Instructions for College Recommendation Letters
- If you are applying to one or more private colleges, you are allowed a maximum of two teacher recommendations, as well as a counselor letter from the college counselor to whom you are assigned (either Ms. Mohammad or Mrs. Shepperd). Please choose your teachers ASAP, and politely ask them in person. You don't have to ask for your college counselor's letter -- it happens automatically!
- If you are applying early action/early decision and/or have a scholarship deadline that must be met before January 1st, you must submit the Early Action/Early Decision Contract to your college counselor and have asked two teachers to write your recommendation by the last Friday in September. For students only applying via regular-decision your deadline to ask teachers for recommendations is by the last Friday in October -- but be aware that if certain teachers are being overwhelmed with too many requests coming their way, they have the right to say no. Accordingly, we recommend that you do not wait until the last minute.
- The California public universities -- the CSU and UC campuses -- don't require or accept letters (except in some rare instances or special programs, such as the College of Creative Studies at UC-Santa Barbara). So if this is the only college plan you're following, don't worry about rec letters. Out-of-state public universities each have their own procedures, so you'll have to read the instructions on their websites -- some require letters and others don't.
- You are absolutely not allowed to read your rec letters or lay your hands on them at any time, so please don't ask, and know that you are never the middle man between procuring the letter and sending it to the college regardless of any specific college program's instructions to the contrary. See your assigned college counselor if there's an issue. Rec letters are a matter of high confidentiality between high schools and colleges, and we take this issue very seriously.
- Important -- always waive your right via Naviance to read the letters or else the college admissions office won't take the rec letters into significant consideration. There is always a box to check on either the Common App or any hard copy transmittal form. Look for it and check it.
- If your application(s) is/are being sent via Common App, you will not need to list your teacher recommenders on the application (it will get the info from Naviance once the two programs are matched). Please be very patient with your writers. Be aware that the teacher and counselor recommendation letters will not be pulled from a server, until the student has submitted his/her application. Your deadlines are hard and ours are static. So please just relax. Just do your part and we will take care of ours.
- If any of your rec letters are to be sent via snail mail (whenever possible, choose an electronic option, with the first choice being Common App -- it's just easier), please follow this procedure: Print the transmittal form(s) off the college's website. They are usually forms that are attached to the application, and are often called the Secondary School Report and/or Teacher Recommendation. Fill out the top portion (your information), waive your reading rights, sign it and then give all the forms to your college counselor.
- A few colleges (for example, CalArts) have their own custom-designed online application delivery systems, and each of them vary in terms of how rec letters, transcripts and other supporting docs are delivered. Some ask teachers/counselors for online uploading, and others ask for snail-mailed paperwork. Just carefully read each college's instructions and options, and follow through as instructed.
- Remember this number that's almost always called the high school's CEEB code or ACT code: 054046. Sometimes a college's form wants the hyphen added to it, thus it's then 054-046. Whichever version, know that it's always requested, so go ahead and memorize it now and try to restrain yourself from emailing your college counselor every time it comes up. We probably get this email three times per day for months.
Any questions, email your assigned college counselor.