Letters of Recommendation for Nomination

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Dolphins2012, May 10, 2011.

  1. Dolphins2012

    Dolphins2012 Parent

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    A few questions about letters of recommendation from MOCs:

    1. If not specified in the MOC's application instructions, is it improper to have the person writing a letter of recommendation (LOC) first submit the LOC to the applicant, and then the applicant submit the LOCs with the rest of his/her nomination application to the MOC (as opposed to having the person writing the LOC send it directly to the MOC)?

    2. Does anyone have advice on what to ask the person writing the LOC to include/emphasize? E.g., an English teacher in Chicago may have no idea what's important in an LOC for a USNA applicant, as opposed to one for a civilian institution.

    Thank you in advance,
    Dolphins 2012
     
  2. osdad

    osdad Member

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    1. My DD had each person recommending her write and sign their letter then place it in an envelope and seal and sign the envelope. DD then placed all of the letters (one from each person) into the package she was sending to MOC. That way she was sure her packages were complete. Make sure they know they’ll be writing at least 3 letters (2 Senate 1 House) and maybe more. It’s easy to get them mixed up so prepare the envelopes ahead of time with teacher’s name and MOC’s name on each.

    2. Try to get them to talk about how they know you and why they think you’d make a first class addition to the Brigade. Leadership. Drive. Academic inquisitiveness. Ask them to please not reiterate what the MOC already knows from your resume or to say something like: “Billy earned all A’s in my classes.” In fact, if you have to provide a resume perhaps pick a different person to write the recommendation. Teachers are usually pretty good about these things so don’t worry too much…unless, she looks at you and asks “So, if you’re not going to college, why do you need a recommendation from a senator just to join the Navy?” :eek:
     
  3. hokiesfan

    hokiesfan Member

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    Not necessarily - whenever I have done MOC nomination recommendations I ask for a resume. It helps me to write a letter that fills in the gaps and emphasize what I know about the candidate that doesn't come through in the resume.
     
  4. osdad

    osdad Member

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    Point noted and I certainly agree; if asked, by all means provide it.

    My point was more that if the person writing the recommendation doesn't know the candidate particularly well, then perhaps another writer should be sought.

    My DD went to a small HS so she had the same teachers for numerous classes - who also knew of her non-classroom activities and other challenges and adventures. That's tougher at larger schools where you might not ever repeat a teacher. Not sure how best to approach it then.
     
  5. Dolphins2012

    Dolphins2012 Parent

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    Thank you very much - very helpful! :thumb:
     
  6. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    My DS did the same as osdad's.

    Prepare a little packet for each person that is writing:
    1. instructions on how to address the letter, your full name, and who the letters are to with their complete name, title, address.
    2. Properly addressed envelopes with MOC address on front, recommenders name with c/o your name last four digits of your ssn ***-**-1234, and address as return address. On the back of the envelope draw an "X" with a line that will go across the envelope once sealed.
    3. Your resume
    4. thank you
    5. Self addressed postage paid return manilla envelope/fedex envelope addressed to you.
    6. deadline.

    Follow up with a handwritten thank you.


    It is much easier for you if you can collect these letters yourself and submit to MOC as a completed packet.

    My DS received all of his letters back within 2 weeks, during the summer.... a beautiful thing!

    And, as to having a complete stranger write a note..... DS actually did have one! DS spent 4 months selling lemonade on street corners throughout our town to earn enough money to study Mandarin in China for 6 weeks. During this time he met almost the entire town. One woman, who had heard of DS from her own high school son, stopped one day and sat with DS to learn about what he was doing. she found him every weekend to buy lemonade from him. When she heard through the grapevine that he was applying for an MOC nomination, she sent letters of recommendation to the house, unsolicited, addressed to each MOC. Quite amazing! he got the nom and appointment, so I guess it was an okay letter!!!:smile:
     
  7. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    One anecdote that I'm not sure adds much value to this topic, but it may. I've been told that these letters of recommendations MAY lend a very significant boost to both the qualification assessment/evaluation as well as the nomination process. But unfortunately many people, educators and others often fail to perceive their potential importance to the process and/or place them in the category of the perfunctory letters of recommendation required by many colleges and universities. So either they don't recognize the importance, fail to discern the difference from that letter for a summer internship or admission to State U, or simply don't know the candidate sufficiently well and/or don't know how to write a value-adding letter. Rarely is the problem of a "negative letter."

    So what's the point? I believe this is an issue, and it is one that is difficult but not necessarily impossible to address. And one that is often not given sufficient attention by candidates.
     
  8. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    Agree with whistlepig. DS's math teacher gave DS a copy of MOC/USNA letter of recommendation. It touched briefly on DS's math ability, which spoke for itself in grades and SAT score, and focused on DS's impact on other students in class and on other students in the high school. As a parent it was an enlightening letter to read. I found out alot about by son.

    I truly think these letters need to speak about the character of the candidate. Their ability to perform in class has already been measured, time to highlight another side.
     
  9. Dolphins2012

    Dolphins2012 Parent

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    Good points, Singaporemom and Whistlepig. But that gives rise to another question (in part): if I am correct that there is no requirement that LORs be confidential, i.e. sealed and unread by the candidate, why do it? I had high school and college professors give me letters both sealed and open. And in my DS' case, there may be a very legitimate reason to want to know the contents of the letter: his Calc teacher is Chinese and speaks English very poorly (for a teacher - think Jackie Chan). Our understanding is that one's junior year math teacher is a virtual requirement as one of the three LORs to one's MOCs (and to the Academy, eventually). My DS is worried that the letter may be sorely lacking due to his teacher's language difficulties, and whether he wouldn't do better to ask his sophomore Pre-calc teacher, or even freshman Trig teacher (with whom he has a very good relationship). We have discussed asking for LORs from his Calc teacher AND either his freshman or sophomore teacher, and then picking between the two if the Calc teacher's is too poor. Of course, this would require them not being sealed. Thoughts?
     
