As college application deadlines loom around the corner, seniors are swarming to get their letters of recommendation.
Students seeking letters call upon their teachers and counselors, with some teachers receiving significantly more requests than others. This causes a rush to claim them to write letters, and competition amongst students for letters of recommendation grows even busier for students with early decision and early action deadlines.
“A lot of my friends have already claimed teachers to do their letters, so I’m really worried about finding teachers to write mine,” said Madison Barney, a Sonora High School senior. “With so many senior students competing to claim teachers, it’s vicious trying to find multiple teachers who would be willing to write my letters of recommendation.”
With most early decision deadlines towards the beginning of November, seniors balance their academic performance with college testing such as the SAT and the ACT, completing their college essays, and submitting additional writing supplements. The worry of claiming teachers for letters of recommendation is thus increased because the application process itself is long and time-consuming.
Many are applying to schools through the Common Application system, which includes lengthy online questions and writing supplements through which teachers are able to submit their letters. For students applying to the Universities of California (UC), there is a separate application process for the UC System in which they must also answer questions online by November 30.
“I’m most worried about getting letters since I have to rely solely on those teachers, especially since they have their own families and jobs and so little time,” said Barney.
Since some teachers list students to write letters for, seniors are rushing to be first in line for their desired teachers; Many asked their teachers towards the beginning of August. Seniors tend to request letters from teachers who recognize them well and in whose classes they’ve earned good grades.
Allyson Irwin, a Sonora High School senior, said, “Although I don’t need any letters of recommendation for the colleges that I’m applying to, I know a lot of friends that do and they tell me of all the stress they are going through. I feel bad for them because they are struggling to find enough teachers to write them a good recommendation. Some teachers have extra requirements in order to write a recommendation so it’s hard for students to gather that and do all their homework in addition.”
“I also think that it is unfair to teachers because they have their own work load of grading papers,” said Irwin. “They can’t focus on their own classes because instead they are helping individual senior students.”
For students not applying for Early Action, regular decision deadlines are towards the end of December and the beginning of January.