Recommendation letters?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by HiMyNameisNick, Mar 3, 2010.

  1. HiMyNameisNick

    HiMyNameisNick Member

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    To apply for a nomination my congressman and 2 senators all require 3 letters of recommendation.

    my question is: Can I just have three letters of Recommendation and send them to all three of them?

    also: do I need a letter for the academy as well?
     
  2. RascalFlatts5858

    RascalFlatts5858 Candidate

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    I assume you are asking if you can send the same three letters of rec to all your congressmen and you can. You will need letters of rec for the academy but they have to be from your 11th or 12th grade English and Math teacher, though many believe that 11th grade teachers are better because they taught you for a whole year as opposed to the little time in 12th before you complete your application. Also they dont actually write a letter you send in, its done on the internet so you will have to wait to do that until the application opens up, but you can still let them know about in now so they can prepare to write your rec before everybody bombards then in the fall.
     
  3. wingnut

    wingnut Member

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    We had to ask each of the recommending teachers to prepare three (3) separate letters (one to each Congressman/Representative). Give each teacher the deadline, required topics, and names/address for each letter. Follow the instructions given by each of your separate MOC's. Some require a particular form to be completed. Each teacher can obviously use the same text in each of their three letters, but "To Whom It May Concern" letters are frowned upon at this level. Keep in mind that some schools have a confidential policy where the teacher is required to send the recommendation directly to the recipient, and cannot give them to the student. In that case, it will be up to you to check to ensure the MOC recieved your letters. It is very helpful to give each teacher a copy of your resume. Good luck!
     
  4. marciemi

    marciemi USMA Alumnus

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    This may also vary based on what your specific MOC requires. All 3 of my son's MOC's would NOT accept letters directly from the teachers. He was required to collect the letters and submit them as part of a complete packet. When he wanted to make a change (he'd submitted his early and had some significant leadership positions, as well as an LOA he wanted to add), he had to resubmit the entire packet again - they would not do updates or changes. Anyway, he had one teacher who refused to give him the letter of rec. even after he showed her on the website. He ended up getting a different reference (even though she'd done his online ones for two academies) and we still wonder what she'd said that she didn't want him to see that badly! Probably better to get a different reference anyway in that case, although he did get appointments to both academies so I guess it couldn't have been that bad!
     
  5. HiMyNameisNick

    HiMyNameisNick Member

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    so each of you had to do something different?

    one of you said you had 3 total letters and sent all 3 to each MOC

    and the other one said you had each teacher write 3 different letters.


    So does this requirement vary with the MOC were sending to?
    What are the advantages/disadvantages of sending the same 3 letters to all 3 MOC
     
  6. 2014-scada

    2014-scada Parent

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    Every MOC is different

    Bottom Line is check the individual MOCs requirements on their websites and follow them to the letter. I think the very least we could do is address each MOC in the cover letters with their full name and titles and give each of them their just due as befitting their office. You are applying to a very prestigious institution (SA) and you need the help of honorable MOCs (probably complete strangers to most of us...) to get there. Now is not the time to find ways and means to make your life easier :redface:. Treat it as early practice for things to come. The admission process is hard by design so only the most determined will survive. Do what you have to do and do it willingly. Persevere and Good Luck! :thumb:
     
  7. jennyp

    jennyp Parent

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    Every MOC is different. If you are looking for a way to get three letters that are kind of generic, you are way off base. You want letters that are personal, specific to you and targeted at the SA you are applying to.

    When you ask someone to write a letter of recommendation for you, provide them with a resume and some topics you would like them to cover. If the MOC has a form for the applicant to fill out, you will want your letters of recommendation to expand on areas you maybe did not have room to do so on the application form. Or you will want to make sure they address the key things the SA is looking for. And most certainly, you want each recommender to focus on different things.

    Letters of rec deserve some, actually, a good of, careful thought. The competition is very tough at this level. The first step in getting a nomination from a MOC is doing things exactly as they requested. Exactly.

    Things I would provide to the person writing the letter: resume, a bullet point list of things you want them to touch on in the letter, a stamped addressed envelope for them to return the letter to you or the MOC, depending upon how MOC wants it and a statement of why you want to attend a SA. Make it as easy as possible for the letter writer. You want them to focus on the letter, not having to read the instructions as to whether to get the letter to you or the MOC, etc.
     
  8. jennyp

    jennyp Parent

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    Another note: I just finished reviewing 25 or so applicants for a good ($6500) scholarship in my profession.

    Here's what you don't want in a letter of rec: a listing of what you have done in school that is already expressed in the application. Like: Johnny was President of Key Club and in the top 10% of his class. Those things are probably already expressed elsewhere in your packet. Your letter of recommendation needs to build on what is listed or fill in the blanks.

    Teachers are overloaded with requests for letters. Consider employers, scout leaders, etc. And give them as much help as you can to get the really good letter you need.

