Need help on recommendation letters


Aug 14, 2017
Do I really need to apply for nominations from all 4 resources? I assume the senators represent larger population, therefor the competition must be tougher since they have same 10 spots as Congressman does. If I cannot get one from Congressman, how can I get it from Senator? Am I correct?

I'm asking because there are too many recommendation letters needed. One senator asks for 3, another asks for 2 (questionnaire type) . Congressman wants 2. Plus 3 teachers evolution for AFA, and probably in questionnaire too? Plus other colleges I'm applying also need letters.

I know letters can be re-used, but is it nice to ask same teacher or counselor to write two different formats of letters (regular and questionnaire)? I really don't have enough people who know me to write for me.

How did everyone do it?
BTY, how many letters does VP nomination need?

Thank you.
First, VP needs no letters.

Second, teachers all know this is the time of year that seniors need letters for multiple schools. It's part of their job.

Third, you just suggest to them that they keep the letter that they worked so hard on for you in their computer, and let them know that you might actually need it again for other applications. This really is no big deal for them. Letters do not need to be individually addressed to the persons to whom they will ultimately go, but they really should be dated, at least. "To Whom it May Concern" is apt.

For us, our DS must have asked 8 adults in his life for a letter - in the end, he ended up with 6 different letters in hand. For each adult, he asked them to provide us with at least four copies sealed in envelopes with a signature across the back and one open for us to see it.
When the time came to apply to USAFA, etc., and various nominating sources, he quietly picked what he thought was the best letter(s) for each and included them inside the packets.

Now is definitely not the time to be timid about asking for this kind of help from the adults in your life. Not all of them will be willing (or understand the importance of it) but in the end, you can get some really great letters.

p.s. Our DS is home-schooled.
It may feel overwhelming, but you can do this. Now is the time to ask your teachers to support you in reaching your goals. Here's how my DS did it:
Congressman - 2 letters
Senator 1 - 3 letters
Senator 2 - 3 letters
He asked 3 people (1 Coach, 1 Math Teacher, 1 Science Teacher) for 3 rec letters.
He spoke to them individually about this goals and the nomination/application process. He handed each a packet that included his cover letter (addressed to the individual), a copy of his resume, 3 envelopes addressed to the Senators/Congressman and with his name in the lower left corner, and (because this was just a couple weeks before the summer break) a manila envelope self-addressed and stamped.
He asked them to use the envelopes for their letters, sign across the seal, and mail them back to him as he had to submit the letters together with the rest of his application materials (per MOC instructions).
He also included the "please use these envelopes for you letters and sign across the seal" instructions in his cover letter.
3 conversations and all 3 nominating sources were covered.

For the actual USAFA application, USAFA dictated which teachers needed to complete the evaluation. They were emailed a link to complete it. (I believe it was his counselor, Chemistry teacher, English III teacher, and Pre-Calc teacher.) Before submitting their info, he went and spoke with each teacher and handed them a cover letter and a copy of his resume.

In the end he realized that he could submit rec letters directly to USAFA, as long the were not from the same teachers who did the evaluations. Luckily there was no overlap, so he went back to his nom letter writers and they sent them in.

His traditional college apps were all of the on-line questionnaire type and were typically specific about the teacher to select. Your 12th grade English teachers and Calc teachers expect to have to complete these. And truly they do want to help and support you. Your success is a reflection on your school.

Like Billberna said, don't be timid! Go ask your teachers & coaches for their support!
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I'd say your answer to do you really need to apply to all 4 sources is "do you really want to go to the Academy?" It's frustrating and irritating and long, but to some extent that's the point - it eliminates applicants who don't want it bad enough. Grind through it, you can make it happen. Good luck!
I will add this - there are some adults who truly feel incapable of composing a coherent written letter due to lack of confidence in their own writing skills. We ran into two such adults. There are also some adults for whom English is a second language. In fact, some of the most significant persons in our DS' life are his violin teachers (Russian). However, if you were to ask either of them for a letter, their reply would be "you write it and we'll sign it". We wouldn't do it this way, so we have had to overlook some key adults in our quest for recommendation letters. Nevertheless, if you keep asking, you should be able to get the number that you need. It could even be that next door neighbor who watched you grow up through the years.
The VP nomination process is very simple - make the request and traditionally the VP turns those slots over to the service academy to nominate/appoint as they see fit. The VP and his staff traditionally do no more than collect names.

And as Hoodlum15 stated (paraphrasing) - part of all the steps in the process is to simply weed out those that really aren't that serious about it anyway.
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I agree that there are too many recommendation letters required.....for those who aren't willing and shouldn't be applying for SAs.

YOU however, CAN do this! You're already looking at it all just feeling temporarily overwhelmed before your next big push in the application/nomination process!

First, don't think about what is not in your control. I will probably sound like a broken record over the next 2 years, but make a Recommendations rubric! Columns are each SA, MOCs, and civilian colleges. Rows are who you need to ask and "flex" people. Ones in the first few rows will be guidance counselor, English (11th), Math (11th), Science teachers. Remaining rows would be coaches, other teachers, etc. From here you can see how to ask the same person for multiple recommendations which are very similar. For the sources you are going to ask in the future, start telling them about your interest. Ideally, they should be excited and know when the time comes you are going to actually ask for the recommendation. Especially for 11th grade teachers, this is a big part of their job but you want to be mindful that they will likely be writing multiple letters for nearly the entire class. So give them every reason to WANT to write yours, and EXCITED that a student like you comes along and inspires them to write your recommendation!

