Letters of Recommendation: Teachers

Carter House, Staff Writer

In the college application process, students must acquire two letters of recommendation from their past or current teachers. As the year progresses, an increased amount of students are rushing to find teachers to write a letter for them. With up to 20-30 letters to write over the course of the year, teachers have their own opinions on this high stress recommendation process.

Almost all letters of recommendation are written on a teacher’s own time. The school gives one day to teachers late in the second semester in order to complete letters, but one day can only go so far. Lisa Bargas, one of the more commonly asked teachers for these letters, writes mostly during her free time. “If you have a certain number of letters, they will give you a day to write letters, but it’s on your own time pretty much but except for that one day,” Bargas said.

You kind of have to think about giving a good idea of what each individual person can bring to a university or college”

— Fred Bandel

As each letter is written, the process becomes understandably repetitive. When writing over 20 unique reports, strategies must be implemented to avoid repetition. Fred Bandel, another teacher that sees many requests for letters, finds ways to personalize them. “I think it’s human nature that sometimes you find yourself writing similar things, but you have to kind of step back a bit and approach it on an individual basis. You kind of have to think about giving a good idea of what each individual person can bring to a university or college,” Bandel said.

So how can students ensure that their teachers write the best possible letter for them? The answer is to simply be a quality student. Although this seems like a cliche answer, it’s the truth. Actual positive interactions with a teacher in class leave more of an impression than anything else. An ‘A’ in their course doesn’t necessarily tell the full story. Seeing good character in the classroom is the best way to leave an impression on a teacher and lead to a great letter. “Just being a good citizen in class, and yeah, just being a good human.” Bargas said.