A college recommendation letter can be one of the most important aspects of your application. A good letter of recommendation should discuss your character, accomplishments, and why you are a good fit for the school in question. The first step, though, is having someone who can write this letter for you. Whether it be a teacher, a coach, a mentor, or another significant figure in your life, it is important to create strong relationships throughout your high school experience so you have some quality candidates—qualified adults who know you and can speak to your character and your potential. Read more to learn about how to start building important relationships that will support you in your college application efforts.
College Recommendation Letter: Where To Start?
Starting the process of finding the right people to write on your behalf can be tricky. Start by assessing your own strengths, accomplishments, and your level of college preparedness so you can go into your conversation with key details and material for your writer to base their recommendations on. Many people will ask you for some specific information when you ask them for a letter of recommendation. This should go past the general information listed on a resume; also think of what you are passionate about or what you hope to study within your higher educational journey. Preparing this information in advance will only further show your commitment to excellence and will help ensure the individual writing your letter of recommendation will have what they need to be concise and effective within their letter.
One way to prepare is by taking the Empowerly Quiz. The Empowerly Quiz will give you insight into your college application readiness. If you need more information, you can also attain a separate Empowerly Score through the Empowerly portal. The Empowerly Score is an incredibly useful tool that can be used to help you identify areas of strength for your college profile. You can then share this information with those writing a letter of recommendation for you to help to avoid generic or mediocre letters.
Who To Ask for a Letter of Recommendation for College
Asking the right person for a letter of recommendation for college applications is probably the most important factor. You want to ask someone who knows you, can speak to your character, and describe specific events or situations in which you have shown grit, integrity, and excellence.
Some college applications will specifically ask for recommendation letters from two teachers and a counselor. In that case, you have your list narrowed down already. Others may let you choose who you ask. Either way, ask people who know you well and who know your strengths. Additionally, you will also want to be sure the person you ask is excited to help you. Consider asking a teacher whom you like, have performed well academically for, and one who has the time to write a well-thought-out letter. You can also ask a teacher who may have also been your coach or involved in your extracurricular pursuits as they can talk about your performance and ability in and out of the classroom.
While it is a good idea to plan to include at least three letters of recommendation for your college applications, you can always ask a few extra people as a backup plan. If you ask additional teachers or administrators who know you, you can avoid any issues of a late or delayed letter. If your college prefers that you don’t see your own letters before submission, be sure to comply—the reason for this rule is to prevent students from influencing the teacher’s opinions. If you do have a chance to see them beforehand, however, pick which letters are unique, tailored to you, and show your best qualities and accomplishments.
It is important to note that you need to give your teachers, counselors, etc. plenty of time to write your letter. You will want them to have the ability to take their time, consider what they want to say, and make edits as needed. Not to mention, they might be writing letters of recommendation for a handful of other students around the exact same time. Don’t forget to thank your recommenders, as well; a handwritten note goes a long way.
What To Ask Writers To Include in Your College Recommendation Letter
As mentioned, it is important to prepare specific information about yourself and your accomplishments for those selected to write your college recommendation letter. Even if you have a great relationship with a teacher or counselor, they may not know everything about you or your other extracurriculars. It is a good idea to put together a packet of information such as a resume, unofficial transcript, and information regarding your extracurriculars. A college admissions counselor can also help you to prepare information and help you make the best selections for who to ask for your letter of recommendation. Empowerly offers counseling services with college admissions experts to help you through the process and set you up on the best path toward success.
How Empowerly Can Help
You should also research some of the partnership offerings we offer. Empowerly provides many workshops to schools and community organizations to help you through the college admissions process. Our expert counselors can provide college letter of recommendation insights and tips to help guide you through the ins and outs of asking and receiving strong letters of recommendation from your teachers.
You only get one shot to impress college admissions. You want each aspect of your college application including your letters of recommendation to stand out above the rest. Quality, informative, and well-thought-out recommendation letters are key to a successful college application. Using resources such as Empowerly can help you ensure you have what you need to submit great recommendation letters and an overall competitive college application and we are here to help you every step of the way.