College Counseling

Request a Teacher Recommendation

List of 7 frequently asked questions.

  • Q How many teacher letters of recommendations do I need?

    It is a myth that you need three or four letters of recommendation. In fact, the colleges strongly prefer that you stick to their requests. An additional recommendation should only ever be attached if it truly introduces new information not found in other letters or admission documents. Also, keep in mind that your college counselor writes a recommendation letter for you as part of the “Counselor Report” on the Common Application.

  • Q Which teacher should I ask to write a letter?

    Select a teacher from a core academic course in your Junior year. Or, if you feel that you have a strong rapport with a teacher in a class you really enjoy in your senior year, it might make sense for you to ask that teacher. If you are applying Early Action, however, you’ll want to feel comfortable enough and have enough coursework completed to be able to ask the teacher by October 1 so that he/she has enough notice and time to write a letter on your behalf.

    If you are fairly set on applying with the intention of majoring in math, science, or engineering, we highly recommend that at least one recommendation letter is from a math or science teacher.

    If you are having a difficult time choosing who to ask, take a look at the attached “Student Reflection Log.”  Think about what comes naturally to your mind when you think of the courses you had last (or this) year.
  • Q If a teacher no longer works at Brophy, can I still ask for a recommendation?

    Only if the teacher specifically left you contact information to do so. Otherwise it is in your best interest to choose a different teacher.
  • Q How much advance notice do I need to give my teacher?

    Early Action request deadline: October 1
    Regular Action request deadline: November 1
  • Q I’ve decided who I would like to ask to write my letter – now what?!

    1. Be sure your College Questionnaire is completed in Naviance. Your college counselor and teacher can access this helpful information.

    2. Ask your teacher in person if they would do you the favor of writing on your behalf.

    3. Fill out the attached reflection log and e-mail it to your teacher. Be thoughtful! This piece will be helpful to your teachers as they do the best they can to write a unique and effective letter on your behalf. Remember that some schools receive many applications from Brophy in a single year, and many of the same teachers are asked to write recommendation letters.  How can you help your teacher to make  your letter different? Take some time to fill out the reflection log thoughtfully! Your teachers spend hours of their personal time doing this for you and will appreciate your thoughts as well. Take as much freedom as you want with this – feel free to include personal anecdotes, experiences or conversations you had with a teacher outside the classroom, or perhaps share something with them about the course or their teaching that you never did before.

    4. (This step only for students applying to Barrett Honors College, otherwise go to Step 5.) If applying to Barrett, follow the Barrett Instructions on their website – their app goes live after September 4. 

    5. Log in and register with the Common Application if you have not already done so at Write down your username and password!  

    6. Log into your Naviance account and:
      Click on “Colleges” tab

      Click on “Colleges I’m Applying To”

      In the big blue box, check “yes” to waive your rights (we suggest this), then check the next box to allow your documents to be released, and then enter your Common Application username and password.  Now your Common Application and Naviance accounts are linked.

      Under “Teacher Recommendations” click on “add/cancel” requests. Select your teacher from the dropdown menu, add a nice note, scroll down and click “Add requests.”

      Your teacher has her/his own Naviance account and will be able to log in and fill out the forms requested as well as upload a rec letter. It is important that you keep your “Colleges I’m Applying To” tab updated in Naviance with the correct deadlines (Early vs. Regular), so that your teacher is aware of the deadlines. Your teacher will complete these things and they will be sent electronically to each college in your “Colleges I’m Applying To” list.  Therefore it is important that your Naviance list is the same as the list of schools in the Common Application.
  • Q What if I am applying to a school that asks for a letter and accepts letters electronically, but does not use the Common Application?

    We’ll still be able to send the rec letter electronically. Just be sure that the school is listed in your “Schools I’m Applying To” list in Naviance.
  • Q Do I have to wait until I submit my application to ask for a recommendation letter/Do I have to wait for the recommendation letter to submit my application?

    You can submit your application before your teacher submits your recommendation letters, and vice versa. Submit your application as soon as it is completed, and the teacher letters will follow and be matched with your application. Or if they are ready earlier, they will be matched when your application is submitted.

    This is a lot of information, and it might feel confusing until you are physically doing this online. If you run into more questions or issues, please contact your college counselor.