October 19th, 2012

Recommendations

As you may have probably learned, letters of recommendation are an integral part of most college applications. Colleges use recommendation letters to find out more about the way you act in class and school in general. A normal application may show your grades and achievements but a letter of recommendation can show how you participate in class discussions and of your demeanor during class. The letters can also show participation outside of class and can make a lasting impression on admissions officers.

The first step in getting a remarkable recommendation letter is ensuring that you notify your teachers well before the deadline. More time allows for more revisions and a better letter. Plus, your teachers will be more likely to write one for you if they have time to complete a paper—after all, they also have busy schedules. Timing is the key when you start sending out your recommendation letters. Try to give your teachers more than a week or two to write these letters for you.

The question then arises: who should write your recommendation letter. Deciding who does this is one of the most important steps. You should figure out who knows your talents and abilities as well as your personality. Teachers with which you have had many classes will be the best choice. They should know your skill sets the best. These teachers should have seen you succeed and persevere during your years at high school. These teachers should show the admissions officers a side of you that they otherwise would not have seen from your essays or grades.

Show your gratitude to those who write you recommendation letters. Whether it is a teacher, counselor, or even a friend, write them a thank you note or personally say thanks. Ensure that you give your teachers enough time to write your letters and good luck!