When in the Nom process to solicit letters of rec?

Discussion in 'Nominations' started by ders_dad, Feb 6, 2018.

  1. ders_dad

    ders_dad Member

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    For class of 2023, is now (Feb) too soon to solicit letters of recommendation for MOC noms? MOCs similarly ask for 3 letters (one MOC specifies one from a teacher). Since Nom package is due in November, would letters written and dated now look “stale” or begin to lose there “expiration date”?
     
  2. thunderheadc6

    thunderheadc6 Member

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    My son asked for his Nom letters from his Jr.English& Math teachers before the end of his Junior year (March/April)- You want to give the teachers enough time to complete them and not interfere with end of the year exams and have them in hand before the start of your Senior year.Unless you are asking someone you have access to during summer- I don't think it's ever to early-just make sure it is sealed appropriately and kept in a secure place until you mail it off . His packets were mailed to the MOC's in September of his Senior year- two other classmates did not start their Nom process until August of their Senior year and they were scrambling to get it done by the deadline.
     
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  3. MidwestDad

    MidwestDad Member

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    Won't hurt to ask teachers before end of term Jr year; DS had most say that they do ALL letters for college apps etc. same time early Sept. [Which I understand.] It can be a scramble but you can get it all done fall of Sr. year [most do I think.]

    If MOCs accept letters from non-school sources then by all means ask for those in August timeframe if you can.

    Best tip - see if you can send SAT/ACT scores directly to MOC offices in advance; most have a 'college code' for direct mail. Might be best not to do that too early as staff members etc can change but leave 4-6 weeks before deadline to allow for mailing without expedited handling fees.

    Remember 2018 is an election year for EVERY House Rep and quite a few Senators so they may be preoccupied with self preservation between now and November . . . best to be patient and follow the instructions for all 3 of your MOCs.
     
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  4. ders_dad

    ders_dad Member

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    Thanks for replies and advice. Election year schedules are on my mind, as well - we have the very unusual situation of both senators and congressperson up for re-election. DS would like to get MOC letters of rec (each wants three) taken care of this Spring in prep for fall submittals, before the crunch, if at all possible. His career counselor at school offered to meet with him and his Math and English teachers next month to "strategize" on how to put best foot forward on his evaluations/teach recommendations. I thought that was very forward thinking. Career counselor successfully launched a USAFA cadet 4 years ago and said she wants to make sure the teachers understand what is needed in the evaluations - ("honest and enthusiastic" is how she put it).
     
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  5. KYparent

    KYparent Member

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    I think Senator Paul changed his form up a bit this year but I am not 100% sure. I do know they wanted to send it to my DD directly rather than have her download it. Senator McConnell and Representative Rogers asked for letter of recommendation but Senator Paul wanted specific forms filled out rather than general letters. My advice would be to inform the teachers that you will be looking for recommendations and then follow up with them once you are sure.
     
  6. serviceapp22

    serviceapp22 New Member

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    I asked my teachers and a coach in April of my Junior year. They all were very supportive and enthusiastic, and they agreed to have the letters ready at the beginning of my Senior year. However, if you are applying to more than one Service Academy, you will find that each academy has different requirements. For instance, USMA didn't require LOR's (Letter of Recommendation), but it did require 4 SOE's (School Official Evaluation), one each from a math, science, English teacher and a coach/PE teacher. USAFA required SOE's from three teachers, but also asked ("optional" according to portal instructions, but not optional) for LOR's from two sources separate from your teachers. Additionally, my MOC's all had different requirements for the LOR's. One senator required three sealed letters, one required four which had to be sent electronically, and one just wanted three letters in his package.

    My counselors had zero experience with the service academies, so this site was invaluable to me. I provided a package to each of the individuals I asked to send referrals on my behalf. Included in that package was a letter of transmittal, resume, 2 page essay that explained the service academies (what they are, what they look for in a candidate, and why I would be a good candidate), a copy of a USAFA SOE form, and a list of addresses (there were about 10 of them) for each letter. You will need email addresses for the people you ask to provide these LOR's and SOE's because the portals use their email to send a link and password directly to the teacher; the teacher then sends the form or letter directly to the Academy. My teachers were kind enough to give me their phone numbers as well, so we could text over the summer, if necessary.

    Tell your teachers up front that this process will be more involved than a normal Letter of Recommendation. All of my evaluators allowed me to see their letters before they were sent, and I was truly amazed at how they used the information I provided to write outstanding letters that were geared toward a Service Academy rather than a normal university.
     
  7. kpmom2013

    kpmom2013 5-Year Member

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  8. ders_dad

    ders_dad Member

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    "I was truly amazed at how they used the information I provided to write outstanding letters that were geared toward a Service Academy rather than a normal university."

    May I ask what types of information and direction you provided to your letter-of-recommendation writers that helped in achieving this outcome? DS is hoping to avoid a generic letter.
     
  9. Wagmore

    Wagmore Member

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    DS contacted his recommenders 6/1 and asked that they complete the recommendation by 9/1. He provided a sheet detailing the MOC requirements and a stamped/addressed envelope for their convenience. He also gave each recommender a copy of his resume.
     
  10. serviceapp22

    serviceapp22 New Member

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    ders_dad:

    Only one of the people that I asked to provide a recommendation had any military experience, and none of them really had a good understanding of the academies. My first task was to explain that the core goal of academies is not to provide a college education, although they do provide a world class education, but mold leaders of character and military officers.

