We require two recommendations from teachers who have taught you in an academic subject: high school teachers for first-year applicants and college instructors for transfer applicants. Academic subjects, as defined for the purposes of letters of recommendation, include mathematics, social studies, history, science, English or literature, foreign language, and other courses in which you are doing substantial amounts of reading, writing, or class discussion. If you have questions about whether a particular course is a good choice, feel free to contact your regional Admissions Counselor.
Ask for recommendations from teachers who know you well and can speak specifically and positively about your contributions in the classroom, academic interest, and interactions with classmates. This does not necessarily need to be the teacher who gave you the best grades, but instead someone who best knows your academic personality and thinks highly of you. Plan to have a brief conversation with your recommender to give them context on your educational plans, as this can be helpful in writing a more detailed letter.
As teachers are often writing letters of recommendation on their own time and are therefore not getting paid to do it, we also strongly encourage students to write their recommenders a thank you note.
Submitting Letters of Recommendation
All school counselors and teachers have the option of submitting letters of recommendation and school forms online via the Coalition Application or Common Application. They should follow the instructions on the relevant application for submitting these forms. Teachers and counselors may print out and submit these forms on paper even if you submit your application online. Letters of recommendation must come directly from the recommender and should not be sent by the applicant.
If your recommenders are most comfortable writing in a language other than English, they may. Have them submit the original letter accompanied by a translation.
If you feel that we won't be able get a full picture of who you are without a third letter of recommendation from another teacher, an employer, role model, youth leader, or friend, you may submit one additional letter. Submitting a supplemental letter of recommendation is not an expectation, and please be considerate of the significant time commitment writing a good letter of recommendation takes before asking a potential recommender.
If you are a transfer applicant and feel that you have not had satisfactory contact with professors at your college or university, we recommend that you give one of the forms to a teaching assistant or lab instructor who may have had more experience working with you.