Letters of Recommendation


See a sample student GOOGLE DRIVE SHARED FOLDER for letter of recommendation information. 


Determine what type of recommendation you need (and HOW MANY you will need)


  • Employee recommendation
  • College recommendation - focused on a career, research school or liberal arts



Determine WHO will you request a recommendation from & WHY

OHS Staff & OSD Staff must be requested through Naviance.

ALL COMMON APP requests for OSD staff must be done through Naviance.


Non-OSD staff steps to request & submit recommendation information


  • What impact did they have on you? 

  • What have they seen you present/perform/overcome/learn/adjust/gain/achieve - they are providing a detailed TESTIMONIAL of your strengths, abilities and traits to someone who has never met you.

  • What do you hope they will say about you?  Sometimes it helps to provide them some ideas and reminders on things you have accomplished.

  • Do you have their contact information?

  • How recently did you work with them? (some schools have specific requirements on the recommenders you choose)

  • Are you confident they can provide you with this by the deadline you request - ALWAYS GIVE TWO-THREE WEEKS COMPLETION TIME, it is extremely inappropriate to ask for a quick turn around, your letter will reflect the notice you provided them



Determine the deadline will you need to submit the recommendation.


  • Dates may vary depending on the college deadline or employment location - use your first deadline as your guide for all requests. (2-3 weeks advance notice required!) 


List the topics or highlights about you that you’d like to have mentioned in the recommendation - these may be adjusted and can be DIFFERENT for each recommender so the reader will have a broader view of your talents and specific testimonials around your various abilities.  Keep track of who you ask for what.


  • What skills would you like them to highlight? 

  • What activities or abilities would you like them to highlight?

  • What direct testimonial can they make about what they have witnessed you do in class, club or outside of school

  • What highlights of your resume did you want them to focus on?

  • How have you grown over the time they have known you?

  • Would you like financial need or merit acknowledgement mentioned in your letter? 


Gather information about yourself (think of it as a brag book)


  • List of employers you plan to give the recommendation to. (As this changes, keep your recommender updated)

  • List of colleges you are applying to (this may change based on your planning, financing, etc...keep the recommender apprised of any changes!!)

  • List of supplemental questions below*


STEP 6: 

ASK the teacher/staff/community member if they have the TIME to WRITE you a letter and if they are willing.


  • Send via email

  • Follow up after you have sent the email to insure delivery 


Step 7:


They said: YES!! :)


  • Thank them for their valuable time, let them know you appreciate this!

  • Your request for a recommendation should come through your NAVIANCE ACCOUNT (log on through the OSD PORTAL - Under APPLICATIONS

  • Instructions on how to place this request in Naviance letter HERE -or- Steps to request

  • Be sure your Naviance "Im APPLYING to" list is complete (school application platform, deadline date, common app match)

  • DO NOT REQUEST letters of recommendation to ALL. Please carefully select which schools your recommenders are submitting their letters to. NOT EVERY SCHOOL requires a LOR, do not submit more application materials than requested.

  • Remind them WHY you are requesting it from them - personal experience, direct involvement, personality trait, requirement

  • Remind them of your requested deadline date(s) and submission of letter to Naviance portal.  (Non-OSD recommender instructions)

  • Share your plan/information from STEP 5  - and any supplemental questions. Share a complete google drive folder with your recommenders.

  • Follow up after you have shared your information to see if they have questions or need any clarification

  • Follow up at least ONE week before your requested deadline date (see STEP 8). 

They said: NO! :(

  • Do not be offended, there are many reasons this may have happened and be grateful they did not try to write you a letter that lacked any quality information 

  • Thank them for their time & know that it wasn't a good fit.  You have others to ask so get asking!! 



  • Follow up to see if they DO have the time, they may not based on your wait for a response.  Or they may have STARTED a letter for you & forgot to tell you. 

  • Start reaching out to other recommenders before you run out of time for the requests you need. 


An easy way to relieve your anxiety about the timely submission of your letter send a  REMINDER to the recommender in the form of a thank you!  THANK THE RECOMMENDER* a week before your requested letter deadline  - no need for a gift!! A card, quick handwritten note or email would suffice.


  • This is VERY important, you may need them again for future references or recommendations for scholarships - Its the OLYWAY!! 

  • Be genuine in your thanks and know they spent over an HOUR writing this letter for YOU!!

  • THIS STEP TAKES LESS THAN 5 minutes to complete!



Provide to your recommender 1 week from your deadline!



Hi Recommender Name,
I just wanted to reach out to you regarding my letter of recommendation (deadline date), I am so excited to apply to __________________ and your letter is ____{insert feeling}_______. I wanted to just reach out to remind you how important this is for me and how important YOU are to me too! Thank you for the time you have committed to writing this letter and I appreciate the many things you ____{specifics about them}_________. Especially when ________{this happened}_____ and how you handled ____{this with me}______. I have some really great memories of our time together. As a reminder the letter must be submitted to ______{uploaded into my common app account/emailed to email@address.com/mailed to address, city, state/provided to me in a sealed and signed envelope by deadline date}____. If you need me to forward this request again, please let me know. Sometimes these things may get sent into your spam folder and I am happy to send the request again. OPTIONAL - NOT REQUIRED: Enjoy the button/pencil/coffee/chocolate/cookies/cake/gluten-free items I made/purchased for you because I know you LOVE THAT! Again I am very grateful for your support of my future goals. I will be in touch to let you know if anything about my plan or application has changed. Thank you again! I look forward to sharing my results of this application process!! (I know you will be excited for me too!) GO Bears!!

PRINT YOUR NAME & signature




The more information you can provide, the better your recommender can develop your letter.  Suggested length per question is 50-100 words.  Select information based on your needs. 

  1. Please list your three most distinguishing or most admirable qualities.  What would someone say about you?
  2. What accomplishment during high school are you most proud of? Why?
  3. What classes challenged you and what did you learn most from this? 
  4. List your coursework:  Honors, AP, Running Start, New Market, and Advanced Electives classes you have taken. And your grades for those courses. 
  5. List any AP exams you have taken & the scores
  6. What are you most passionate about? Explain if/how this passion influenced your future and/or goals? 
  7. What information would you like the reader to know more about?   
  8. Did you do something other students haven't done or attempted? (no tardies, no absences)
  9. Are you first in your family to go to enter this career field or go to college?  
  10. What are your top three colleges and why are they your top choices?  Provide a list of places you are interested in & their deadlines. (or top 3 employers) 
  11. What is your preferred area(s) of study?  Career Interest? Why? 
  12. Share your college essay or application (draft or final) (if applicable) or your Senior Reflective Essay 
  13. Your goals, ambitions or future plans - where do you see yourself? 
  14. Adversity you may have overcome - personal, social, emotional, academic
  15. Obstacles you encountered and how you have handled this- financial, personal, social, etc…
  16. Projects you are currently working on - in & outside of school
  17. Your post high school plan - career of interest & pathways (NAVIANCE information) 
  18. TEACHER QUESTION - Describe an assignment you have done that you enjoyed and/or something that best showcased your strengths?
  19. TEACHER QUESTION - What did you do in my class that no one else did?


Include Updated Resume: Current, error free with  your achievements, accomplishments & accolades


Optional: PDF: college essay, Senior Reflective Paper, academic work, certificates, evaluations, etc..