  10. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    I remember both my sons read all their letters of recommendation and they, themselves, mailed them off to the MOC. I know this because one of the letters, although nice, was very poorly written. They never used that one (although they never told the individual that they didn't use it)

    Unless specified by the MOC, I would not have people send off letters of recommendation without first reviewing it. No matter how well-intended, sometimes people just say the wrong thing. Or, it is so poorly written (bad grammar and misspellings) that it reflects poorly on the candidate.

    To the maximum extent possible, you should lay eyes on everything before it gets into the hands of your MOC's service academy coordinator.

    The only thing that I recall being specified as having to be in a sealed envelope and mailed directly from the school was their high school transcript. Also, SAT/ACT scores had to come directly from the testing agency. But neither of those were any mystery.
     
  11. AikiBudo

    AikiBudo Member

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    I don't believe colleges have a sealed recommendation requirement but my DS's high school does. In most cases the letters are sent directly to the college and the students are not given a copy, in fact I believe they sign something stating that they will not read the letters if they are given sealed copies to send as was the case with our MOC packages.
     
  12. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    Memphis brings up an excellent point. You should be asking for and reviewing an "advanced copy" of what your letter of recommendation is going to look like.

    Additionally, you should understand and organize the requirements of all nomination sources you intend to apply to. Then you should sort out who does the letters of recommendations (i.e. asking a person writing your letter of recommendation to print two copies versus asking two different times), how many transcripts your school will have to print, etc. Make it easy for the people helping you and make it easier for yourself! Have a plan.
     
  13. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    None of the MOCs for Tennessee had a sealed recommendation requirement.

    In fact, Senator Lamar Alexander specified a preference for recommendations from individuals other than teachers. He wanted letters from members of the community like scout leaders, pastors, coaches, employers, etc. - obviously, none of them are going to require that their recommendation go directly to the MOC.

    In fact, NONE of the recommendations they used for MOCs came from any teachers. Politicians are much more influenced by individuals of standing in the community - business leaders, in particular. Of course, as always, the recommendation has to reflect that the person knows you well. It cannot appear perfunctory.
     
  14. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    One of DS's MOC recommendation required sealed/signed letter. Recommenders did provide a copy of letter to DS, but submitted sealed envelope. Each MOC is different. Some ask for teacher, coach, community rep, etc.
     
  15. AikiBudo

    AikiBudo Member

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    Each MOC is different which is why it is important to keep track of what each MOC wants and how it is presented. The MD MOCs required either specific teacher recommendations or school counselor/principle recommendations. One Senator required the rec to be in a sealed envelope with a signature across the flap.
    Our high school's policy of requiring teacher's recommendations to be sealed is common for schools around this area which send many kids to top colleges - the colleges prefer (not require) to get sealed recommendations as they believe the teachers will be more "honest". My DS was given a copy of one teacher’s rec but never saw the other two.
     
  16. osdad

    osdad Member

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    Bottom Line:

    Know the various requirements and follow them exactly.

    We, like most others, had the dinning room table covered for months with letters, transcripts, envelopes, checklists, photos (yes, these were required), etc. All arranged in separate piles - one pile for each nomination source. Seems like yesterday - and now she's home sleeping - lookng forward to Youngster cruise. :biggrin:
     
  17. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    ossie ...your uncluttered square footage and dining room table must be monumental! :thumb: Seating for 40? :confused:

    :yllol::biggrin::shake::wink:

    And now the piles are of dirty laundry, paperwork and orders, and books that'll never be opened again. At least by your Mid. :bounce1:
     
  18. Dolphins2012

    Dolphins2012 Parent

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    Update - Calculus teacher: write the letter yourself!

    It is lousy when people who are supposed to be helping you and setting the example make life harder. After deliberating about the language barrier issue (my DS' calculus teacher's English is less than fluent), he asked him if he'd write the recommendation. His teacher said, absolutely: write the letter and he'd sign it! I was flabbergasted. So, it would seem my son won't be able to get a LOR from his present math teacher without being confrontational, causing the teacher to feel he's losing face. His sophomore pre-calc teacher was genuinely a bizarre woman (trust me, I'd push him to ask this woman if I did not agree with his assessment), and his freshman trig teacher doesn't teach at his high school anymore. What to do? Any thoughts? What a lousy predicament he's in.
     
  19. jennyp

    jennyp Parent

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    Write the letter, give it to teacher in an electric format and tell teacher he/she can modify it if they wish. We have had that happen from various people over the years. A local veterinarian did that to my oldest son years ago....so we did as I suggested to you. He liked the letter so much that he now asks me to write all his ref letters.....I ask him what he likes about the person and to relay a story or two and create "his" letter, give him an electronic copy.
     
  20. AikiBudo

    AikiBudo Member

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    Dolphins2012 - That is too bad about the calculus teacher. Maybe your DS could offer to help the teacher put together his thoughts and comments regarding DS into a more readable format - act as an "Editor" for the recommendation letter. Maybe not the optimum solution but workable.
     

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