Posts Tagged ‘teacher recommendations’

Finding a Teacher to Write Your Recommendation Letter

Categories: Admissions Advice

An important part of your college application will be the letters of recommendation from your teachers. Each school is different – some will ask teachers to write an actual letter. Others, like those that use the Common Application, will ask the teacher to fill out a form with specific short answer questions. These won’t necessarily make or break your entrance into a certain school, but it is within your power to make sure you get the best recommendations possible. It doesn’t have to be stressful – teachers are used to writing these and will often be glad you asked.

A lot of students feel lost in this section of their application because they don’t know which teacher to ask to write their letter. It really, truly helps to make a list. A long list. A list of every teacher you have had during your high school career. Once you have created this list, go over it a few times and think about the teachers you enjoyed most. Were there any with whom you had a great connection? Are there any that stand out just by looking at this list? If there are, start with those teachers.

While having teachers that taught you in your junior and senior years is a plus, there is no reason to rule out a teacher you had as a freshman if you really clicked. If you had a teacher for more than one class or multiple years, this is a great opportunity for them to write about how you’ve grown as a student.

It’s important to remember that your teacher is not writing a letter about how smart you are or how perfect your grades were – or weren’t! They are giving the school more information about you in an academic context. Whether you are worried that your bad grades and low test scores will hurt your chances of college acceptance, or that you lack extra-cirricular activities and zest on your transcript: talk to a teacher who knows you more as a person and will vouch for your character.

It is totally valid to discuss the letter of recommendation with your chosen teacher and ask them to be honest. This is your future! You can ask, “Do you feel comfortable recommending me to this school?” If they do, great. Remind them of your application deadline! If they don’t, they will tell you. Don’t get discouraged! Ask a teacher who believes in you. You deserve it.

Here are a few more pointers from Cappex that you might want to consider when thinking about teacher recommendations!

Comments: 2 Comments »

High School Juniors: November College Check Up

Categories: Admissions Advice

Just like you (should) see a doctor every year to check up on your general health and make sure everything’s going swimmingly–and hopefully leave with an awesome sticker or lollipop–you should have a college-bound check up to make sure you’re on track with your college dreams.

For high school juniors, it’s coming down to crunch time. It may seem like you have all the time in the world to prepare for your college applications, but with all of your other responsibilities and school work, getting everything done in time for next fall’s deadlines requires that you help your future self out by starting to prepare now!

So, if you’re a high school junior with college goals, here are some important benchmarks you should make sure you hit during November:

Meet with your guidance counselor
November of your junior year is a great time to meet with your school’s guidance or college counselor to discuss your goals and make sure you’re on track for high school graduation. Your counselor will not only be able to provide you with information for preparing for college, but they can also let you know what credits you still need to graduate and how you can make sure you will accomplish that. You don’t want to find out that you didn’t earn enough credits in fine arts the day before you walk across the stage at your graduation ceremony (remember when Zach Morris had to perform in the ballet recital in order to graduate from Bayside??? That was crazy!!!).

Prepare for testing
During your junior year, you should take time to study for the tests that apply to the school you want to go to. That may be the ACT, SAT, SAT II’s, etc. Whatever the appropriate tests are, give yourself enough time to study and then take the test over again if you did not earn the score you want.

The next registration for the SAT is today(!!!) for the December 3rd test. The next registration for the ACT isn’t until January 13th for the February test. See? It’s important to plan ahead.

Think about future recommendations
It’s still a bit early, but you should get the gears moving about which teachers/coaches/community members/employers you can ask for recommendations in the near future. You’re going to want to ask them as early as the end of your junior year. Also…it’s better to get thinking early on this because you might just realize you don’t have a good person in mind for a recommendation. If that’s the case, start forming a relationship with you teachers. Be active during class; stay after to further discuss what happened in class, etc.

Are you prepared? Or, do you have advice for juniors at this stage in the game? Leave a comment below!