A Guide to Letter of Recommendation-By Grade Level

Haili Ayala

Staff Writer

Freshman year:

  1. Start making connections with your teachers-  Colleges prefer to receive letters of recommendations from teachers you had in 9-11th grade, not so much your Senior year teachers. You also want to have a teacher who really knows you to write your letter of recommendation. By engaging with teachers from the beginning, you will have a lot of options for whom to chose to write your letter.  
  2. Get involved- It is important to get involved with your community and school as much as you can. Accordingly, senior year when you have to complete a brag sheet you will have a lot to write for your qualities as a student.
  3. Join clubs– Club rush is an amazing opportunity at the beginning of each year to sign up for several clubs. Try to attend their first meetings then narrow down which clubs you truly enjoy. Joining clubs is very important for several reasons. It counts as an extracurricular (this can be something you can write about on your brag sheet) and can lead you into the right direction to find your interests.

Sophomore year:

  1. Repeat the prior steps 1-3– Through your high school career, never stop developing relationships with your teachers, and continue to get involved as much as you can.
  2. Try new things- Volunteer for organizations that you think may fall into a category that interest you. You will never know until you try. Come Senior year, it’s important that you have an idea of what you want to major in. So get ahead and start finding your passion early on.
  3. Choose electives– Start preparing to take classes Junior year that interest you. Senior year,when you want to get into a college for an art, personal training, biology, etc., these teachers can write your letters of recommendation.  Sophomore year is when grades begin to be heavily weighted by colleges.

Junior year:

  1. Start to narrow down your interests– It is important to find your interests at an early age. So you can start to plan your future. Decide what subjects mean most to you and make sure you are taking steps to become more familiar and educated with those subjects. Continue to have your relationships grow with the teachers who teach the subjects that mean most to you.
  2. Start to plan the future- Begin to start thinking about what college you want to attend and what you may want to major in. Then, read about what type of letter of recommendations each school that interests you requires.
  3. Talk to your teachers about the major that interests you- Make sure to start taking classes (even ap classes) that correlate with your desired major. When you apply for colleges Senior year and write down your major, this will make you stand out.


Senior year:

  1. Choose the teachers you want to write your letters of recommendation– Take time to think about this decision. The teachers you choose are very important. You will want to choose a teacher who can say something positive about you. For example, if you have an idea of what you want your major to be in college, choose a teacher who taught a similar class to that major. It is also important to choose a teacher who really knows you; keep in mind that this teacher should be one of your previous years of high school.  
  2. Start your brag sheet early– You will receive a brag sheet from counselors Senior year. But if you really want to be ahead you can print one from the Bonita website. Before you even write your brag sheet, plan it out. Make sure you are very specific so it can be easily understood by teachers. This will take time so start it early and get it into your chosen teacher as soon as possible. The more time you give your teacher to complete the letter of recommendation, the better it will be.
  3. Request the recommendation- Do this in person, or include a cover letter with a formal request. This shows respect for the time and effort the recommender puts into your letter. Besides, it is good etiquette. It should be a two weeks notice request, so your teacher has more than enough time to complete your recommendation.
  4. Have an envelope ready to go- This should be an envelope you provide for your recommenders. It should already be addressed and stamped. This way your teacher doesn’t have to go out of their way to do this for you.
  5. Thank your teacher- Make sure to thank your teacher for taking time out of their busy schedule to write this for you. After completing all these steps you are set with your recommendation!


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