College Recommendation Letters

Update: I am so sorry, but I have now committed to writing as many college recommendation letters as I am able for the 2018-2019 school year.  I cannot grant any more requests for letters until August, 2019.


Requesting a Recommendation

I regret that I am unable to write letters for all students who ask!  Believe me, if I could, I would!  Nothing gives me more satisfaction than playing a role in your getting into the college of your dreams.  Unfortunately, as I teach 165 juniors each year, there is no way I would be able to accommodate all those students who want letters from me.

In fairness to all, I have instituted a sort of lottery system.  In addition to the obvious random nature, I also like this system because I’ve always found that a first-come-first-served system holds at a disadvantage those students who may be the first in their families to go to college and thus may be a little further behind in the planning process.  I don’t believe these students should be penalized for having to navigate an unfamiliar system.


Lottery System

If you would like to have me as a recommender, please see me in person outside of class on or before Thursday, September 5, 2019.  After we confirm that I would be an appropriate letter-writer for you, I will place you in the lottery.  On September 6, 2019, I will let you know if I am able to write your letter or not. 

Please do not e-mail requests to me.  We must talk in person for me to consider your recommendation request.

If I am able to accommodate all requests I receive by September 13th and am still able to commit to writing more letters, I will accept requests on a first-come-first-served basis until my dance card is full.




Once we’ve talked in person and we’ve confirmed that I’m able to write your letter of recommendation, please complete the following steps by your deadline.


If your earliest deadline is…               I need your materials by…

Before Nov. 1                               1 month before your earliest deadline

Nov. 1                                                             Oct. 1

Nov. 15                                                           Oct. 15

Dec. 1                                                              Nov. 1

Dec. 15                                                            Nov. 15

Jan. 1                                                               Dec. 1

Jan. 15                                                             Dec. 1

Any time after Jan. 15                   the day we return from winter break


If you haven’t completed the checklist of items below on this web page by my due date, I will not be able to write your letter of recommendation.


Important Notes:

  • In Naviance, you need to waive your “CA FERPA” rights, your right to read my letter.  I require all students for whom I write letters of recommendation to waive their CA FERPA rights.  In order for me to submit a letter of recommendation for you, you must first waive your right to see it.
  • I always submit all of your letters (to all of your colleges) before your one earliest deadline.  If you decide to add a college later on, don’t worry at all.  It’s easy for me to send a letter to another school.  Please don’t be shy about asking me to add schools later on.  Be sure, though, that I have all forms from all colleges to which you are certain you will apply in time for your earliest deadline.
  • If you decide to add or subtract a college from your list of schools, please let me know ASAP.
  • Please do not ask extra teachers to write you letters of recommendation.  What I mean by this is, if none of your schools require or will accept more than 2 letters of recommendation, do not ask 3 teachers to write you letters of recommendation and then pick and choose the schools to which to send each teacher’s letter.  If the most letters you need is 2, only ask 2 teachers to write you letters.  Writing letters of recommendation is time consuming and challenging, and we teachers need to serve the most students possible.


Your Checklist—Please complete the following by your due date

1. Register on Naviance and request me as a recommender.  Always use the e-mail address


2. Complete the Naviance Teacher Recommendation Letter Form (PAGE 1 ONLY) carefully that tells me

  1. All of the schools to which you are applying
  2. All of the schools to which you are applying to which you want me to send a recommendation latter
  3. The application deadline for each school
  4. Your one, earliest deadline; I will submit all of your letters to all of your colleges by this date
  5. The method of submitting my letter of recommendation for each college (Common App, an e-mail to be sent to me separately by the college, a paper letter to be sent through US mail…)

For separate e-mails sent from colleges, always use the e-mail address

I do not need you to complete the other pages of the Teacher Recommendation Letter Form because you are doing number 6 on this list for me.


3. Complete and give paper copies to me of the following parts of your Naviance profile:

  1. Senior Questionnaire
  2. Parent Questionnaire
  3. Academic Transcript and Resume

(Resume necessary only if you’ve already made one; if not, don’t worry about it)


4. Make sure you have completed your Common App profile on Naviance.  I can’t submit your letters before you have done so.  I don’t even have the option online until you complete your part.


5. For schools for which I will submit letters of recommendation by US mail, please first completely fill out your parts of the forms.  Then, give me the forms accompanied by stamped, addressed envelopes.  I will complete the forms, attach my letters of recommendation, and mail them directly to the colleges.


6. On a separate sheet of paper, please answer in paragraph form the following questions.  The more thorough and specific you are in your answers, the better your letter of recommendation!

  1. What was your shining moment in my class last year?  Why?  How does it show who you are and why a college would want to admit you?
  2. Which of your personal qualities should I highlight for the colleges?  Why do you think they would most want you?  Don’t be afraid to brag!
  3. What do you hope to accomplish by going to college, and what do you consider to be your areas for personal growth?  Don’t be afraid to admit you’re not perfect!  Nobody is.







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