Tips for Letters of Recommendation
Whether it is required for a college applicatin or a scholarship opportunity, a letter of recommendation plays a crucial role in painting the complete picture of YOU. While grades, entrance exam results, and extracurricular activities all describe the type of student you are, the letter showcases your accomplishments, personal attributes, and skills.
When to ask?
- The earlier the better!
- One month before your earliest application deadline, especially when asking a teacher or counselor who might be writing many letters.
Whom to ask?
- If you're considering a specific major, you might consider getting arecommendation from a teacher of a related subject.
- If it can be any teacher, core subject teachers, such as your English, math, science, or social studies teachers, make good candidates.
- It is recommended to ask someone from your junior year or a current teacher. It is best not to go back too far, as colleges want current perspectives on their potential candidates.
How to ask?
- Ask in a way that allows a teacher to decline comfortably if he or she does not have time to do a good job. For example, "Do you feel you know me well enough, and have enough time, to write a letter of recommendation for me?"
The College Essay
The college essay is your chance to use your voice to add to your college application. Many colleges require the essay as a way to hear from the student directly and to get a sense of who you are in your own words. It's a great opportunity to personalize your application beyond the grades, scores, and other information you've provided and can make a difference at decision time.
8 KEY POINTS that Admission Officers look for:
- A command of the basics of good writing
- A direct answer to the essay question
- A strong opening paragraph that captures the reader's interest
- A comprehensive argument or narrative -- make your point and stick to it
- A style that is comfortable for you and that is appropriate for the subject matter
- Correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling
- Correct data -- check your facts, dates, and names
- Succinctness -- pay attention to the recommended length
Make It Personal:
Often you will be asked to write about a personal experience, an achievement, or a person who has been significant to you. Go beyond the what or the who and dig into the how and why. If you write about a trip or event, describe how this experence affected you and is meaningful to you. If you are writing about a person in your life, be personal and specific, not just sentimental. Explain how or what this person did for you that is important to you.
Things To Keep In Mind:
Revise, revise, revise! Show, don't tell. Be authentic. Just get started!