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Recommended Ways to Get Great Letters of Recommendation

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Recommended Ways to Get Great Letters of Recommendation

If you are a high school senior working your way through the college application process, one thing that might be lurking in the back of your mind is the need to request letters of recommendation. Whether you are using the Common App or Universal Application, or each college’s own application, you might have noticed that large chunks of information are pretty straightforward – classes, grades, activities, etc. It might seem like it is impossible to show who you really are, but there are ways to make your personality stand out from the crowd.

One way to present your unique self is through the application essays, but it can be difficult for some students to express themselves well through the written word. So this puts a lot more pressure on those who are writing your letters of recommendation to really present a full picture of your capabilities. If you are applying to college from a list that includes safety, target, and reach schools, the letter becomes more important as you move up the scale of possibility. To add a boost to your college application, here are some recommended ways to get great letters of recommendation:

 Choose Carefully: The choice of someone to write a letter of recommendation might not be as obvious as it seems. Definitely look at what your colleges require, but also think about other people who know you well enough to describe your unique personality traits, as well as somebody who has a flair for writing. While teachers or coaches are usually the obvious choice, you can also look at someone who was with you during a life-changing moment. You can then pick up and elaborate on this train of thought in your personal essay.

 Allow Them Plenty of Time: The people you want to write these letters usually have lives of their own, or they might be asked to write letters for several students, so you want to make sure there is plenty of time for them to think about you and write a proper referral. Look at your deadlines, especially if you are applying early decision or early action, and try to leave your writers at least a month of time. Make sure you also provide any specific requirements the college has, so you won’t have to go back and ask them to make any revisions.

 Give Them an Idea: If you are going for a specific theme in your application, let your letter writers know how they might help support it. Remind them of a particular incident, or of a special skill or accomplishment, that might give them a starting point to provide something unique for you.

Finally, make sure you thank the people who take time to write these letters. This is something they do because they want to help you get ahead, so let them know their efforts are appreciated – especially when you get accepted!

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