Almost all the colleges ask for recommendations letters for students. A well crafted recommendation letter adds great value to your application. Though you may think that you do not really have any control over the recommendations that you get, you certainly can control your recommendations to a certain extent.
There are some ways to get great recommendations for your college application:
Choose the right people: Some students make the mistake of acquiring recommendations from influential or well known figures. Your aunt may know Oprah Winfrey, but Oprah doesn’t know you well enough to write a meaningful recommendation letter for you. Such types of letters from celebrities or distant acquaintances may sound superficial and meaningless. So it’s best to ask for recommendation from the people who know you and who have observed your work. They may be your teachers, coaches, mentors, community leaders etc.
Be the early bird: Teachers are often asked to write a lot of recommendations for their students. It adds to their already hectic work schedule. So ask for a recommendation as early as possible and allow your recommender enough time. This way you will get a better letter, because after writing 10 or 15 recommendations teachers may run low on energy and inspiration. So give them enough time to write a unique and thoughtful recommendation for you.
Be polite: Keep in mind that you are asking for a favor. Your recommenders are busy people and you are adding to their work. So make sure to choose the right tone and words while asking for recommendation letter. It should in no way sound imposing. Otherwise it may harm your chances of getting a great recommendation.
Don’t forget stamps and envelopes: You want to make recommendation writing easy for your recommender and not add to their burden. So be sure to provide appropriately addressed and stamped envelopes to them. This will also ensure that your letter reaches the right destination.
Provide all the information they need: High school teachers teach a lot of students each year, so it may not be possible for them to remember many things about you. So make the job easier for them. In a cover letter, include all the details. Attach the papers that you have done for that teacher along with his or her remarks. List the projects that you have done. And also mention what you most enjoyed in his or her class. This way, they will be able to place you better and write a worthy recommendation letter for you.
Include your college resume: Include your college resume for the reference of your recommender. Your college resume contains all your accomplishments and your activities in detail. So it will be a quick reference for your recommenders. And it will remind them of your achievements.
Mention what you want to be highlighted: If you want certain aspects of your academic performance or your extracurricular activities to be highlighted, mention so. There is no harm in letting your recommender know that what you are exactly looking for in their recommendation.
Reminder: You don’t want your recommendation letter to reach your college late. And the chances are that due to their busy schedules your recommenders have not yet got around writing your letter. So it’s better to remind them a week in advance. But don’t sound impatient or pushy; instead ask politely and tactfully, as ‘thank you sir for writing my recommendation letter.’
Show your gratitude: Don’t forget to send a follow up thank you note or card. Let your teacher or recommender know that you appreciate their effort and valuable time. You can express your appreciation by sending a well thought hand written note, or a card, or some small token gift like homemade cookies or thank you mug. It will surely make their day!
The above are some great ways to ensure that you get a good recommendation letter for your college application.
Article written and published by Sun Maag. For Connecticut colleges & universities degree programs visit CollegeInfo.com.