Letters of Recommendation

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by jlwilkes101, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. jlwilkes101

    jlwilkes101 Member

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    What exactly does USMA want in terms of letters of recommendation? Do they want teachers specifically from certain subjects, certain grades, etc? Also, how early is it generally a good idea to ask for these?
     
  2. WestPointHopeful2015

    WestPointHopeful2015 Member

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    You have to get a recommendation from junior year Math teacher, Science teacher, and English teacher. It is all laid out in the beginning of June when the application will load to the site. They will basically write a letter and fill out a short checklist online. I would tell them about it early, and make sure they know about it before summer starts. If you graduate before the application comes up, tell them to check their email because you will send them a link. The earlier, the better!
     
  3. Casey

    Casey USMA 2015

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    Yea, this is definitly something you want to coordinate before school lets out. The official application generally won't come out until after SLS which for me was a couple weeks after finals. Be polite and proactive when it comes to talking to your teachers in asking if they'll do a rec for you. Also, your registrar and guidance counselor would be good people to talk to in advance as well as you need to get your transcript with 6th semester grades out as quickly as possible, and your guidance counselor generally is the person that will confirm your candidate activities report sheet. For all these people, generally the summer is vacation time just like students (my guidance counselor went to greece for six weeks) so working around their schedules to work something out is a really good thing for you so you can get everything done before August
     
  4. academyforums

    academyforums Member

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    Do they absolutely have to be from JUNIOR YEAR teachers?
     
  5. Casey

    Casey USMA 2015

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    Don't think so, that said I used all junior teachers. They just need to be in the specific classes USMA requests
     
  6. academyforums

    academyforums Member

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    Okay that is good for me then because I know my english teacher is very liberal and I am not sure how she would respond to me trying to get into a service academy.
     
  7. USMA2016

    USMA2016 Appointee - Class of 2016

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    I know I'd much rather have my history teacher write a rec letter than my english teacher. (I know it's probably a "no", but) do you think I could substitute the history for english if I asked them?
     
  8. ghpugh

    ghpugh Member

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    It never hurts to ask but they most likely have a specific reason for asking your English teacher. And yes they MUST be from 11th or 12th grade teachers. I know someone who did not use those teachers and had to redo them entirely.
     
  9. Casey

    Casey USMA 2015

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    The instructions are English, Math, and Science (Chemistry or Physics) teacher. I don't think you'd be able to substitute one of them for History
     
  10. AKH

    AKH Member

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    Don't overcomplicate things and make it a History teacher. Do what the directions say. They're not so much letters of recommendation as evaluations of how proficient you are in that subject, effort, how you interact with other students, your effect on them, how you compare to other students, personal comportment, etc.

    A teacher I had in 10th grade wrote my Science one and I was never asked to redo it.

    What I did and would do again: Mention to the teachers the possibility of them writing you an eval before your school lets out. Ask for email addresses/phone numbers that they can be contacted at over the summer if they agree. When the app opens up around late June, shoot them a call/email saying you're going to put their name in for the form, and wait for their go ahead. Once USMA receives it, call/email saying thank you, and when you get back to school write a note and perhaps a small gift (nothing huge, like a $10 Starbucks card).

    Teachers don't have to write recommendations and it's nice to let them know they are appreciated :smile:
     
  11. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    @USMA2016--Please understand now that West Point doesn't make exceptions for things like that. Don't even ask about swapping a history teacher for an english teacher. Do exactly as you are instructed to do in the application.

    I do not believe you are held to 11th and 12th grade teachers for recommendations. My cadet used teachers from 10th, 11th, and 12th grade with no problem.

    @AKH--I'm so glad you mentioned the thank-you note and that someone taught you such nice manners! I guess most students don't realize that teachers write TONS of recommendations at the end of the school year as well as throughout! It can be a long and tedious job and there are many students who thoughtlessly wait until the last minute to ask. Teachers do have lives outside of school! (No, I'm not a teacher, just a veteran mom of many scholarship and college applications.)

    I was shocked when my son's physics teacher told him that in all the years he had been teaching and writing letters of recommendations, the handwritten note that my son sent him was one of just a handful received over the years and the gift card was the first gift sent along with a thank-you note.

    A thank-you note says that you appreciate the time that they took to help you and the effort they put into doing it. My sons enclosed a gift card, as AKH suggested, usually $10-15, because the teachers were also friends, but a nice thank-you note can stand on its own.
     

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