The Ins and Outs of Letters of Recommendation

Put some thought into who should write your letter of recommendation.

While often overlooked as a vital part of the college admissions process, letters of recommendation do have the power to make or break your college application, and deserve a bit of introspection. This article in The Buffalo News by Lee Bierer, an independent college adviser based in Charlotte, N.C. and a member of College Essay Organizer, discusses what students should consider before soliciting their favorite teacher for a recommendation. Here are a few points to consider:

  • "Be strategic" about choosing a teacher. The teacher whose class you found to be the easiest, may not be your best choice.
  • Think about choosing a teacher who knows you well enough to provide information about you inside and outside of the classroom and can "tell a good story about the applicant."
  • If only one letter of recommendation is necessary, be sure to choose one from a "core subject teacher  (English, math, science, social studies or foreign language)."
  • When you do decide on a teacher, ask in person so you can get a good sense of his or her reaction. If the teacher agrees, be sure to provide a resume so that he or she can know more about you. And follow up with a thank you note after completion.



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