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Recommendation Forms or Letters

TPS receives many requests for recommendations for college applications, scholarship applications, extracurricular HS program applications, and applications for curricular enrollment in other school programs. The purpose of any recommendation is for the application reviewers to obtain first-hand experience and anecdotes for observable traits such as character, reliability, service, leadership and influence, communication skills, and other extracurricular factors that are not conveyed in the transcript.

TPS is an accredited online school and course provider, where we have varying levels of observation, interaction, and insight for each student. For some students, we have sufficient breadth and depth of experience over time to provide credible recommendations. For others, we have insufficient breadth and depth of experience over time to provide credible recommendations. For all students, a good recommendation based on direct first-hand interaction and observation from a local teacher, mentor, or leader is generally more credible and beneficial than an one from an online teacher (even from TPS).

TPS encourages students applying for competitive colleges or scholarships to make every effort to gather strong recommendations from leaders, mentors, teachers, or advisers who have had extended first-hand extracurricular relationship with the student. For our Diploma Partnership students, we assist and guide this process of identifying and gathering recommendations starting in grade 9 and continuing throughout high school. Also, some highly competitive universities and scholarships require a recommendation from the student’s “school” in the expectation that a student eligible for a top university or scholarship will also be one of the top students in his overall high school graduating class. For our Diploma Partnership students, we invest as a school to develop enhanced relationship with each student over multiple years of advising and partnering in the entire education process. This enhanced relationship allows TPS as an accredited school to represent the TPS Diploma student with a school recommendation where that is required and beneficial.

All requests for recommendation from a TPS teacher must be sent to TPS Support (not the teacher). For students in our Diploma Partnership, TPS school and teacher recommendations are standard commitments we provide in the partnership. For other students, TPS school and teacher recommendations are not standard benefits of the course enrollment agreement, but will be considered exceptionally using the criteria explained below. (Note:  These criteria are in refinement based on ongoing interaction with college application specialists and students in various contexts to better understand and define the criteria by which we can provide a credible beneficial recommendation and when we cannot (or should not) provide a pro forma recommendation.)

College recommendation required by a teacher in a specific subject where all the courses were taken with TPS

Applications for specialty programs (e.g., language programs) often require a recommendation from one or more teachers in a specific subject area. In cases where the student has taken a subject entirely with TPS in high school, TPS will consider your academic recommendations within that subject area under the following criteria (note that these are minimum criteria to submit the request, not final approval criteria):

  • Recommendation is for college, college program, or college scholarship application.
  • Recommendation form or guidelines do not require or substantially assume that the recommender has local first-hand direct relationship or experience with the student. (TPS will review the recommendation form or guidelines before agreeing to provide the recommendation.)
  • Recommendation guidelines and questions can be limited to the subject areas where the student has taken substantially all high school courses with TPS.
  • For subject areas to be recommended, student successfully completed full year TPS upper HS courses in that subject in grades 10 and 11.
  • For subject areas to be recommended, student is enrolled to continue and complete those subjects in TPS in grade 12.
  • Student’s academic record and family account are in good standing in TPS.

College recommendation required by a teacher, and many high school courses were taken with TPS

Providing a credible recommendation for observable traits such as character, reliability, service, leadership and influence, communication skills, and other extracurricular factors requires sufficient breadth and depth of experience over time. TPS will currently consider providing a general recommendation under the following criteria (note that these are minimum criteria to submit the request, not final approval criteria).

  • Recommendation is for college, college program, or college scholarship application.
  • Recommendation form or guidelines do not require or substantially assume that the recommender has local first-hand direct relationship or experience with the student. (TPS will review the recommendation form or guidelines before agreeing to provide the recommendation.)
  • In the subjects of English Language Arts and Mathematics, student successfully completed full year TPS upper HS courses in these subjects in grades 10 and 11. (English and Math are the minimum criteria to establish breadth and depth. Additional core courses are highly encouraged and will increase the student’s standing in the request.)
  • In the subjects of English Language Arts and Mathematics, student is enrolled to continue and complete those subjects in TPS in grade 12. (English and Math are the minimum criteria to establish breadth and depth. Additional core courses are highly encouraged and will increase the student’s standing in the request.)
  • Student’s academic record and family account are in good standing in TPS.

College recommendation required by a teacher and all grade 11 courses were taken with TPS

Providing a credible recommendation for observable traits such as character, reliability, service, leadership and influence, communication skills, and other extracurricular factors requires sufficient breadth and depth of experience over time. TPS will currently consider providing a general recommendation under the following criteria (note that these are minimum criteria to submit the request, not final approval criteria).

  • Recommendation is for college, college program, or college scholarship application.
  • Recommendation form or guidelines do not require or substantially assume that the recommender has local first-hand direct relationship or experience with the student. (TPS will review the recommendation form or guidelines before agreeing to provide the recommendation.)
  • In grade 11 (as defined by the student’s actual Grad Year), the student successfully completed academically appropriate (as assessed by TPS) TPS full year courses in all core subjects plus at least one elective.
  • For grade 12 (as defined by the student’s actual Grad Year), the student is enrolled in academically appropriate (as assessed by TPS) TPS full year courses in all core subjects plus at least one elective.
  • Student’s academic record and family account are in good standing in TPS.

Recommendation for school or program other than a college or college scholarship application

In our experience, recommendation requests for something other than a college or college scholarship application are for local programs or schools that expect the recommendation to come from a local teacher, mentor, or leader because the local program is seeking to know about aspects of character and interactivity beyond the scope of a weekly online class. An online teacher is usually not the best option for these recommendations. However, TPS will consider providing a recommendation under the following criteria:

  • Recommendation form or guidelines do not require or substantially assume that the recommender has local first-hand direct relationship or experience with the student. (TPS will review the recommendation form or guidelines before agreeing to provide the recommendation. Written concurrence from the receiving school or program to accept an online teacher recommendation may be required.)
  • In both of the prior two academic years, the student successfully completed academically appropriate (as assessed by TPS) TPS full year courses in all core subjects plus at least one elective.
  • Student’s academic record and family account are in good standing in TPS.

Requesting a recommendation from TPS or a TPS teacher

  • For TPS Diploma Partnership students, please coordinate all recommendation requests with your academic adviser. Please include for our consideration the recommendation criteria or guidelines provided or linked by the college or program.
  • For all other students, recommendation requests must be sent to TPS Support (not the teacher) for consideration under the criteria listed above. Please include for our consideration the recommendation criteria or guidelines provided or linked by the college or program.