Sarah peeks her head in the door of her teacher’s room. As she enters the room she looks back toward her friend in the hall wondering if she should just leave the room now and save herself the possible embarrassment.

As she enters the room, hands in her pockets, she looks at the teacher who is standing at her desk. Her voice goes higher as she asks, “Excuse me—umm—I was just wondering if you could possibly write my college recommendation?”

Senior Courtney Comeau completes an information sheet she plans to give to a teacher who has agreed to write a recommendation for her. The green sheet, available in guidance, asks students to identify how they benefitted from the teacher's class, among other things. (Photo by Devon Heavey)
Senior Courtney Comeau completes an information sheet she plans to give to a teacher who has agreed to write a recommendation for her. The green sheet, available in guidance, asks students to identify how they benefitted from the teacher’s class, among other things. (Photo by Devon Heavey)

The next seconds feel like minutes, and then the teacher replies, “Yes,” and a smile sweeps across Sarah’s face. She says a quick thank-you and leaves the room. She sees her friend waiting there and gives her thumbs up.

This is one of the possible encounters seniors can have with their teachers when asking for recommendations.

Seniors need to have two teacher recommendations, not including the counselor’s, to send to colleges. This means that a student has to find two teachers who they think know them well enough.

Seniors have to ask teachers as soon as the school year starts because the deadlines for different colleges or universities vary because of Early Action, rolling admissions, Early Decision and regular decision. Some students ask at the end of their junior year for the recommendations.

Some seniors found it easy to get teacher recommendations. Kristina Kelly, senior, said, “It wasn’t awkward because I had a good relationship with the teachers I asked.” Kelly asked her science teacher, Ms. Holm-Anderson, and her Spanish teacher, Ms. Gaudiano. Kelly said her teachers knew her well because she stayed after school to get extra help when needed.

Another senior, Sabrina Zerzouri, also did not have any trouble getting her recommendations. She asked her English teacher, Ms. D’Alise, and her science teacher, Ms. Cutler. Although Zerzouri didn’t have any trouble with her recommendations, she knows people that did. “Some of my friends couldn’t find their teachers to communicate with,” she said.

Recommendations put a lot of pressure on the teachers because they have to take time away from their classes and home life to write them.

Mr. Pellerin, English Department, said, “I think the point of writing recommendations is lost because there are so many to write.”

The English and Social Studies teachers get bombarded with requests for recommendations. This is because it is highly suggested by colleges to have one recommendation from either an English or social studies teacher.

Teachers such as Mr. Pellerin are giving up their free time to write recommendations for every person who asks them because, he said, you “ can always say something nice about someone.”

By Devon Heavey