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Crucial Information for All Students Requesting Letters of Reference

Students are reminded that some scholarship and university applications require one or two letters of support from teachers. In order to allow these teachers sufficient time to craft a strong letter, students should speak with them at least one month prior to the application deadline.

Writing a good letter of reference involves a lot of time and careful thought; teachers complete these letters on top of their regular teaching, advising, and coaching/directing duties. Some teachers receive so many requests for references that they cannot accommodate every student. As soon as it is clear that you need such letters, you should consult with your university counsellor to ascertain which teachers you should approach. All requests for references should be made by the student in person, rather than by parents or by email.

In order to provide teachers with information that will assist them in writing a detailed letter, students are required to give each teacher a completed Referee Request Form (a copy of which should be provided to the university counsellor as well). There are separate Referee Request Forms for US colleges, UK universities, and major scholarships. These forms can be downloaded from the University Counselling Haiku site. It would be best to fill out the forms electronically so that you can expand or contract the fields as needed and then print them to give to your teachers.

Students applying to the UK should give their referee a copy of their resume and a list of the qualities highlighted as desirable for their programs of choice. Scholarship applicants should provide their referees with a resume and background information about the scholarship.

Please note that reference letters to US colleges will be submitted via Naviance rather than through the Common Application website. More details will be provided at the Naviance training session at the IB2 grade level meeting on Wednesday, September 17 and at the US Common Application Workshops.