Obtaining a Letter of Recommendation

  • Colleges often ask for two or three recommendation letters from people who know you well. These letters should be written by someone who can describe your skills, accomplishments and personality.

    Colleges value recommendations because they:

    • Reveal things about you that grades and test scores can’t
    • Provide personal opinions of your character
    • Show who is willing to speak on your behalf

    Instructions for Obtaining Letters of Recommendation

    Obtaining a Letter from an R-H Employee:

    1. Ask the recommender(s) if they would write a college letter of recommendation for you. You can do this in person or via email. Make sure to ask them if they will be able to write and send a letter on your behalf by the specified date. Don't just send the electronic request in Naviance Student without asking the individual first. If they don't think they can write and submit a letter by the due date, you should consider asking someone else. 

    2. Log into your Naviance Student account at https://student.naviance.com/rhshs

    • Under My Favorites choose, Colleges I'm Applying To.
    • Then select the link for the Letters of Recommendation section.
    • Choose Add Request and select the individual from the dropdown menu.
    • You may individually choose the schools you would like this sent to, or you may choose "All current and future colleges I add to my Colleges I'm Applying To List."
    • If you select "ALL,” you should expect every recommender to send a letter to every school. 
      • *Pay attention to how many recommendations each school requires and accepts; this could impact who you have sending recommendation letters and how many are sent to each school.
    • Add a personal note at the bottom if you feel you need to communicate any other information.
    • Click Submit Request.
    • Repeat this process for each additional recommender.

    3. An electronic request will be sent to your recommender. You can track these requests by going back to the Letters of Recommendation page, where you will see the status of your requests: Requested, In Progress, Submitted, or CanceledThis database will help you monitor your recommendations and ensure all letters are submitted on time.

    4. Recommenders are responsible for uploading and sending each letter directly to the institution.

    *Please Note: Counselors are often required to send a letter of recommendation as part of a Secondary School Report. These letters are NOT counted in the number of recommendations that are allowed to a school. You do not need to invite them to Naviance. If you need a recommendation letter from your Counselor, please ask them during your Senior Appointment, email them or check the box on the Transcript Request Form (often referred to as the Green Sheet).

    Obtaining a Letter from an Individual Outside of R-H:

    If you use a recommender that does not work for Rush-Henrietta, you may use the Common App to invite these individuals. See your Counselor for help with this step. If your school does not accept electronic submissions, please supply your recommender(s) with correctly addressed, stamped envelopes so they can send their letter directly to the institution’s Admissions Office.

    Helpful Tips:

    • Give the recommender 3-4 weeks to prepare and write the letter.
    • Make sure you know how many recommendations a college expects and from whom. Then, double-check your list for accuracy!
    • Ask teachers who you think can speak about your academic abilities, potential college success, and overall character.  You want at least one strong academic reference.
    • Make sure you enter all the information carefully and accurately, or your colleges may not receive your letter of recommendation.
    • Be sure to write a thank-you note to the recommender for writing the letter on your behalf!

      If teachers are struggling to submit your letter of recommendation:

    • First, make sure you have matched your Common App and Naviance accounts.  
    • Common App colleges need to be started before a teacher can submit your recommendation.
    • Identify which delivery type you are using. Do not leave a question mark. Some colleges default to Common App because it is the only application they take. Other schools, such as the SUNY schools, accept multiple applications, so you need to specify the appropriate delivery type on Naviance.  
    • A letter may not go through because the school might only accept a certain number of letters. For instance, some schools will only take a maximum of 2 letters, but you have sent requests to 3 teachers indicating to submit to all schools.  Teacher 1 & 3 submit first, so when Teacher 2 goes to submit the recommendation, it will be blocked.  

    If you have more questions or need further assistance, please stop by the Counseling Center.