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Re-entry Student GraduateWelcome to our online student discussion forums! This is the place to ask a question about returning to college, share information with other returning students, or just join in the discussion!

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#763 - 09/16/2005 11:12 AM intro / h.s. teacher recommendations?
liberal_artist Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/29/2005
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
My name is Kevin. I am 27 years old and will begin college as a freshman next fall. At present, I am visiting colleges and getting ready to fill out applications.

I have to say I'm a bit suspicious of claims on this website that nearly 50% of American college students are over age 25. Most likely, this figure includes graduate students. Another hunch of mine is that the vast majority of these students are attending public institutions. If that is the case, then I am truly in a unique position, for I am seeking admission to highly selective liberal arts colleges.

One issue I'm facing right now related to the college application process is that there are schools that actually expect me to provide teacher recommendations and a counselor's report from my high school (from which I graduated eight years ago). One school's Dean of Admission says that these are needed in order to verify that I was actually a student at my high school and that I left in good standing. But wouldn't my transcript do that?? Do they just not know what they're doing, since, as they admitted, "It is rare that we get applications from students who have taken a significant gap between high school and college." I did ask them about providing employer recommendations as an alternative, but they stressed that these would only be accepted as supplemental to teacher recommendations.

Now, only two schools have asked me to provided actual high school teacher recommendations. Interestingly, one of them is a very elite, highly selective college; the other ranks very low in selectivity. At the same time, other schools across the selectivity spectrum have stated that they would gladly accept employer or other recommendations in lieu of teacher recommendations. One of them even said they would NOT want high school recommendations at this point.

So what should I do for these two schools that seem to think they need my high school's stamp of approval? I have not visited these schools yet, but so far I am really interested in applying to them. Should I go back to my high school and try to hunt down teachers that knew me? I am not entirely comfortable with that (mainly because I would feel kind of strange asking them for a favor and expecting them to be able to write a recommendation after so many years out of touch). Or should I just give what recommendations I can, hoping they will be satisfied with that?

Seeking advice,


#764 - 09/16/2005 11:48 AM Re: intro / h.s. teacher recommendations?
Admin Offline


Registered: 12/10/2008
Loc: California
The information cited on this Website regarding the number of students over 25 (47%) returning to college was reported by The Association for Nontraditional Students, or ANTSHE . This source is clearly stated on the Website.

Other data on adults returning to school also shows the source of research cited.

In regards to recommendations, is there a professor or advisor who knew you well while you were in high school? If not, emphasize other areas of past academic and professional performance, and add recommendations from your employer or other professional sources. Submitting a recommendation from a family member or friend should be your last option.
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#765 - 09/19/2005 07:56 AM Re: intro / h.s. teacher recommendations?
MermaidMom Offline

Registered: 08/03/2004
Loc: Twin Cities, MN
I felt in a similar position when wanting to return to school at a private school. They just didn't seem to know what to do with someone like me who wasn't a 'traditional' student, and also wasn't a transfer student. One of the schools actually gave me the advice of going to community college for a couple years to build up a current GPA and track record, then apply to the selective school as a transfer student. I was told this would give me a better chance of scholarships.

I had a decent GPA in HS (3.something), and got a 31 on my ACT, but it was about 13 years ago at the time.

I took the advice of that admissions counselor and am currently enrolled in community college to get my generals out of the way : comp, science, math, liberal arts. This gives the added benefit of having current instructors to ask for recommendations and such.


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