Letters of recommendation from teachers outside school?

Is it necessary for the LOR’s to be from a school teacher, because I haven’t really had too close bonds with my school teachers after 8th grade. I have good relations with some teachers outside school and with most of my teachers till 8th grade but not after that, largely because I felt that a lot of my school teachers don’t have enough knowledge of their own subject. In my school, and probably in all schools in my country the main motive of education is to ensure students get good marks in their annual exams and nothing more.

Good question! In general, most schools ask for 0-4 recommendation letters with at least one coming from a school counselor. Some colleges may not specify who should write the letter, but many make a reference to a teacher who taught the applicant a core academic subject (math, science, English, history, foreign language) in high school. You’ll need to check each of your colleges for their requirements.

Some school systems, such as the UC’s, explicitly state that they do not require (nor read) letters of recommendation at the time of application while others, such as University of Richmond, only requests one recommendation letter from the Counselor or Principal/Headmaster. Most selective colleges do request a counselor and at least one teacher recommendation.

MIT is an example of a school with specific recommendation letter requirements that reads, “One recommendation should be from a math or science teacher, and one should be from a humanities, social science, or language teacher. You should certainly ask a teacher who has taught you in an academic class in high school.”

One tip is to work on a brag sheet to help prepare your teachers to write your recommendation letters. When deciding who to ask, think about people who can communicate a holistic sense of what kind of person would arrive at their campus and how you would contribute in and out of the classroom. Some examples may include the teachers of classes you’ve enjoyed and participated in or any who may have mentored you during extracurricular activities. PrepScholar has a great article to help you think about who to ask.