How early/who should you ask for letters of recommendation?

prospective2019

USMA 2023
Hello,

For anyone who's been through the process, when should I ask for letters of recommendation for my teachers both for my MOC nominations and for the USMA application? Since the timeline is slightly different than regular applications I would like to hear what others have done in the past.

In terms of who I should ask, my high school principal volunteered to write one (ex-Navy, served twenty years, knows me well and has seen me throughout high school in leadership and academically). I also have a family friend who is a pretty high-ranking politician in our state (who is close with my congressman and one of our senators!) who would likely be willing to write one for me. He has seen my academic and leadership achievements and is willing to sit down with me to discuss admissions and learn more about me. I also am very close with my AP Physics teacher, an Army veteran, and I know would be willing to write one for me. My only concern with him is his writing ability, but he is invested in helping me through the process to the best of his ability.

Out of these three, who should I ask? Should I avoid one in particular? Do you suggest another option? When should I ask them? I am only about a third of the way done with my junior year, but if you cannot tell I am quite eager to get my application started!

Thank you.
 

GoArmy2022

USMA 2022
This is your decision, so if anything you know tells you to go against my advice, do.

To me, it seems like you know your AP Physics teacher well and he is easily accessible. Asking him for a recommendation can save you some time, as he can write one up for your MOCs and you can ask him to do your SOEs.

Before asking any teachers to fill out MOC recommendations, I advise you to check out your MOC websites and find out what they are. I remember I asked one of my Powerlifting coaches to write me a letter of recommendation for my MOC offices. She later told me that she was happy to help and speak on my work ethic so that West Point knows how dedicated I am to self-improvement. Someone who is in a position of authority and knows you well (NOT a family member) is ideal to ask for these types of things.

As for SOEs, you must get one from a PE teacher, an English teacher, a Math teacher, and a Science teacher. The science subject must be Chemistry or Physics (which I began to elaborate upon above). These teachers ideally will have recently taught you, but can be teachers from 9-12th grade. I had a situation where my Chemistry teacher left and I took Physics freshman year. I had to have a 9th grade teacher fill out one of my college forms. It was daunting because I’ve changed a lot since freshman year.

How it’ll work is your portal will open sometime during the late summer/early fall if your senior year and you’ll be responsible for completing it as soon as humanly possible (if that’s what you want to do, that is). You’ll be asked to type in your teachers’ emails to the SOE boxes, and that red x that indicates your stuff isn’t completed will turn into a yellow checkmark, signifying that your entry is now pending. Then you’ve done your part and it’s your teacher’s turn.

Hope this helped!
 

prospective2019

USMA 2023
This is your decision, so if anything you know tells you to go against my advice, do.

To me, it seems like you know your AP Physics teacher well and he is easily accessible. Asking him for a recommendation can save you some time, as he can write one up for your MOCs and you can ask him to do your SOEs.

Before asking any teachers to fill out MOC recommendations, I advise you to check out your MOC websites and find out what they are. I remember I asked one of my Powerlifting coaches to write me a letter of recommendation for my MOC offices. She later told me that she was happy to help and speak on my work ethic so that West Point knows how dedicated I am to self-improvement. Someone who is in a position of authority and knows you well (NOT a family member) is ideal to ask for these types of things.

As for SOEs, you must get one from a PE teacher, an English teacher, a Math teacher, and a Science teacher. The science subject must be Chemistry or Physics (which I began to elaborate upon above). These teachers ideally will have recently taught you, but can be teachers from 9-12th grade. I had a situation where my Chemistry teacher left and I took Physics freshman year. I had to have a 9th grade teacher fill out one of my college forms. It was daunting because I’ve changed a lot since freshman year.

How it’ll work is your portal will open sometime during the late summer/early fall if your senior year and you’ll be responsible for completing it as soon as humanly possible (if that’s what you want to do, that is). You’ll be asked to type in your teachers’ emails to the SOE boxes, and that red x that indicates your stuff isn’t completed will turn into a yellow checkmark, signifying that your entry is now pending. Then you’ve done your part and it’s your teacher’s turn.

Hope this helped!
Thank you! All of the people I listed are very easily accessible to me, which is making it a hard choice to make. Not exactly a bad problem to have. I am currently taking Physics so he will have very recently taught me when it is time for the SOE's and the MOC applications. Did you get your SOE's filled out before the end of your junior year? I think this might be the best course of action for me.
 

RedDragon

5-Year Member
Spring of your junior year... Before the the last month of school. Our kids did this and both needed the AP Chem prof.. He would get so many requests that he limited the number. He still had to be prodded in the fall to get one in for our kid currently at WP.
 

GoArmy2022

USMA 2022
I got their emails and saved them in an address book before summer time. Went to Girls State, JROTC summer camp, then Girls Nation and shortly after Nation my portal opened before I knew it! The emails were all ready to be plugged in! It was early August. I think the afternoon of August first? Just make sure they’re prepared and you’ve thought it through!
 

cc.cg

Member
Hello,

For anyone who's been through the process, when should I ask for letters of recommendation for my teachers both for my MOC nominations and for the USMA application? Since the timeline is slightly different than regular applications I would like to hear what others have done in the past.

In terms of who I should ask, my high school principal volunteered to write one (ex-Navy, served twenty years, knows me well and has seen me throughout high school in leadership and academically). I also have a family friend who is a pretty high-ranking politician in our state (who is close with my congressman and one of our senators!) who would likely be willing to write one for me. He has seen my academic and leadership achievements and is willing to sit down with me to discuss admissions and learn more about me. I also am very close with my AP Physics teacher, an Army veteran, and I know would be willing to write one for me. My only concern with him is his writing ability, but he is invested in helping me through the process to the best of his ability.

