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Reference letter for American applicants?

yertav44yertav44 0 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
Hello! I'm an American high school student currently planning on applying to schools in the UK. I was a bit confused about the requirements for the reference letter, which seems somewhat different from the American version based on what I've read. For example, is it really necessary for your letter-writer to predict your grades on the tests you will be taking? I'm planning on asking my math teacher, and I don't know if she would be able to predict what I'd get on the AP Bio exam.
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Replies to: Reference letter for American applicants?

  • Twoin18Twoin18 1596 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Yes it is important and your math teacher should consult with your bio teacher if need be (and spend time understanding what the UK universities want to see in the reference). It is a non-trivial burden for a US teacher if they have never done such a reference before, so be nice (but also make sure it isn't left until the last moment because you can't submit until after they have filled in their part).

    You may get a conditional offer based on these AP scores, so you want them to be achievable, but not so low that you get turned down. Many US teachers will just predict all 5s, since there are essentially no consequences for them (unlike in the UK where schools are scrupulous in trying to be accurate, since they will send many applications to that university every year). That's not unreasonable since at higher ranking universities you'll probably need a 5 in any subject that is related to your planned course. Most UK admissions officers will think anything less than a 5 is pretty poor.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6727 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Help your referee by showing them this link:

    https://www.ucas.com/advisers/references/how-write-ucas-undergraduate-references

    Read it yourself first and put together a (written) list of bullet points for them to refer to as they write the essay. Remind them of the things they already know about you, including examples.

    The assumption is that you are applying to study math- if you are not, you need to ask your GC or the subject teacher closest to what you are applying to study. It's not about the teacher "liking" you, but being best able to discuss how suited to the course you are.
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  • chzbrgrchzbrgr 201 replies12 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    In the UK the reference letters are quite disjointed. Typically a pupil will be studying 3 or 4 subjects, and there will be one paragraph from each subject teacher together with a general introduction to the school.
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