The part of the college admissions process that you don’t have full control over is the recommendation letter. These stories of support by coaches, counselors, mentors and teachers can become powerful testimonials in support of the student’s application. Letters of recommendation provide a contextual interpretation of academic performance as writers share critical insight to the learning style and habits of the potential enrollee, along with their ability to respond to adverse conditions.
Selecting Recommenders. Seek people that are most likely to positively support you with their best writing effort. This doesn’t have to be the teacher of the class where you make the highest grades or who is your favorite. Select those that understand your goals, passion for education and those who can comment on your critical thinking and communication skills.
Allow ample time. Some of those that agree to write letters of recommendation may not be able to get to them immediately or at the last minute. Make sure they have enough time to collect their thoughts and write the best letter possible. Also, understand that teachers and counselors get asked by multiple students to write letters for college acceptance and private scholarships. Plan accordingly.
Explain your passion. If time allows, have a brief meeting with each recommender and explain the importance education has in your future goals. This time will serve as the thought-provoking communication needed to inspire the best letters of support.
Provide information. Don’t assume that because you’ve had the same teacher for two years that they know the overall picture of your educational journey. Share a brief resume of achievements and activities with each person that agrees to write a letter of recommendation. It is also extremely important to provide the recommender with appropriate forms (some schools require the recommendation be submitted on a pre-printed document they provide) and reiterate application deadlines. It is customary to include all necessary postage-related items such as a pre-addressed envelopes with pre-paid postage already affixed.