VIZE Guide: Letters of Recommendation

Requirements for letters of recommendation can vary wildly from school to school, but if you’re looking at top programs, you should plan to ask two academic teachers, your counselor, and an outside character reference to each write one for you. Fortunately, what’s expected in these letters is fairly consistent from college to college!

First and foremost, make sure that you’re asking your teachers for these no later than the first month of your 12th grade year, just so you’re respectful of your teachers’ time during what is a busy season for them, too. But who to ask? These are VIZE’s recommended criteria, in prioritized order:

How Much They Like You

More than anything else, it’s important that you speak with teachers that will write passionately about you. Surprisingly, WHY they love you matters a lot less than HOW MUCH they love you, so even if it’s likely that they’ll write about how you shared coffee and talked about sports after school every Thursday, that’ll often end up as a better letter than one from a math teacher from whom you received multiple A+ grades but with whom you never really connected.