Because now that I’ve thought about it, I don’t think I ever told any of my teachers which schools I was applying to in the first place!)</p>

<p>Best of luck with everything.</p>

<p>I used my English teacher from 11th grade for recommendations. She had left to take an Associate Professor position at Clemson. She is also sort of absent-minded when it comes to deadlines but she actually seemed to do okay with getting the electronic submissions in. If you have a line of communication like e-mail, telephone, or (in my case) Facebook it is easier.</p>

<p>Apart from asking the teacher – ask the GC for advice. Your son may not be the only student hoping to rely on this teacher for recommendations.</p>

<p>Overall, your son may have to email, or otherwise keep touch with the teacher. Also, he needs a plan B. Again, this starts with the GC – S/he can write in the GC letter that academic teacher who you were closest with has left the school, and that it’s a small school IF s/he thinks it appropriate.</p>