All you need to know about college recommendations

By Skylar Whitman, Staff Writer

College application deadlines are quickly approaching, and students are left with unanswered questions about the proper etiquette for asking and reminding teachers about recommendations.

Here are some tips for the students who need a little help in their hunt for the perfect recommendation.

Who?

With seven classes per semester, two semesters per year and four years at CHS, it is possible to have had about 60 different teachers. College and Career Information Coordinator Luana Zimmerman recommends that you do not consider your recommender solely on the class you got an easy A in.

“You should ask an academic teacher, one who knows you well,” Zimmerman said. “Not necessarily where you got the best grade.”

What?

Most schools require, or at least accept, teacher recommendations. A recommendation is a teacher’s reflection of who you are after teaching you.

According to Social Studies teacher Lallitha John, teachers are “honest and truthful in their recommendations.” Make sure you have been a good student in the class so that you will have a favorable recommendation.

The recommendation may include summaries of certain projects you partook in for the class or how the teacher felt about your contributions to the class.

When?

It’s never too early to start thinking about which teacher has made an impact on you during high school.

Freshmen, you may want to keep your current teachers in mind. Always make good first impressions and keep connections throughout the year.

Sophomores, start thinking about the teachers you have had the past two years, and make a mental note about the ones you have good relationships with.

Juniors, this year is crucial for figuring out which teacher to ask to write your recommendation.

“The best time to ask a teacher for a recommendation is spring of junior year,” Zimmerman said.

Seniors, it’s time to sit down with your recommender and discuss their willingness to write the recommendations, what their schedule is like, and what, if any, information they need from you. Some teachers may ask for you to give them things to write about such as your strengths and your favorite parts of their class, while others write their recommendation and send it to the schools you applied to without asking for your input at all.

Where?

When you are an incoming senior, you are given a Naviance account. This website keeps track of your applications, test scores, GPA and more.

According to Zimmerman, CHS faculty send documents to colleges through Naviance, so your recommender needs to know which colleges you are applying to whenever you have that information.

Their recommendations will be sent online through Naviance.

Why?

Recommendations are almost always helpful when submitting college applications because the recommendation will be a positive reflection on who you are. This should influence the college admissions counselors’ decision of whether you are suitable for their school.

How?

Some teachers get asked by hundreds of students every year, so being polite, pro-active and respectfully persistent when asking a teacher to write a recommendation is extremely important. Maintaining a good relationship with them throughout the year does not hurt either.

“Do not email the teacher,” social studies teacher Rodney Van Tassell said. “Ask in person.”

Making good impressions on your teachers is very important. In a few years, one of them may be writing a college recommendation that could help you get into your number one school.