letters of recommendation for college admissions
Posted : October 2, 2006
Last Updated : September 10, 2014
Letters of recommendation play a significant role in the college admissions process. Admissions officers turn to recommendation letters to get an idea of how others view you. Utilize these tips to get the best recommendations as possible.
The policies regarding recommendations vary from school to school. Be sure to read through your applications to see how many letters each school requires and to see if there are requirements on who should write the letters. You should also record application deadlines on a calendar so you can determine which ones hold precedence. It's crucial to get organized early so you can ask your chosen recommenders as soon as possible. Recommenders need at least a month to prepare your letters.
Choose the Best References
Choosing the right people to write recommendations for you is critical. You want to choose people who know you well enough to write recommendations that will make lasting impressions upon the admissions officers. Choose teachers, coaches, employers, etc. who you interact with often and who can write about your talents and abilities. When you approach someone for a recommendation, remember to be polite and tactful. If there is any hesitation, you may want to consider asking someone else.
Help Them Help You
If you want to get good letters of recommendation, then you need to supply your references with the appropriate information. Be sure to give them a packet that includes:
A cover letter. This is a letter in which you formally ask for a recommendation. It should include the name of the school to which you want to apply, your expected major, the application deadline, and any other application requirements of which the recommender should be aware.
Instructions for filling out the recommendation form. Each college sets its own standards for the delivery of recommendation letters. Be sure to check with your school to find out requirements and provide this information to your recommender. Most colleges encourage applicants and their recommenders to use the online recommendation process. Recommendations not submitted online should be mailed in sealed envelopes by the recommender.
Stamped, addressed envelope. If your recommender will not be using the online recommendation process, be sure to provide them with a stamped, addressed envelope. The envelope should be legal-size and addressed to the college.
Your resume. By now, you should have a high school resume. Your resume will help your recommenders highlight your accomplishments.
An unofficial transcript. Your references need to know as much info about you as possible, including your grades.
A copy of your application essay. This will give your referencess more insight on who you are and how you think/see yourself.
Don't forget to send thank-you notes to all of your references. They are taking time out of their busy schedules to help you out. Make sure they know that you appreciate their efforts.
To get more information about letters of recommendation for college admissions, visit your high school counseling office.