Timing of LOR requests in Common App?

I realized I don’t know the answer to AmyIzzy’s question (quoted below), so I’m asking here:

In the Common App, what triggers the LOR request to be sent to teachers and counselors?

  • Is a LOR request sent when the recommender is invited and assigned in the Common App? Can recommenders go ahead and complete their letters before the student submits the application?
  • Or is the request sent when the student’s application is actually submitted to the college, in which case the app may need to be completed and submitted early, in order to give the recommender time to write and submit a letter?

Here’s how it worked at our D’s high school: they used Naviance which was linked to Common App. The counselor uploaded the transcript, counselor letter and LORs all at once on a particular day to all the schools. My D submitted most apps a week to 10 days before the deadline so most schools received these documents a few days after app submission but in a couple of cases, it was the other way around. So not directly linked to clicking “submit”.
For the 2 schools on D’s list that did not use the Common App she provided the school’s email address to the counselor and she mailed them directly.

Hope that helps.


Thanks! Our school does not use Naviance. The counselor said that requests are supposed to go through the Common App, but didn’t give us any more detail about how this is supposed to work.

1 Like

Still trying to figure out how Common App works, for a school that doesn’t use Naviance… I’m assuming that the help text below means that the email to the recommender is sent immediately, as soon as the recommender is assigned, and they can then complete the letter as soon as they are ready.

“Once you’ve added your Teacher or Other Recommender to your “Invite and Manage Recommenders” list, you’ll need to assign them to a college so that the Common App knows to send that recommendation to that school. This lets you decide which colleges receive certain recommendations. Assigning a recommender to at least one college also generates the invitation email to be sent to the recommender.


1 Like

That’s right. It’s all asynchronous - your app submission, receipt of LORs, transcripts, etc can all happen in parallel at different times. But the expectation is that they’re all in by the application deadline. Some schools will give some leeway for LORs and transcripts arriving a “bit” after the deadline but best not to take chances.

Once an application is submitted you’ll receive a link to the school’s application portal and you use that (not the CA) for all future interactions. So one of the first things you should do on each portal is verify that all required documents have been received.