Requesting Recommendation Letters

Step-by-Step Guide to Letters of Recommendation

  • Check each college’s admission requirements carefully to determine if they require transcripts, letters of recommendation, additional testing, or any other documentation.
  • If a college does require a letter from a teacher, they typically only need one. Some colleges accept a letter from a teacher OR counselor. Very few colleges actually require two teacher letters of recommendation (list provided on Naviance homepage).
  • Do not ask for multiple letters of recommendation if they are not needed.

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. Thoughtfully complete the Teacher Letter of Recommendation Survey. You can find the link to the survey on your Naviance home page. Your answers will be emailed to your teacher when you submit the form.

Counselor’s Tip: Ask this spring before you leave for summer break. Give your teacher plenty of time to write the best letter he or she can on your behalf! NOTE: You should always give your teacher a minimum of three weeks to write your letter.

Who Should I Ask to Complete my Teacher Letter of Recommendation?

Colleges want to hear from teachers who have taught you most recently, so it makes sense to ask teachers from your junior year. Ask teachers from academic areas like English, world language, math, science, or social studies.

If a Counselor Letter of Recommendation is Required:

1. In the fall, schedule a meeting with your counselor well before your earliest application deadline. If a Counselor Letter/Evaluation is required for your applications, complete the Counselor Letter of Rec Survey form. 

2. Encourage your parent(s) to complete the Senior Parent Questionnaire next fall. Your counselor can use your parent’s feedback in writing their letter.

NOTE: You should give your counselor at least three weeks before a college deadline to write your letter. They are writing many letters, so advance notice is critical.