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Articles / Applying to College / Impact of Late Teacher Recommendations?

Dec. 31, 2013

Impact of Late Teacher Recommendations?

Question: Do letters of recommendation have to come in before the application deadline? I am very VERY dangerously close to the deadlines and 2 of my teachers haven’t sent in their letters of recommendation. Is that a problem?

Not a problem. Colleges are accustomed to teachers who dawdle. Just don’t let them dawdle for too long!

In addition, it’s up to you to make sure that everything reaches your colleges safely. Wait about two weeks and then phone each college to see if your application is complete (unless the college has already notified you that it is or has provided a Web portal where you can check yourself).


If you call colleges and are told that your application is NOT complete, don’t have a heart attack. It can sometimes be several weeks before the onslaught of incoming mail is processed. Just take a deep breath and ask what follow-up steps are required. Often it’s just a matter of waiting a few more days. And then, if some materials are still missing, you will be allowed to replace them without penalty, as long as you do so immediately.

So, meanwhile, enjoy your holiday and don’t stress over the fact that your recommendations may not arrive right on the deadline. But be sure to thank all the teachers who wrote on your behalf and then tell them how you made out with your college verdicts in the spring.

 

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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