Preparing for College

Can Senior Use References from Soph Teachers at Former School?

Question: I attended one school up until 10th grade and then did my 11th and 12th elsewhere. Is it okay if my recommendation letters and counselor rec are from teachers from my previous school or do they have to be from the most recent school attended?

Colleges prefer recommendations from teachers who taught you in 11th or 12th grade. Whether a student is in a new school or not, sophomore teachers are not the best choices for the two primary faculty references, unless they’ve also taught the applicant as a junior or senior (which, of course, in your case won’t be possible).

So I suggest that you ask teachers from your current school to write your required references but then send a reference from a sophomore teacher at your old school as a supplementary one. Your counselor letter should definitely be from your current counselor.

Although admission officials don’t like to be flooded with unsolicited recommendations, one or sometimes even two judicious extra submissions are fine, particularly when there are extenuating circumstances---and starting a new school as a junior can count as “extenuating.”

(posted 11/30/2010)