    My resume is broken into four sections: Education, Extra-Curriculars, Awards and Accomplishments, and Community Service. It is pretty straight forward and provides a lot of information that the academies need for their files. I asked my recommenders (for lack of a better word) not to restate the information of the resume, but to add to the information it contained.

    In my essay about the academies I provided The Honor Code, Core Values of several academies, leadership characteristics, and my personal thoughts about the academies. In this essay I discussed the core values: Duty, Honor, Country, Integrity First, Service before Self, Excellence in All We Do. I identified leadership characteristics (not just the Rah-Rah leader) and key words that could be used to describe a leader or actions that a leader takes. I also provided a profile of the typical successful applicant for comparison purposes.

    I wrote each letter of transmittal specifically for the person I was asking to advocate on my behalf. I provided a specific example of leadership, by me, that they had witnessed, and each was different. All of my advocates provided either that example with additional information or another better example of their own. Each example showed a different side of leadership. All of the letters talked about honor, character or integrity. They all used key words that I provided and put them into their own stories.

    The SOE form, I think it was USAFA form 145, showed how there is a section that allows the evaluator to write in his/her own words about the candidates potential, character, and integrity. All of my evaluators used their letters to fill that section with specific examples.

    I looked at my "recommenders" as being part of my team, so I made sure that they were as prepared as possible to honestly and accurately advocate on my behalf. In the end, I was happy with the results.
     
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  11. ders_dad

    ders_dad Member

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    I really like your approach - being upfront that you want (maybe expect?) your "recommenders" to be your advocates. I used to do a lot of hiring of engineers. I found that letters of recommendation almost never added anything but they could hurt the candidate if perfunctory, luke warm, or non-committal. I think that's because recommenders were not chosen with thought and were not chosen with the overt purpose of advocacy of a specific set of characteristics. Asking your recommenders to be honest but preparing them carefully to be advocates is what this is about. DS needs to start working on his cover letters for his "recommenders" - it would be a good way of critically thinking about who will be his best advocates in this process. Thanks for sharing.
     
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  12. time2

    time2 10-Year Member

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    While it is good to prepare ahead of time, also need to remember that each MOC runs their own NOM process, so don't assume everyone wants the same thing. Be sure to carefully read their website once updated for the current application cycle. What they wanted last year may be different from what they are asking for now and part of the SA application process is about the ability to follow directions. Lots of older threads about letters of recommendation. Don't choose someone in the military or politics who happens to be a family friend, if they don't actually know you well enough to write a meaningful letter.

    MOC generally delegates the NOM process to a team working on their behalf, so don't worry about who might win/lose in an election year.
     
  13. 2021mom

    2021mom Member

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    Great advice from @serviceapp22! My son's approach was very similar. In April he decided who he would ask for recommendations and had informal conversations with them about his plan and the process. He got his "package" together with his resume and a letter which basically stated his plan to apply to USAFA, why he wanted to attend, his desire to serve, and such and asked for their support. He provided the instructions for the MOC letters along with the stamped/addressed envelopes needed and asked that they save the letters in case needed again later in the process. He was able to send off his MOC applications in June, once his transcript was available.
     
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  14. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

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    I would hold off for the time being. First, there is still a LOT of junior year still to go. Hopefully, the student will continue to grow and mature in the coming 4 months. Second, MOCs typically "open" their SA nom process in roughly May. They sometimes do change things from year-to-year, so you want to make sure you're complying with the current year's requirements. Third, many MOCs may not be accepting applications now so you risk losing the letter or having them (if sent directly to the MOC) lose it.

    You may want to ask before the end of the semester. If your teachers are not familiar with SAs, providing a (small) background package and having a discussion with them, along the line of what 2021mom suggested could be very helpful. If your school sends lots of kids to SAs and the teachers are very familiar with the process, it probably isn't necessary.
     
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  15. USAF303

    USAF303 Member

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  16. USAF303

    USAF303 Member

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    How do you obtain a copy of USAFA SOE form?
    Did your teachers have form ready to go on e portal opened and they received email from USAFA?
    DS is preparing a folder for his 'team' of recommendors and appreciates your approach. He 'hopes' they will have a story of him demonstrating the core values
     
  17. ArmyBuckeye2022

    ArmyBuckeye2022 New Member

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    I began asking for mine in late April of my Junior Year so that my teachers would be able to start them before they went on break for summer.
     
  18. serviceapp22

    serviceapp22 New Member

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    I apologize USAF303, I haven't logged on in a while. The SOE (School Official Evaluation) is USAFA form 145, attached is a PDF file of the form.
    The questions on form 145 helped me formulate much of my opening letter to the teachers. You will see why when you read the questions on the form
    . I provided a hard copy of it and sent it via email to my three chosen evaluators. They completed an online form, but, according to them, that online form requested the same information. All of my teachers had already written my letter of recommendation before I sent their SOE request through my portal, so they had an outline of how to answer the questions. I hope this helps your son.
     

    Attached Files:

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  19. USAF303

    USAF303 Member

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    Thank you! This is incredibly helpful. Your example to prepare evaluators has given DS much guidance and inspiration.
     
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  20. serviceapp22

    serviceapp22 New Member

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    That's awesome; I'm glad that I could help. Tell your son good luck! Also tell him this is a marathon, be prepared for a long process and a lot of waiting. That said, his early preparations will put him in a better position to be successful.
     
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