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Don't go on the summer break without a letter of recommendation

One of the most important parts of a college application, the letters of recommendation, aren't even filled out by students. The letters will be completed by your advisor and usually two teachers. Most private colleges require an advisor and one or two teacher recommendations. Of the colleges that request letters of recommendation, many consider them "significant" or "moderate" in admissions decisions. Therefore, students should make sure they ask their teachers early on. If your high school senior has a good year with a teacher, let him ask for the letter now! They're not due until the fall, but when the teachers have more time they can think more about the letter.

But what if your student studied online this year?

As with many things, disruptions due to COVID-19 have made this standard practice of asking for letters of recommendation a little more complicated. Test-optional guidelines passed by colleges and universities after the pandemic have given more weight to the letters in order to differentiate the applicant when there are no test results. However, online learning means less traditional ways for students to get to know their teacher and for the teacher to get to know the student.

Whether your junior is studying online or in person, here are some tips to get great referrals and to maximize their effectiveness.

  1. Choose recommendations wisely. When it comes to who to ask, students want someone who knows them well enough to write something special about them. The best recommendations provide insight into the students and demonstrate knowledge of their school success. You want someone to write about your child's talents and skills in the classroom and more. Make sure you ask a teacher in whose class your student is very well attended, actively attends class, and gets good grades. When studying online, make sure it is in a class where your student regularly participates in virtual discussions and activities, and the camera is on during live sessions.
    Also, make sure the recommender is someone who likes your student. Most likely, students and parents will never see the letter that was written, so it must be from someone the student is comfortable with.
  2. Choose someone to teach a core subject. Some colleges state that at least one (or all) letters of recommendation must be from a teacher in a core subject (math, English, science, history, or world language). Unless the college specifies, students should still include at least one principal teacher. With additional letters of recommendation, think of the topics or activities in which the student is most involved. For example, the publisher of the school newspaper can name his journalism teacher as an additional recommender. A coach or other adult mentor can also write a supplementary recommendation.
  3. Student: Ask your recommender. In the joint application and coalition application, students can simply add a teacher's name as a recommendation. To do Not do that. Students attending class in person should try to speak privately with their teacher. Directly questioning a teacher shows that the child respects the person's time and opinion and takes this process seriously. If a student is virtual or unable to speak privately to their teacher, they should email their teacher to ask if they will write the recommendation. Students should not include the teacher's name on their application until they have agreed to write for them.
  4. Help the referrer. Once the referrer has said yes, students should ensure that they give their referrers everything they need to write the letter and submit it on time. This includes the student's full name, email address, phone number, college deadlines, and detailed examples of performance / improvement in the teacher's subject and class. Use caution when submitting a resume to a referrer. You want the recommender to write about the student's work and their contributions to their class. You don't want them to list your activities. But when they ask for the resume make sure you have one ready!
  5. pursue. Remember, referrals are doing you a favor. Students should show their appreciation by sending a thank you letter or email. A gift card is always welcome, but not required.

International College Counselors will launch another blog in September reminding students to receive additional letters of recommendation, such as that from their counselor. Ideally, the more time a referrer has, the more time he or she has to write something reflective and thorough.

If you have any questions about securing letters of recommendation, ICC advisors can help you and your students. Email your International College Counselors advisor or call 954-414-9986.

Filed Under: International College Counselors Blog, Tips For High School JuniorsTagged With: College Admissions, College Support, College Aid, College Recommendation Letters, Counselor Recommendation Letters, Counselor Recommendation Letters, Recommendation Letters, Recommendation Letter, Teacher Recommendation Letters, Teacher Letters, Teacher Letters of Recommendation , Letters of recommendation from the teacher