“How Many Teacher Recommendations Do Colleges Want?”

Article of interest from Start Early: College & Career Planning Service…………..
I highly recommend this article for high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors, as well as rising seniors.  I encourage students to develop their classroom participation and establish teacher relationships their first year in high school.  Early Intervention Is The Key!   

Educational Consultant, SE: C&CPS

“How Many Teacher Recommendations Do Colleges Want?”

July 10, 2013 – Nancy Griesemer

For colleges trying to go beyond simple number-crunching and do more of a “holistic” review of an applicant’s credentials for admission, academic or teacher recommendations are invaluable.

“Teacher recommendations are more important than ever,” commented John Gaines, Vanderbilt’s director of admissions, at a recent Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) conference. “Tell your students to think about teachers who challenge them in a classroom and who can shed light on how they ‘engage’ in class discussions.”

But like everything else in the admissions process, there is no single standard for what should be submitted. Colleges vary in terms of how many recommendations they require or will accept as part of an application package, and they vary in terms of level of specificity about which teachers they want to hear from.

Vanderbilt University requires two teacher recommendations.
Vanderbilt University requires two teacher recommendations.
Photo credit:
Nancy Griesemer

As a rule of thumb, most colleges want one counselor recommendation and one teacher recommendation. But this isn’t always so predictable. Because many ask for two teacher recommendations, it’s usually a good idea to have two, preferably junior year, teacher recommenders on board by the time senior year rolls around.

And these should be from academic subject areas. While you might have an excellent relationship with your Driver’s Ed instructor, colleges pretty much want recommendations from teachers in academic classes like English, calculus, or physics. Foreign language teachers are usually acceptable, especially if they taught higher level classes like French III or AP Spanish.

And keep in mind that colleges may be a little fussy about who the recommenders should be.

For example, Cal Tech, Harvey Mudd, and MIT want one recommendation from a math/science instructor and one from a social studies/humanities instructor. The U.S. Coast Guard Academy wants one from a math instructor and one from an English instructor, while the Curtis Institute of Music wants recommendations from professional musicians or music instructors.

Some colleges may accept or are actually looking for character references outside of school. Pepperdine University and Lesley University specify that personal references may be acceptable substitutes for teacher evaluations. And in an interesting twist on the recommendation requirement, Dartmouth and Davidson require “peer” evaluations in addition to two teacher recommendations.

In fact, the new Common Application has made personal or character recommendations another option by adding a special form for them to use.

Locally, Gallaudet, Johns Hopkins, and Washington and Lee require two teacher recommendations. The U.S. Naval Academy requires three, while UVa only requires one in addition to the guidance counselor’s school report. Virginia Tech and the College of William and Mary require no teacher recommendations, but will consider them if they are provided.

In general, the Common Application is good about letting you know how many recommendations are required and how many will be considered (allowed to be sent). Don’t overdo it. Too many recommendations may not be a good thing especially if you haven’t put too much thought into who is doing the writing.

This time of year, colleges are putting their finishing touches on application requirements for next year. As you finalize your list, research individual college websites for how many recommendations—counselor, teacher, or personal—your schools require and make sure you line them up well in advance of deadlines.

You might also want to check if your recommenders prefer to send their materials electronically or via the USPS. And once your favorite electronic application goes online or once the college posts its own electronic application form, make arrangements for the application to connect with the recommender—if he or she prefers to go high tech.

Start Early: College & Career Planning Service

Summer is upon us and many families are evaluating the previous school year and/or planning ahead for 2013-14. Start Early: College & Career Planning Service

Prepare for the 2013-14 School Year

offers an early intervention that can enable students to have options after graduation. Clients represent grades 6-12, and high school graduates seeking an undergraduate education.

As a college and career planning professional since 1982, I bring my clients a wealth of knowledge in academic achievement, college preparation, scholarship information, career exploration/planning, parental support, and high school and college transition, as a few of my consulting services. My clients are traditional, first-generation, athletes, and diverse college-bound students.

Interested families can contact me via email at agoode2003@yahoo.com, or by calling 301-924-7027. They can also visit my website at www.startearlycollege-careerplanning.com to view a summary of my services. Summer is an excellent time to prepare for the next school year, as well as “life after high school.”

M. Ann Goode, Educational Consultant

Start Early: College & Career Planning Service

Rockville, Maryland



Consultation for MS/HS families and HS graduates

Retired school counselor (MCPS)

Member: IECA, HECA, NACAC, ASCA, PCACAC, NCDA, MCDA, ACA, MSCA http://goode-advice.com/ https://twitter.com/marjorie_goode http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marjorie-a-goode/7/552/3ab?_mSplash=1

Exercise Science: A New Program at Salisbury University (The Universities at Shady Grove)

Salisbury University (MD) at The Universities at Shady Grove will offer an Exercise Program beginning Fall 2013.  This degree program will prepare students for a health career.  The press release is below:


“Salisbury University to Begin Offering Its Exercise Science Program at the Universities at Shady Grove this Fall”

Bachelor’s Degree Program Will Prepare Students for Careers in Health, Fitness Rockville, Md.— The Universities at Shady Grove (USG) – a University System of Maryland campus in Montgomery County that offers students more than 75 degree programs from nine different state universities – will begin this fall offering Salisbury University’s bachelor’s degree program in Exercise Science.

The B.S. degree program prepares students for careers in the health and fitness field, as well as for graduate education opportunities in exercise science or other health-related disciplines, such as physical therapy, physician assistance and medicine. The program includes 11 courses within the major, three of which students entering the program will have the opportunity to complete during the fall 2013 semester.

Students who have already earned an associate’s degree in Health Fitness at Montgomery College may be eligible for admission into the program, as are other students who have completed other associate’s degrees from a Maryland community college and completed some required pre-requisite courses. Salisbury’s Exercise Science degree program focuses on subject areas such as physiology, bioenergetics, strength and conditioning, sport performance, disease and injury.

As part of the graduation requirements for the program, students must complete a 10-credit internship experience before they graduate. The internship provides students with hands-on opportunities in health and fitness initiatives, and scientific research.

“We’re excited to bring the Exercise Science degree program to our students at the USG campus, as there are so many emerging career opportunities within the field,” said Dr. Kelly Fiala, chair of SU’s Department of Health and Sport Sciences. “Students who complete this program will be able to master the skills and gain the scientific knowledge they will need to excel in this fast-growing industry.”

“Students have access to such an excellent selection of academic programs at USG because of the partnerships we have forged with outstanding public universities from across the state,” said Dr. Stewart Edelstein, USG Executive Director and Associate Vice Chancellor for the University System of Maryland. “We’re delighted that our partnership with Salisbury continues to expand with the addition now of the Exercise Science program.”

For more information about the new exercise science program at the USG, visit http://www.shadygrove.umd.edu/academics/undergraduate/exercise_science

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 About The Universities at Shady Grove

The Universities at Shady Grove is an innovative model for delivering top-quality college degree programs.  USG is not one university; instead it is a collaboration of nine leading public universities in Maryland offering more than 75 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Montgomery County. Established in 2000, USG serves more than 4000 full- and part-time students.  Participating USG partner institutions include:  Bowie State University; Salisbury University; Towson University; University of Baltimore; University of Maryland, Baltimore; University of Maryland, Baltimore County, University of Maryland College Park, University of Maryland Eastern Shore; and University of Maryland University College.  More information on all of the undergraduate and graduate programs is available at www.shadygrove.umd.edu.