Out of these three, who should I ask? Should I avoid one in particular? Do you suggest another option? When should I ask them? I am only about a third of the way done with my junior year, but if you cannot tell I am quite eager to get my application started!

Thank you.
Hi prospective 2019, I just wanted to say I'm in the exact same boat as you, in my junior year and trying to get everything prepped and ready, and asking the same question, when do I ask for Letters of Recommendation? But I do have a question for you what is MOCs and SOEs? I thought I was doing everything right and then I saw some abbreviations I did not know, Please let me know, Thanks!
 

prospective2019

USMA 2023
Hi prospective 2019, I just wanted to say I'm in the exact same boat as you, in my junior year and trying to get everything prepped and ready, and asking the same question, when do I ask for Letters of Recommendation? But I do have a question for you what is MOCs and SOEs? I thought I was doing everything right and then I saw some abbreviations I did not know, Please let me know, Thanks!
Hey! All the abbreviations are a little daunting at first but you'll get the hang of it pretty quickly. MOCs are your Members of Congress, who you will be applying for nominations from. SOEs are "School Official Evaluations" which are basically like simplified letters of recommendations that you have to get from a certain group of teachers. Glad to see there's some others in the same boat, I'll drop a follow on your account so we can all track eachother's progress through this exciting time!

Also--here is the link to the list of acronyms that are used in admissions and on this site, the military sure loves their acronyms:
https://www.serviceacademyforums.com/index.php?threads/the-acronym-list.11568/
 

cc.cg

Member
Hi prospective 2019, I just wanted to say I'm in the exact same boat as you, in my junior year and trying to get everything prepped and ready, and asking the same question, when do I ask for Letters of Recommendation? But I do have a question for you what is MOCs and SOEs? I thought I was doing everything right and then I saw some abbreviations I did not know, Please let me know, Thanks!
Hey! All the abbreviations are a little daunting at first but you'll get the hang of it pretty quickly. MOCs are your Members of Congress, who you will be applying for nominations from. SOEs are "School Official Evaluations" which are basically like simplified letters of recommendations that you have to get from a certain group of teachers. Glad to see there's some others in the same boat, I'll drop a follow on your account so we can all track eachother's progress through this exciting time!

Also--here is the link to the list of acronyms that are used in admissions and on this site, the military sure loves their acronyms:
https://www.serviceacademyforums.com/index.php?threads/the-acronym-list.11568/
Awh, thank you so much! That's so sweet you! I will be sure to follow you as well! I'm so glad this site exists so that we are able to connect! And good luck to you!
 

GoArmy2022

USMA 2022
Good luck to the propective class of 2023! If you guys want to ask someone who had to do what you guys are about to begin very recently, feel free to shoot me some questions! If I can’t answer them, I’ll try my best to direct you to someone who can.

Go Army!
 

prospective2019

USMA 2023
Such smart young men & women sharing info here: Also, remember to start your ROTC application which opens up in April. And use strategy listing 5 schools especially for NROTC:)
Thank you for the advice! Luckily for me all of the civilian schools I am interested have AROTC. I will make sure to start that application process as soon as possible.

Good luck to the propective class of 2023! If you guys want to ask someone who had to do what you guys are about to begin very recently, feel free to shoot me some questions! If I can’t answer them, I’ll try my best to direct you to someone who can.

Go Army!
Thank you, can’t wait!
 

time2

10-Year Member
Lots of older threads about letters of recommendation. Best if you choose someone who already knows you well who can speak to your skills/abilities. Choosing a 'family friend' who barely knows you and happens to be in the military or involved in politics is probably not your best choice. If someone has to meet with you to 'learn more about you' indicates they really don't know you well enough. Getting a NOM is not about who you know or being politically connected.
 

TangoRomeo

Member
Hi everyone! Same thing as you guys, I'm a Junior trying to get everything ready! It's nice to be able to hear what others are doing to prepare! Speaking of which, I noticed the comment about getting the SOE from our PE teacher. I've never taken a PE class in Highschool; I did the required credit online before starting Highschool, so how would I fill that out? Do you think that the principal would be allowed to fill that out in absentee?
 

FMHS-79

Parent
Hi everyone! Same thing as you guys, I'm a Junior trying to get everything ready! It's nice to be able to hear what others are doing to prepare! Speaking of which, I noticed the comment about getting the SOE from our PE teacher. I've never taken a PE class in Highschool; I did the required credit online before starting Highschool, so how would I fill that out? Do you think that the principal would be allowed to fill that out in absentee?
DS was in a similar situation, but had a school PE teacher complete the SOE with the assistance of both his cross country and lacrosse coaches. I would probably not ask for a LoR from someone that applicant did not know well, but would not stress over it for the PE SOE.
 
Hi everyone! Same thing as you guys, I'm a Junior trying to get everything ready! It's nice to be able to hear what others are doing to prepare! Speaking of which, I noticed the comment about getting the SOE from our PE teacher. I've never taken a PE class in Highschool; I did the required credit online before starting Highschool, so how would I fill that out? Do you think that the principal would be allowed to fill that out in absentee?
DS was in a similar situation, but had a school PE teacher complete the SOE with the assistance of both his cross country and lacrosse coaches. I would probably not ask for a LoR from someone that applicant did not know well, but would not stress over it for the PE SOE.
PROCEED WITH EXTREME CARE!
admissions decided, 6 months after the SOE green light on the portal, that the wrong teacher had been chosen. NOT FUN to find a red light and then scrambling for another SOE when half the USMA class has already been admitted!!!!
 
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TangoRomeo

Member
Who would you guys recommend contacting to get an official answer on that then? I can definitely see that it wouldn't be fun to have an issue with that crop up last minute! My regional Rep. has been extremely spotty on the communication thus far, hence my asking if there's a better source.
 
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