Did you know that a great letter of recommendation is gold for your college applications?
It’s true! College admissions committees love letters of recommendations because teachers can provide a unique and trusted point of view on your academic level, your personality, leadership capability and readiness for college.
So to help you, we’ve put together three ways to get the ideal letter of recommendation from your teachers and help you get into the college of your choice.
1. Have a good relationship with your teachers.
Before you ask any of your teachers for a letter of recommendation, think about your favorite classes in school. What subjects are you most passionate about? Those are the classes where you probably most naturally click with your teacher and have shown genuine interest in the subject. Be sure to participate in class discussions, do well on quizzes and tests and turn in your homework on time. If you haven’t been doing that, it’s not too late! Now is the time to change. Tell your teacher you want to improve, and follow through on that promise! Your teachers will notice and appreciate the initiative.
Also, be sure to stop by after classes to ask any questions you have about class material and make your passion in your favorite subjects known. You’d be surprised by how many students hide from their teachers just how much they like a class or subject. Good grades are great, but you’ll stand out to your teachers if you share with them how much you enjoy their class.
2. Take school seriously and participate in extracurricular activities.
Don’t limit your participation to one or two teachers’ classes. Get involved in sports, clubs and activities that match well with your interests. You’ll get to know more teachers in the school, faculty supervisors and other school staff who help with a variety of extracurricular activities. These teachers will get to see you out of the classroom and observe just how well you work with other students, take on leadership roles and how much you care about the cause or activity you’re involved in. The teachers who know you as a member of a club or sport will be able to write a great letter of recommendation that colleges value because they can speak to your character, leadership and interest in being part of a community.
3. Give your teachers a few ideas for your letter of recommendation, and follow up with a thank you note.
Teachers are very busy people. Asking them to write a letter of recommendation for you is asking them to take time out of their crazy day to sit down and think about your class participation and why you’d be a good fit for a certain college. Find a quiet time after class or school to ask them for the letter. Be sincere when you ask them, and tell them why you’ve chosen them as someone who can recommend you. Include your résumé along with a few facts about the colleges you’re considering, why you are interested in them and why you are applying to college in the first place.
For example, are you asking your biology teacher for a recommendation to attend a college with a great nursing program you’re interested in? Perhaps you write for the school paper and you’re interested in journalism, but your English teacher doesn’t know that. Then, write down that information and include it with a one-page resume to give to your teacher so they can make your letter of recommendation as specific as possible. After they finish the letter of recommendation, make sure to write them a nice, handwritten note to thank them for their time!
Remember, it’s up to you to take the initiative and stand out from your peers. If you follow through with these three tips, we have no doubt you’ll receive a great letter of recommendation from your teachers that are sure to impress college admission committees.