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Hi, I’m a TJ grad from the class of 2010 and I’m currently at William and Mary, probably majoring in International Relations and French, so not math and science but be free to choose. So I’m going to talk to you about recommendation letters, how I chose my teachers, when I asked them about it, and how to make it a less stressful process.
So I was not really a math or science person, I mean, I was, and then midway through TJ realized I wasn’t. So it was tough for me because I was looking at my course selections and it was all so much math, and so much science, and I felt like those teachers wouldn’t accurately represent me in a rec. But when it came down to it I thought about which teachers I had the best personal connection with. And this is what I’ll advise you to do: junior year you’re more confident in yourself and in your position in the school because being an upperclassman is just a self esteem boost, so junior year just start talking to your teachers.
When it comes down to it, TJ has a lot of really, really great teachers who have so much expertise, who are so qualified, who have just great personalities, so take the time to talk to them after class or go up to them and ask some questions because making those personal connections is really going to make it easier to ask for recommendations later on. Because just coming up to the teacher out of the blue and just saying, “Hey, I didn’t really talk to you, but write me a recommendation”…
So what I did was I thought about the 2 teachers I had the best connections with, and one of them was a math teacher and that was fine, and I talked to them spring of junior year – again, it seems kind of early just because, oh you’re not thinking about it, they’re coming up in January – and some teachers will have a package they want you to put together which kind of helps them out. But even if they don’t ask you for it, just give them a few writing samples or a list of your activities just so they know.
So spring of junior year ask for that confirmation, go back in the fall, make sure that they’re still up for writing your rec, and honestly most teachers will agree to write you a rec or if they feel like they can’t write adequately about you they will tell you so just don’t worry that anyone you ask won’t write you a good rec, they will. Go back, confirm it in the fall, turn in all the packets that they require early, and just get it over with.