5 Senior Year and Letters of Recommendation

Mr. Iain McClinton


Presentation Materials

Recommendation Request Template

5.1 Tips to Own Your Senior Year

“Senioritis” is the term that defines the self-sabotaging disease that infects millions of high school seniors across the world each year.

Its symptoms often include a lazy approach to school, the feeling of being overwhelmed with assignments and college applications, and an intense desire for the year to end as quickly as possible. This “disease” can even affect students with a perfect track record.

5.1.1 Figure out what you’re looking for and make a game plan

Who are you? This is a deep question, and from this day on you will be spending a lot of time answering it.

  • Where? Where do you want to apply?
  • What? What subject area do you want to study?
  • Why? Why are you interested in this particular school or field of study?
  • How? How do your personality, abilities, and ambitions fit the school or course?

Will you drown in the sea of students in massive lecture halls? Or, are you okay with having small classes where you might need to participate more? City, suburbs, or rural area? Are there majors or programs that peak your interest? How many schools are you going to apply to? The more you plan in the beginning, the less complicated the application process will be. You’ll be able to safely say, “this school is one I should apply to while this other one doesn’t meet my criterion.”

5.1.2 Research schools starting NOW!

The earlier you begin to research colleges, the better. And, I don’t use the term research lightly. Choosing a college is a big decision, and a lot of thought needs to go into it. The more you learn about the school, the more educated decisions you’ll be able to make.

  • Browse: See if professors from the school have videos on YouTube.
  • Investigate: Look through the internship opportunities and affiliations the school may have.
  • Gather: Gather data on class size, graduation rates, tuition, clubs, and housing.
  • Collate: Create a spreadsheet of your findings.

5.1.3 Get to know your college counselor

Your college counselors really want you to end up in a school that is a great fit for you. However, it’s hard to guide a student when you don’t really know much about him/her outside of a GPA and standardized test scores.

The more your counselor knows you, the more he or she can help you make good decisions for your future. Colleges require a letter of recommendation from a school counselor. The more he/she knows about you, the better your letter will be.

  • Teams
  • Cialfo
  • E-mail
  • Class
  • Meetings

5.1.4 Seek advice from trusted sources

Learn from the professionals and those who’ve done this before and keep notes of their advice.Parents, friends, agents, and family members will love to give you advice on your college applications, but be very careful. Well-meaning advice can also be misleading advice.

  • College counselors
  • Admission officers
  • Current students
  • Official websites
  • Official social media

5.2 Teacher Recommendations

Your GPA is NOT the only factor! How can you help your teacher colleagues write effective recommendations?

Colleges need help deciding if a student has the character and ability to function successfully at their institution. A strong teacher recommendation can bring a student to life for the admission committee and may be the decisive factor for students with weaker grades or test scores.

Teacher recommendations are appraisals of your academic performance and intellectual promise. They convey the teacher’s classroom experience with you, giving colleges an idea of how you perform academically as an individual and in a classroom context.

  • Does your teacher really know who you are?
  • Are you vocal in the classroom?
  • Do you collaborate well?
  • Do you add positivity to a discussion?
  • Do you come prepared to class?
  • Do you move beyond the set task?

If you responded negatively to any of the thought questions, now is the time to change how you interact with your teachers!

5.2.1 Requirements of the Teacher Recommendation

Q: How many Letters of Recommendation do I need? A: Most Colleges will ask for two letters of recommendation from current teachers, but each institution has different requirements.

Q: Who can write my Letter of Recommendation? A: To start, it always makes sense to ask a high school teacher with whom you have a good relationship.

Q: Does it matter what subject area they teach? A: Yes and no! It is important to have one teacher LOR from the Humanities & Social Sciences, and one teacher from a STEM subject. It would be natural to select one teacher in a subject area closely aligned to your course interests at college.

Q: Will I know what they write about me? A: No, teachers do not write negative recommendations. All recommendations are written to play to your strengths and not your failings.

Tip: Cultivate a relationship with your recommenders. Teachers will not write these recommendations immediately, so you still have time to let them get to know you.

As soon as possible, you should approach potential recommenders to obtain an informal agreement that they are willing to write a recommendation letter in support of your application. Should they agree, you must write a recommendation request for each of your recommenders by May 26th.

5.2.2 Step-by-Step

How to formally request a teacher recommendation:

  1. Informally and politely request that a specific teacher(s) agree to write you a letter of recommendation.
  2. Receive from your individual college counselor via TEAMS 2 TEACHER LOR REQUEST FORMS; The forms will be clearly named STEM & HUMANITIES (one of each).
  3. Complete the 2 TEACHER LOR REQUEST FORMS in relation to the teacher(s) who have agreed to write a recommendation for you.
  4. Share with the teacher(s) who have agreed to write you a letter of recommendation and with your individual college counselor.
  5. Upload the documents and submit a formal request on CIALFO.

If you have any doubts about which teacher(s) should be writing your recommendation(s), speak with your individual college counselor as soon as possible.

If you need any advice on supplementary recommendations from a non-academic teacher (art/music teacher), speak with your college counselor as soon as possible.