    Most of the letters I read recently were from teachers and told how Johnny was dedicated, outstanding, blah, blah, blah. Then they went on to list that Johnny was Pres of XXX, Captain of XXX and ranked XXX in the class. All of which was part of the application. The best letters were generally from employers or scout leaders and told us what Johnny had done, telling a story or giving an example of Johnny's dedication, etc.

    I can only imagine MOC's receive literally thousands of letters about how outstanding, dedicated, etc some kid is. Think in terms of those reveiwing hundreds of these letters. Help your letter writer make your letters MEMORABLE! So, you stick out of all the other dedicated, outstanding, polite, etc kids.
     
  9. 1964BGO

    1964BGO Member

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    As has been stated elsewhere, send the boilerplate letter from www.usna.edu/Admission to your MOCs and apply as well to the VP. The MOCs will tell you what they want in the way of application paperwork - stick to it and make their lives easier. Surely your letters of recommendation may be used for more than one MOC - so long as they meet the MOC's requirements. Get the horses hitched to the cart before you try to drive off. Same with USNA: Admissions will tell you which teachers they want to complete the math and grammar recommendations. Follow their directions and life will be much easier.

    Best wishes. BTW, it would be worthwhile to try to purchase a copy of the Candidate's Guide to the Naval Academy. It used to be available in the Visitors' Center shop at USNA.
     
  10. falconchic88

    falconchic88 Member

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    Definitely see what each of your MOCs require. One of ours asked for 3 letters of Rec, but not from teachers, one wanted two letters, one by a school official and one by a peer, the third had a form letter to be filled out, and requested 3 of them, one from school official, the others not affiliated with the school. Some wanted them included in the packet, while another insisted it be mailed by the recommender directly to MOC's office. Its a good idea to start making a list of recommenders, but don't ask them for anything until you know the specific format. (we are in Ohio btw)
     
  11. FaithfulMom

    FaithfulMom Member

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    As far as I recall, at least one of my son's MOC's didn't request that everything be sent in altogether, but we felt that surely this would be easier to avoid anything going "missing" in transit. (Remember to follow up that the MOC's office has received everything before the deadline).

    When requesting the recommendation letters, son sent an email to the teachers/scout leader/others explaining his request (personalized and with all the relevant MOC names, addresses, and specific details) and his desire to attend the academy (mentioned that his visit to USNA last spring and the Summer Seminar experience helped confirm it), and attached a resume for their benefit. He explained that he would stop by with an addressed envelope that they should use for the letter, then seal it and sign across the seal - regardless of whether or not this was requested, we felt it was easier for the teachers etc. to do this for all the letters. He kept in contact with them and then stopped by to pick up all the letters (his school requires you to give the teachers 2 weeks for recommendation letters to be completed). Those that needed to be mailed separately (including his transcript to go to USNA), were ready to go and the others were added to the whole MOC application package, remaining in their sealed envelopes. It is also comforting to know that you are keeping control of everything and that the letters have actually been mailed.

    The actual Naval Academy application doesn't ask for any hard copy letters, but as you are completing the online application, you are asked for your guidance counselor and 11th grade Math and English teachers' names and email addresses. Again, send them an email letting them know the request will be coming and include your resume. Some folks reported that you need to be sure to follow up that the teachers received the online request because sometimes it will go into the school's SPAM folder - son attends a huge public school and there were no problems at all.

    A couple of the people gave him a copy of their letter and it was interesting to see the difference it makes when the letter is really personal. The teacher we thought would give him the strongest recommendation gave a somewhat generic letter (similar to what jennyp mentioned) stating that he was a strong student, disciplined, natural leader, etc. and listing some of his resume, that we felt could really refer to almost any applicant to a SA (this was his 11th & 12th grade English teacher, really likes son, he's always in the top 3 in her AP class, and she has strongly supported his SA applications - very disappointed in her letter). The letter from his Scoutmaster was amazing and spot on. Scoutmaster had been in the Army and made very specific references to son's character, extra training, leadership style and experiences, etc. and how all this would lead to him being an excellent military officer, with further specific details.

    Think very carefully about who you ask for your letters (if you have a choice), because it's not how important they are, but how well they know you in the elements that are important to the Academy, e.g. your leadership style, work ethic.

    Whether for the MOC's or the USNA application, read all instructions very carefully and don't rush to complete them so early that you miss including something really important, e.g. Son went backpacking with Scouts in the Rockies (Philmont) for 2 weeks after his junior year and used this experience as the basis for all his college application essays - I was amazed when I read the essays and realized what a life changing time it was for him. Remember it is also really important that your essays show who you are.
     
  12. jennyp

    jennyp Parent

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    I have heard of people who ask for 4 or 5 letters when they need three, and then choose the best. This often doesn't work as you don't get to see the letters in advance. But could be a useful avenue to pursue under the right circumstances.
     

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