The Best Letter Of Recommendation – When I applied to college I applied to Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, MIT, Ivy League, UC Berkeley, UCLA, etc. I was accepted to every school I applied to. Although my overall application was strong, two letters of recommendation from my teacher helped me get accepted. Why? Both teachers said I was one of the best students they had ever taught. Both supported my personality, leadership skills and strengths. How do you get letters of recommendation that will get you into the colleges of your choice? I’ll show you how in this article. This is the first time I’m sharing my full, raw letters of recommendation with you as examples. These are actual letters from when I applied to college. Even better, you’ll see what my Harvard admissions officer has highlighted—something that’s really important and worth paying attention to. First things first The first quick question is how confident are you that you know what colleges are looking for in your letters of recommendation? Do you have a good idea of what makes an effective letter and what a bad letter looks like? Many students have the wrong idea of what colleges are looking for in their letters of recommendation. This naturally results in lowercase letters for the students. Before I show you my letters, I want to first explain why letters of recommendation from teachers are such an important part of your college application, and then why effective letters can be so effective. If you’re a bit of a master and want to jump straight to my letters, here’s Recommendation Letter Example #1 and Recommendation Letter Example #2. But I encourage you to stick with me for the next two parts – you’ll get a lot more out of this guide, and you’ll get much stronger letters. Why are teacher recommendation letters so important for college? The goal of your overall college application is to communicate who you are as a person in an easily digestible package that takes 20 minutes (or less) to understand. From this package, colleges decide if you want to join their community. Yeah, it’s not cool to have 18 years of your life compressed into web forms. But these colleges have come up with the best systems colleges have ever come up with to handle the tens of thousands of college applications they receive each year. (Or in UCLA’s case, 135,000+ applications.) What do colleges care about most? Ultimately, it comes down to two things: how likely you are to succeed in college and career, and how useful you will be to the school community as a student and beyond. These are the ultimate goals for colleges when choosing their next class of students. Your application must convince the college that you will succeed in both objectives. Of course, these are complicated ideas – not only is success hard to predict, but different people have different ideas of what success means. But there are some general principles that apply to most colleges: Past academic success is a big predictor of future academic success, which in turn predicts career success. certain personality traits are preferred: loyalty, leadership, curiosity, creativity, empathy, perseverance, motivation, ambition, cooperation, confidence, etc. You don’t have to be perfect on all dimensions, but some of them should really impress you. You also generally want to avoid the opposite of these traits. These are all bad adjectives: rude, bigoted, unmotivated, selfish, arrogant, rude. For the first admissions requirement of academic success, your coursework and test scores play the biggest role. If you take a rigorous course load, earn a high GPA, and score high on the SAT/ACT, you’ve proven you can handle high school academics. This means you are in an excellent position to succeed academically in college. Think your SAT/ACT scores aren’t high enough to impress your top colleges? For each test, we’ve written a guide to the top 5 strategies you should use to have a chance to improve your SAT/ACT score. Download it now for free: How do you demonstrate the second requirement – personality? Part of this is in your personal essays and extracurriculars, where you show what interests you and give voice to your personality. But of course you can also describe yourself as curious, creative, cooperative, friendly, etc. you describe. Who describes themselves as rude and rude? That’s why colleges need objective, third-party observers to comment on who you are. Here are some teacher suggestions and their importance. The role of a cover letter is to show who you are as a person. Your teachers have worked with you for at least a year. They have seen you with other students in class and possibly outside of class. There are hundreds of small interactions that together form a teacher’s impression of you. How is your relationship with the students? How is your relationship with teachers? How creative was your work? How involved were you in class discussions? How motivated were you to excel in school? Are you an idiot that no one wants to be around? Or is it you to whom the teacher entrusted the future? A good teacher recommendation tells the school all of the above. Let’s hear from Harvard’s Dean of Admissions. What if you still don’t believe me? I’m just a guy with my own admissions experience. So I’d like to call William Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions at Harvard College: Recommendations from high school teachers and counselors are very important at Harvard and at many other colleges, especially colleges that have an admissions process. Faced with more academically qualified applicants than first-year places, our admissions officers carefully review the two mandatory teacher recommendations and the counselor’s report and comment on them in writing on the “reader sheets” of each application. We often project proposals on large screens for all members of the admissions committee to see during the subcommittee and full committee review processes in February and March. Recommendations help us look beyond test scores and grades and other credentials and highlight personal qualities such as character and leadership, as well as intellectual curiosity, creativity and a love of learning. Along with application essays, interviews, and other materials, recommendations can demonstrate the applicant’s potential to make a significant difference in the college community and beyond. Note how the source says Harvard “faced more academically qualified applicants than places.” What does this mean? “Among a pool of students with the same academic qualifications, we use personality traits to decide who should be admitted or not.” And letters of recommendation for students describe these personality traits. To beat the dead horse: Teacher recommendations add more color to your academic performance, test scores, and GPA. The best letters of recommendation for colleges compliment your personality and personality. My two letters below are so effective. You don’t want your letters of recommendation to be a repeat of your resume. This does not give the receptionist any additional information about who you are. You don’t want “Johnny got an A and turned in his homework on time” in your letters of recommendation. This clearly shows that the teacher does not know who you are as a person, which means that it gives zero in your application. Good recommendations say more about your class performance. They will discuss your personality traits, how you can relate to them and why you can be successful in the future. First, I will show you in analysis why my letters are so effective. You will see highlights from my Harvard admissions officer, who will tell you what he thought was important. Next, I’ll give you advice on how to build relationships with teachers so you can get letters like this on your own. Samples of my letters of recommendation Normally, you cannot read student letters of recommendation because you sign a FERPA waiver and give up your right to read your application. But I was able to get the Common App and my full Harvard application from Harvard, with original letters of recommendation. Many colleges require two letters from teachers in different subjects. The two teachers I requested letters from were two of my favorite teachers throughout high school. Personally, I am impressed by teachers who really care about teaching. They energized engaged students, treated us with kindness and compassion, and went above and beyond to help students succeed. I had the most fun with these teachers, but they also passionately defended me in their letters. You may not get along with teachers for the same reasons, but it’s important to choose teachers you get along with and get along with.
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