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Your Guide to Recommendation Letters

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college letter of recommendationHow much do you know about letters of recommendation? Many colleges and scholarships require them with your application, so it’s time to brush up on the basics and figure out just what you need to do to get a great letter of recommendation for college.

Why Are They Important?
Your application for a university or scholarship clearly expresses why you want a spot in the school or money to pay for it. But a recommendation from someone else carries a lot of weight. Whether you’re trying to get into your top-choice school or win a huge scholarship, having someone else vouch for you gives you a leg up.

Who Should I Ask for a Recommendation?
Almost anyone can write this letter for you. A coach. Your favorite teacher. Someone who oversees an organization you volunteer at. The manager at your part-time job. A religious or community leader you’ve known for a while. Any person who can speak highly of your work ethic, abilities, or dedication is someone you want writing your recommendation letters.

What Do I Say?
We get it. Sometimes it’s awkward to ask for a favor. But believe it or not, most people would be thrilled to write you a letter of recommendation. More often than not, they’re flattered you picked them to help you.

Ask in person whenever possible. You second best option is the phone, but you should only use email when you can’t get in touch with someone any other way. Tell them what scholarship or college you’re applying for and ask if they’re able to write a letter of recommendation to support your application. Be sure to give at least a few weeks’ notice so they have time to get it done.

What Do They Need From Me?
So you’ve found the people who will write your letters.  But you’re not done just yet – you should supply them with the following things before they start writing:

  • The Deadline: Let them know when you’ll need the letter and when the entire application is due. Don’t forget to follow up with a reminder!
  • Your Resume: Community leaders, teachers, and coaches often deal with a lot of students. Even if you’re sure the person you’ve asked knows your history, provide them with a resume to jog their memory or provide additional details.
  • Stamped and Addressed Envelopes: The individual writing your recommendation is doing you a favor, so make the process as easy as possible for them. Provide stamped, addressed envelopes so they can just put the letters in the mailbox when they’re done.
  • A Thank-You Note: After the letters are finished and mailed, don’t forget to follow up with note expressing your appreciation. Let the writer know you’ll keep them updated on the status of your application, and follow through on that promise.

Have any other tips or advice for high school students about letters of recommendation? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

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Get Ready for the College Access + Diversity Fair!

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The College Access + Diversity Fair is almost here! (In case you missed it, click here to learn what it’s all about.) This virtual event is free to attend and takes place this Wednesday, October 1, from 3pm – 7pm Central Standard Time (CST). Will you be joining us?

If you haven’t registered for the fair yet, you can do so for free!

Click Here to Register


Remember, this is your chance to personally connect with admissions representatives and get all your questions answered, so don’t hold back! There are many great questions you could ask the representatives, but we’ve put together a list of suggestions to help get you started. Check them out below!

  • How can I make my application stand out?
  • What advice do you have for me about the college application process?
  • What kinds of scholarships does your college offer?
  • What do students like most about your college?
  • What is your college best known for?
  • What kinds of clubs, sports, organizations, and other fun activities are offered at your college?
  • What kinds of resources and support services are available at your college?
  • What percentage of your students graduate in four years?
  • What percentage of your students graduate with a job or go on to graduate school?

Representatives from 39 different colleges and universities from all across the country will be attending the fair! Learn more about each school by clicking on the links below.

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Announcing the Diversity + College Access Fair!

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The Diversity + College Access Fair is a free online event for high school students who are preparing to apply for college. By holding the event online, students can meet with college admissions representatives from all over the country from the comfort of their home, school, or after-school program.

At the Diversity + College Access Fair, students can:

  • Earn a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship just for attending
  • Watch live presentations from experts in admissions and financial aid
  • Learn about campus life from current college students
  • Have all their college and financial aid questions answered
  • Connect with colleges who are looking for students just like them

Please join us on Wednesday, October 1st, from 3pm – 7pm Central Standard Time (CST) to let us help you find your dream school!

Register for free by clicking here!

Participating colleges include:

American University, Washington D.C.
Carleton College, Northfield, MN
Earlham College, Richmond, IN
Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA
Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, TN
Manhattan College, Bronx, NY
Oregon Tech, Klamath Falls, OR
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Union College, Schenectady, NY
University of Denver, Denver, CO
Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, VA
Yale University, New Haven, CT

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