Letters Of Recommendation
How and when do I ask for Teacher/Counselor Recommendations?
You should ask the teacher, counselor, or mentor in person if they will write the recommendation on your behalf. Students should plan to ask people early in the fall semester of their senior year. Be sure to ask at least a month in advance of your first application deadline.
How much time should I give to my recommendation writers?
Please give your teacher, counselor, or college counselor a minimum of 3 - 4 working weeks (not calendar weeks) before the deadline to complete their part of your application. This is especially true for December 1st deadlines (Thanksgiving holidays fall before this due date) and January 1st deadlines (winter holiday break falls before this due date).
How many recommendation letters do I need?
The more selective colleges and universities (Common Application member schools) typically require 3 letters of recommendation as part of the application process. Texas PUBLIC colleges and universities do not REQUIRE letters of rec to have a completed application. However, students can send in letters of rec separately to the admissions office or program to which they're applying if the need arises.
Letters of rec can come from:
- High School counselor or college counselor
- Two classroom teachers (typically one Math or Science and one English or Social Studies)—teachers from core academic subjects in the junior year are preferred.
- Letters from mentors or members of the community are usually permitted (check with your specific colleges), but these are considered supplementary letters and are sent in addition to (not in lieu of) your counselor and teacher recommendations. Same thing goes for letters from fine arts elective teachers.
Note: When you ask a teacher or a counselor to write your recommendation, they will write one letter and you can send it to all of your schools. You do not need to ask 5-6 teachers to write for 5-6 different schools.
I’m only applying to public institutions in Texas. Do I need a recommendation letter?
Texas public institutions, e.g. UT, Texas A&M, etc., do not require recommendation letters, but these letters - in some cases - can help strengthen your application file. You will, however, mostly need letters of rec for scholarships.
Once my teachers and counselor have agreed to write my letter, what do I need to give them?
You should give your recommendation writers a folder with the following documents:
- a list of schools you’re applying to with appropriate deadlines
- copy of your resume
- brag sheet responses
- parent brag sheet responses
- teacher interaction sheet
- any other related documents
- stamped, addressed envelopes (if applicable)
**Most Akins teachers and counselors do NOT use Naviance to send your materials to your schools. If you are using the Common App to submit your application, you will need to talk with your recommenders. Since most teachers will mail your letters of rec, you must provide them with forms and envelopes for all of your schools.
What are you looking for exactly in my brag sheet/teacher interaction sheet responses?
Students—this shouldn’t be cause for stress. Think about it as good practice for your college application essays. We’re especially looking for things that won’t already be presented in your application. We want to provide a new, interesting glimpse of you as a student and individual. Parents—this is your chance to brag, brag, brag since most students tend to be pretty modest in their responses. We love the brag sheets, especially parent brag sheets. Give us lots of examples and anecdotes; they make your letters come to life!