Admit it: Letters of recommendation are an essential part of the college application process. Although these letters will not be weighted with the gravity of grades, rigor of the curriculum or test scores, they can be influential in the final decision. This is especially true when students share identical or similar admission profiles. For these students sharing the same range of scores, the same number of AP courses, same grade point average and the same types of activities, colleges will have to make a decision. A positive endorsement (and a well-crafted essay) can be the tipping point.
Acquiring a powerful letter of recommendation goes beyond a simple request as students will want the writer to highlight their contributions to the academic environment and the community of the school. Crisp Consulting + Coaching would like to offer a few strategies for securing exemplary letters of recommendation for your college admissions profile.
Be Proactive. Put together a activities sheet that details what you’ve been doing outside the classroom. Focus on extracurricular activities, community service, employment, summer activities, internships and any honors, scholarships or awards received. Edit it down to one page if possible, but two pages maximum. Provide each of your letter writers with a copy that can influence their recommendation writing.
Be Organized. Talk with your guidance counselor so you understand how your high school handles teacher and counselor recommendations. Many high schools have software programs such as Naviance that send the recommendations electronically to colleges. But you need to know your school’s policy and timing.
Be Courteous. Write a hand-written thank you note as gratitude for the time spent writing your recommendations. Teachers and administrators have busy schedules and take recommendations for students seriously. A token of appreciation will acknowledge their efforts.
Crisp Consulting + Coaching has information regarding admission, education and school options on our Facebook page, Google+, Twitter and YouTube Channel. Click here to schedule your free forty-five minute college, graduate school or boarding school admissions consultation. Learn how Crisp Consulting + Coaching assists families in navigating the admissions process.
Brian D. Crisp is an independent educational consultant with Crisp Consulting + Coaching who works with families in Asheville, Charleston, Raleigh-Durham and Savannah to optimize and realize their unique educational fit and admission success. As a former professor, administrator, and teacher, Brian has the knowledge and skills to counsel families in all aspects of educational planning.