Recommender guide

Get everything you need to complete your recommendations within the Common App system.

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What is the Common App for recommenders?

Common App for recommenders helps you organize and submit letters of recommendation. Here, you can track requests, manage your school's information, and submit transcripts. The first-year Common App for recommenders has extra tools to track student progress on the Common App.

To create a recommender account an applicant must first invite you as a recommender. 

Note: An applicant can invite you as more than one recommender, e.g. Teacher and Other Recommender.

Once an applicants adds you to their application, you'll receive an email invitation with a link to create an account. You have the option to decline an invitation or choose to use paper forms, if you wish.

When you open the invitation link, all you need to do is select a password to complete the process. If you want to update your name or email address, you can do so once you log in to your account. 

From there you can log in at any time and begin working on your recommender forms.

First Year Recommender Types

  • Counselor 
  • Teacher 
  • Other Recommender 
  • Advisor 

Transfer Recommender Types

  • High School Official 
  • Academic 
  • Personal
  • Professional

First Year Recommender System

The Common App for recommenders is divided into three sections: Students, Profile, and Resources. (Note: The Advisor role does not allow users to complete and submit forms.)

  • The Profile section asks you to provide some basic information about yourself and the institution where you work. 
  • The Students section shows you all the students who have invited  you. You can also monitor your students’ progress, check the status of your forms, and complete and submit a student’s forms to work on. 
  • The Resources section hosts a variety of helpful tips for recommenders and resources for your students.

Transfer Recommender System

The Common App for transfer recommender system lets you complete and submit forms for all students who have invited you as a recommender. 

  • The Requests page shows all the students who have invited you as a recommender. You can find information about the request, as well as the status of the form. You also have several different ways to organize the information displayed.
  • Each request’s Recommendation page contains notes from your student, as well as instructions on how to complete the form.

First Year Recommender System

Each recommender role has a different type of form to complete, except for Advisors, who do not submit forms. Counselors, Teachers, and Other Recommenders all have the opportunity to upload a letter of recommendation and share how they know the applicant. 

To begin working on a student’s forms, click on their name in the Student section. 

Counselors and Teachers also have additional information to complete and share. 

Transfer Recommender System

To begin working on a particular recommendation, chose the “Start” or “Continue” button. At the top of the form you'll find some instructions on the form, as well as any notes or directions from your student.

Each recommender has the opportunity to share more about their relationship with their student and upload a letter of recommendation.

For more information about completing forms specific to your role, check out our tutorial videos.


Colleges look to recommendation letters to see applicants from different perspectives — to get to know them better and identify what makes them unique. 

Counselors can show an applicant within the context of their school community. They can address a student’s academic achievements, personal interests and goals.

Teachers write from the vantage point of the classroom. They can provide a view of an applicant’s intellectual curiosity, creative thought, and work habits.

Other recommenders help illustrate an applicant’s interests and pursuits outside of school. They can show how an applicant works in team, how they contribute to their community, what creative hobbies they’re pursuing, and more.


Submitting forms in the Common App is simple, but before you begin, all required questions (marked with a red asterisk) must be complete. 

Once you’ve answered them, select the "Review and Submit" button. First you’re asked to review your form. Once submitted, it cannot be modified in any way so make sure all the information is correct. 

If the form looks correct, select the affirmations and then select the “Submit” button.

Important note: The Common App for recommenders is a one-and-done process. That means that once you submit a form, it’s sent to all the colleges you’re assigned to. That’s why it’s important not to customize your forms for a specific institution. 

Transfer recommenders:  The first time you submit a recommendation for a student you'll be asked if you want to reuse that form. This means any incomplete or future requests will automatically be submitted for you using the information in this recommendation. Because of that, please note you will not be able to review or edit these submissions. 

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