Many colleges use a holistic process to evaluate applicants, seeking to understand the "whole person" and not solely rely on grades and test scores. One way they accomplish this is by reading recommendation letters from teachers and counselors. Why Are Recommendations Important to Your College Application?
Because so many students are qualified in terms of their grades and test scores, admissions officers can’t rely entirely on this objective criteria. Instead, they use a holistic process to get to know the whole student, including her personality, values, and goals. This awareness helps them determine who to accept, plus it allows them to build a diverse class of students with a variety of interests, experiences, and goals.
For these reasons, admissions officers seek to get to know each student, from what motivates her to what role she might play on a college campus. They gain insight from the student directly, but they also learn a lot from what school authorities have to say - specifically, from teachers and counselors. Why Are Recommendations Important to Your College Application?
Your recommendation letters can (and should) reveal a number of things about you. They should speak to your academic strengths and interests, your personal qualities, your role in your school community, and your potential direction in the future. Whether your recommenders talk about it explicitly or not, a positive letter also suggests your ability to get along with your teachers and others in your school.
For admissions officers seeking to learn more about you, these letters offer a great deal of insight into who you are and how you’ll fit in and work with others at college. Plus, they lend support to the idea that you’ll contribute and add value to your college campus and society in the future.
How to Request Letters of Recommendations:
- Ask teachers, counselors, and administrators who know you well and who will write you a personalized positive letter of recommendation.
- Make your request at least two weeks before the letter is due. Never request a letter of recommendation the day the letter is due.
- Provide the recommendation form for the colleges with all the information completed. Providing a recommendation form to the recommender gives them more insight to your academic accomplishments and extra curricular activities. Click on this link for a recommendation form Letter of Recommendation Student Profile
- Place the recommendation form in a file folder or envelope. On the front, print your name, the list of colleges to which you are applying and the due date for each letter.
- Most importantly: After you have received the letter of recommendation, or the letter has been electronically submitted, send the writer a thank-you-note. He or she will appreciate it, and chances are you will need to request another letter later in the year.