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How to Get the Best Letters of Recommendation December 7th, 2010 | No Comments

As promised! Here are the highlights from the videos, articles, and sites I have scoured to learn how you can get great college letters of recommendation from your teachers.

1. Plan ahead: Give your teachers the information and stamped, addressed envelopes at least 4-6 weeks ahead of the applications’ deadlines so they can get it done. This means that you must know which schools you are applying to (and why).
2. Chose teachers from junior year core courses-math, history, science, english; and, if you are going to specialize in biology in college (for example), and you believe you will get a good recommendation letter from the bio teacher, ask that teacher! Nothing ventured nothing gained!
3. Ask the teachers you chose, “What do you think you can say about me?” or “Are you willing and able to write a letter of recommendation for me?”
4. Prepare for an appointment with each teacher by: gathering materials/the work you completed in that teacher’s class-papers and projects, and your resume.
5. Make an appointment to sit down and talk with the teacher about the materials you gathered, and talk about your passions/what subjects interest you so that the teacher can write about you as a person.
6. Tell the teachers why you want to go to that/those particular schools-why those schools are special AND why you are a great fit for those schools.
7. Letters are not only about academics, they can also describe additional aspects of your personality-leadership skills or citizenship, volunteerism… so you may want to mention those experiences also.
8. If another teacher-in art, health, music-or a coach knows you well then you want to submit a supplemental recommendation letter. BE SURE to ask the college first, to be certain that you are permitted to submit a supplemental recommendation letter, and then talk with the teacher.
9. If you were enthusiastic and successful in class… maybe you didn’t get an A, but you contributed and worked hard, that teacher may be a good person to approach for a supplemental recommendation letter.
10. If you are worried that teachers or the guidance counselor doesn’t like you-yet you need a recommendation letter, make an appointment, sit down with the individual and explain your interests in the colleges-take initiative.

Feel free to send me an email or call me with your questions about getting the very best letters! I’d love to help!

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