Letter of Recommendation (Seniors)


When applying to a 4-year institution, mostly private colleges/universities, a Secondary School Report and letter(s) of recommendation may be required.

Steps to Request Counselor Recommendation for Seniors

  1. Read through Steps to Request for Counselor Letter/School Report

  2. Complete a Letter of Recommendation Questionnaire at least a month before your first deadline and share it with Ms. Chung via email: schung@hbuhsd.edu

  3. Once your LOR questionnaire is received, you will receive a calendar link to schedule a LOR meeting. 

Guidelines to Request Teacher Recommendation

Private colleges and universities often ask for letters of recommendation from academic teachers. Keep in mind that teachers, especially 11th grade teachers, may receive multiple requests for teacher recommendations. Ask early and have back-up teachers in mind, if they are unable to write you one.

  1. Ask your teacher in person at least 4 weeks before your first deadline

  2. If your teacher agrees, ask them what they may need to complete the LOR. What’s usually helpful to provide: 
    -Your college list with deadlines and intended major(s)
    -Resume or brag sheet - list of activities, awards, leadership
    Short written reflection of your experience in the class

  3. Invite teacher as a recommender on the online application. You will need the teacher’s full name and email.

  4. Appropriately thank your teacher afterwards. It can be as simple as a thank you note. Don’t miss this step!

  5. Update your recommenders as you hear back from colleges and make your college decision.

Which teacher should I ask?

  • Recent. 11th grade is best, 10th grade is great. 9th grade can be a bit far back, unless it’s a teacher you’ve maintained an active relationship with or may have again for senior year. 

  • Knows you best. Have a connection to you, can share stories about you, can bring you to life in the letter.

  • Academic: Ask teachers in core subjects including math, English, science, social science or world language.

  • VPA: May help applicants in visual/performing arts majors to ask a teacher in VPA classes. 


How many should I send?

More is not better. Send however many the college is asking for. It is not necessary to send more letters beyond what’s being asked for. Only send an additional LOR if it can add significant value. Choose “focused, targeted endorsements.”

Respect the time of the admissions reader. A student should not send more than 3 LOR, unless it’s specifically requested for. Be mindful of the admission reader who is spending time reading your application. Remember, you are not trying to “build a case” for your application by submitting more LORs. It’s more strategic to submit quality letters in the amount that is being requested for, rather than submitting more letters than what’s required.

Should I waive my FERPA rights?

Yes. It is in the student's best interest to sign the FERPA Waiver on the Common Application. Waiving your right lets colleges know you do not intend to read your recommendation letters later on.
Still have questions? Check out
this blogpost for more information. 

MIT blog: Recommendation Letters

How to Get a Great LOR

How to Ask for a LOR

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