It is a not-so-addressed portion of the application/nomination process. A big learning experience for you is how to approach and position yourself for the best possible recommendations. It will never hurt you to pay particular attention to this. If you develop a rapport with your targeted recommenders, it should be something like, "If you don't think I am in the exceptional column for something, please let me know why." and the answer should be something like, "I've heard ad nausuem about your interest in SAs and believe, me, i've never seen a candidate as qualified, dedicated, or as persevering as you. I've been looking forward to writing this letter for you for the past year." Of course I exaggerate but you get my point! You certainly don't want them to say, "Sure, it's part of my job. What's your name and what class period are you in?" I exaggerate here again, but you see what I mean.

All posts above give great advice. Also pay attention to #5. One of my DDs had on her short list a teacher that really like her. She mentioned to the guidance counselor that he was on her short list of people, but the counselor said, "No, his letters are terrible! Try to find someone else! I see you had so-and-so for x class. He writes great letters for all his students. " WOW. That was good to know! Depends on your school, of course, and all sorts of dynamics. But the point is to pay attention to this as it is your control to pick your recommenders and to develop a rapport outside of just going to class (if a teacher) and to communicate with them what you are trying to accomplish.

Best of luck to you!
Good Afternoon.
My current options are:
High School:
High School Teachers in all subjects(They know me enough and can attest to my Academics)
- Sports Coaches
- Science Professors and Lab TA's(Chemistry, Biology and Math)
- Management Professors(Accounting, Finance, Marketing and Managerial)
- Same for Computer Science
- Heads(and past)of above Departments
- Advanced Classes( Entrance exam high scoring)
- Counselors in the above Faculties

- MOC's requirement is minimum 3 letters (Just from those that know me, according to their website); Do I hand them all the above?
- Whom do I ask, keeping my options in mind?
- Do you recommend I use the same letters for Nominations and USAFA? And if so, do I ask them to give me copies? What is your advice?
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And what of the High School Director and College Athletics Department Director?
I will be passing tommorrow by HS and some of the Departments.
And what of the High School Director and College Athletics Department Director?
I will be passing tommorrow by HS and some of the Departments.
@The Blue Baron if you are a candidate at this point the candidate portal will be very specific as to evaluations and from what teachers you need them from. I do believe u mentioned you were 21 so I am not fully aware of how that would work but I would imagine college professors. A good person to ask would be your assigned ALO. Your recommendation letters should be people that know you well who can speak to who you are beyond academics. The recommendations are actually optional. But I'd opt NOT to leave them out. ☺
I have taken the advice from those at the academy as well as those on this site to read. Read the candidate handbook, read the website and it will become more clear. Its a process but in watching my DS go through it, I'm finding it rewarding and worthwhile. Good luck!
Thanks Ma'am

My main concern is for the Nominations.
(Step by Step as you guys hace said right?)
In the MOCs website, they say "Minimum 3 Letters of Recommendation"(Which are required in the package) and don't demand it be from one source or another, except that they know me. In other words, they leave it on the air.
And all those mentioned in the former posts know me. Hence my options.
Thanks Ma'am

My main concern is for the Nominations.
(Step by Step as you guys hace said right?)
In the MOCs website, they say "Minimum 3 Letters of Recommendation"(Which are required in the package) and don't demand it be from one source or another, except that they know me. In other words, they leave it on the air.
And all those mentioned in the former posts know me. Hence my options.
I realize I didn't mention the MOC's. I would absolutely use people you know that can say why you should be chosen for a service academy. U can re-use them as well. It is very open, chose wisely! ☺its great that you have many options.
Completing the nomination process and application should be some simultaneously.
Choose the three that know you best or you feel are most capable of writing a compelling LOR. Provide all with a copy of your resume to help them advocate on your behalf.
That's the thing. I know them all.
It's like asking "Which Academy's better?"
That is why I asked this and from this early.
(Plus imagine they know I asked X professor and not them for a LOR based on "I know him better/She can write a better LOR":D).
Making some assumptions based on your use of plural, you listed approximately 20 people who could write you letters of recommendation. I have an extremely hard time believing that all 20 of them know you equally well. That being said these are my recommendations:
-If you are in college, choose college professors. High school is in your rear view mirror and the Academy is going to be more interested in how and what you're doing presently.
-Choose a good cross-section of writers so they can write from different perspectives of who you are (leader in the classroom, on the court, at a job, etc.).
-Again, you can't choose 20 people to write you letters. If someone's feelings get hurt it's not your problem.
-If your writers are willing to give you open copies, ask 4 or 5 people and choose the 3 best ones. Some people just aren't as good of writers as others.
Supposing :
I know them/they know me(Never said equally well:cool:)
- HS Teachers are out of equation
- I am/was engaged in all their classes and/or etc and they can attest to that
- In one way or another demonstrated the Athletics, Leadership, Extracurricuulars and Performance aspect:

Which 3 for nominations you guys suggest and why?

Which alternate one for USAFA?(I read they leave you pick 1 of the 3)

As for their writing..can attest for most.
There is no magic formula and, honestly, this is not something that a group of strangers can chose for you. You are the only one that can determine which of your potential recommenders meet the specified requirements and can best articulate your qualifications to the nomination panels and admissions committees. IMHO.