Requesting Recommendation Letters

Teacher Letter of Recommendation

Do you need a Teacher Letter of Recommendation?

Most colleges do not require letters of recommendation. Check the requirements on your college admission website to see if a letter of recommendation is required.

Colleges that would like a letter of recommendation usually only require one. Some colleges accept a letter from a teacher OR counselor. Check the college's website!

Which teacher(s) should you ask?

Colleges prefer that you have letters from teachers whom you have had for junior or senior core-level subjects. Ask teachers from academic areas like English, international language, math, science, or social studies.

Ask teachers who can write the strongest letters for you even if they are in similar subject areas.

If a Teacher Letter of Recommendation is Required:

  1. Ask your teacher in person if he or she would be willing to write a letter on your behalf.

  2. Once the teacher has agreed to write your letter, log in to your Naviance account.

  3. Click on the Colleges, then Apply to College, then on Letters of Recommendation.

  4. Click on Add Request. Select the name of the teacher who will be writing your recommendation from the drop-down menu.

  5. Under Select Which Colleges This Request Is For, click on Choose Specific Colleges.

  6. NOTE: after you have entered your request, you will see how many letters are required by the university, allowed but NOT required, and how many you have already requested. Two dashes means zero. See your counselor or the CRC if you have questions about how many letters to submit.

  7. Write a personal note to your teacher. Include information on the colleges you are considering, your earliest deadline, and an effusive THANK YOU! Hint: if you are asking for a letter from your international language teacher, earn some points by writing in that language!       

     Sample Note to Teacher:  “Dear Mr. Smith: Thank you so much for agreeing to write my letter of recommendation. I have completed the Teacher Recommendation Survey on Naviance for you. And I’m planning to apply to several schools with a November 1 deadline. If you need any additional information, you can email me at _____. Just let me know. THANK YOU!”
  8. Select Submit Request.

  9. Follow up with your teacher to ensure they received your request.

  10. Thoughtfully complete the Teacher Letter of Rec Survey for each teacher you request. The survey is located under About Me>Surveys. Save your answers once you are finished. Inform your teacher that the survey has been completed, as he or she can access the form in Naviance.

Counselor Letter of Recommendation

If a Counselor Letter of Recommendation is Required:

  • BEFORE you meet with your counselor, complete the Counselor Letter of Rec Survey in Naviance under About Me>Surveys.  

  • NOTE: You should give your counselor at least three weeks before a college deadline to write your letter!

  • Encourage your parent(s) to complete the Senior Parent Questionnaire on Naviance, as well.  Your counselor can use your parent’s feedback in writing their letter.