A Complete Guide to Stanford Letters of Recommendation

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Stanford letters of recommendation

A Complete Guide to Stanford Letters of Recommendation

While grades may carry the most weight in college admissions decisions, there are many important components of the undergraduate application process, including submitting your letters of recommendation. These documents allow admissions officers to learn more about who a student is, the role they play in the classroom, and how they might shape their future college campus.

Consequently, students need to make sure that their letters of recommendation present them in the best light possible, especially if they’re applying to highly competitive colleges like Stanford University. If you want to learn more about how to ask for a letter of recommendation for Stanford University, keep reading for our top tips and the best practices that you’ll need to know.

How Many Letters of Recommendation Does Stanford Require?

There’s a lot of uncertainty about how to get into Stanford. Ultimately, there are quite a few steps involved in the application process, and each component will be important in determining your admissions odds.

When it comes to letters of recommendation, Stanford requires two letters from different teachers. The university recommends requesting letters from 11th or 12th grade teachers in subjects like math, English, science, history, or a foreign language. 

How to Submit a Letter of Recommendation to Stanford?

Students have two options when it comes time to submit their Stanford letters of recommendation. They can either use the Coalition Application or the Common Application. Both have online forms that enable students to submit documents efficiently and add them to their application files.

How to Confirm if the Optional Letter of Recommendation Was Sent to Stanford?

There’s no such thing as being too careful about your college applications. If you want to make sure that your letters of recommendation were submitted to Stanford, you can continue to check the portal on Stanford’s website. Keep in mind that it may take several weeks to process all materials.

Stanford Letters of Recommendation: What Your Recommenders Should Know

If you want to ensure that your recommendation letters are as strong as possible, you need to set the teachers who will be writing them up for success. Make sure the teachers you have asked to write your letters know that their email addresses have been registered with Stanford University and that all letters must be submitted electronically. There’s some additional information that all recommenders should know, including: 

How to Submit a Recommendation?

Once your teachers’ email addresses are submitted to Stanford, they will receive a message with instructions that guide them through creating their recommendation account. Once their account is set up, they will be asked to fill out a very brief form and upload their letter, which can either be a Word document or a PDF file. 

How to Decline a Recommendation Request?

Teachers also have the option to decline a recommendation request, which is why it’s important to be thoughtful when selecting teachers to write letters of recommendation and make sure you give them plenty of time to compile these documents. If a recommender chooses to decline to submit a recommendation, they will be asked to include the reason for their decision in a message to their applicant. 

How to Make a Change After Submitting the Recommendation?

After the recommendation has been submitted, changes are not possible using the online process. If recommenders need additional support, they can use a link provided by Stanford to get online help or read through a series of frequently asked questions.

5 Tips on How to Ask For a Letter of Recommendation

Aim For Relevant Recommenders

You can’t just ask the first teachers that come to mind to write your recommendation letters. Instead, take some time to reflect on the classes you have excelled in, the teachers that you have worked most closely with, and the potential majors you may wish to pursue in college. Use these considerations to guide your decision about who you will ask to write your letters. 

If you’re already pretty sure about the area of focus that you will prioritize in college, it’s a good idea to ask a teacher with expertise in that subject. For example, if you’re going to apply to Stanford’s engineering school, perhaps you should ask one of your math instructors to write a letter on your behalf. You’ll also need to build a strong rapport with your recommenders, which is why it’s important to understand how to get teachers to like you.

Choose the People That Know You Best

Since recommenders do have the option to decline, you’ll need to be strategic about selecting teachers for your letter of recommendation. Ask instructors who have had time to see how you interact with others and the steps you take to bring out everyone’s best in the classroom. If you have had the same teacher for several years, this instructor might be a good option for your Stanford recommendation letter, as they can explain how you’ve grown and matured throughout high school.

Ask For a Recommendation Letter Early 

Don’t wait until the last minute to reach out to teachers to ask them to write your recommendation letters. While it may feel a little nerve-wracking to start this conversation and ask them about this request, they will appreciate having additional time to compile their responses. Consequently, the best time to ask teachers about recommendation letters is generally during the beginning of your senior year, especially if you’re planning on applying to college in the early rounds.

Provide Materials

Keep in mind that the teachers who you ask to write your Stanford letters of recommendation likely have similar requests from a number of your classmates. As a result, you’re going to need to put in a little extra effort to help them write the most compelling letters possible. Share a draft of your application essays with them, as well as a list of extracurricular activities and a copy of your resume. You can also include a few talking points, such as moments that you were particularly proud of or some of your favorite memories from their class.

Keep in Touch With Your Recommenders

Think of your recommenders as part of the professional network that you’re striving to build throughout college and your career. Instead of letting your communications flatline after your applications are submitted, make a conscious effort to keep in touch with these instructors. Don’t forget to write them thank you notes to express your gratitude for their help in your college application process and the lessons they have taught you during high school.

While compiling your Stanford letters of recommendation may feel overwhelming initially, you don’t have to go through this process alone. Consider Ivywise’s college admission consulting services to help ensure your place at Stanford.

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