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Being Smart about Recommendation Letters Before Senior Year of High School
http://www.savingforcollege.com/articles/being-smart-about-recommendation-letters-before-senior-year-of-high-school-816

Posted: 2015-08-03

by Lulu Curiel

Founder and CEO of Ivy Advisors

Beyond studying hard and participating in extracurricular activities, what is one of the most useful steps young students can take to improve their chances of getting into a top school?

The answer lies in making connections.

Your letters of recommendation are absolutely crucial. These letters are written by teachers, counselors, and sometimes even peers. They build a bridge from you to the school, often showing admissions officers what role you would assume on their campus.

Universities pride themselves on having very unique student bodies with well-rounded individuals, and it's your job to show admissions officers every aspect of your personality and life story. Your letters of recommendation should reveal personal traits that test scores and grades cannot.

However, as you're not allowed to view these letters before turning them in, it's imperative to make strong connections with select individuals from a young age. Don't wait until your senior year to start thinking about who you want to write your recommendation letters.

So what's the best way to familiarize yourself with your future advocates? How can you best display your personality in a memorable way without being overbearing?

RELATED: Tips on building a competitive profile for the Ivy League

  • Make time. Stay after school to talk to your teacher in a less formal setting where they can get to know you and your interests.
  • Show gratitude. Write your guidance counselor a thank-you note for everything he or she has helped you with.
  • Offer to help. Volunteer to help, even with the most minute things, before even a teacher asks for it.
  • Be proactive. Make appointments with your guidance counselor to talk about your career goals before your senior year. Show how you have made progress toward that goal.
  • Control the content. Prepare a brief with succinct and direct points that speak to your achievements, strengths, and growth potential so recommenders don't have to think too hard when answering the school's questions.
  • Make your case. Rate yourself on a number of criteria, such as teamwork, leadership, intellectual vitality, global awareness, humility, and others, and give reasons why you rate that way.
  • Give examples. In your brief, list specific events that demonstrate your strengths.

By being polite, proactive, and by going out of your way to communicate, you can create opportunities for yourself and your future.

When it comes to college admissions, you won't have the most control over the final decision, especially when applying to Ivy League universities, which on average admit 9% of an extremely competitive applicant pool. However, forging early connections with those you wish to write your letters of recommendation could make all the difference when it comes to being accepted into the college of your choosing.

RELATED: Help your child get into a top school.


Lulu Curiel is the Founder and CEO of Ivy Advisors, a leading Admissions Consulting company that helps people with their application process for college and graduate school. Lulu has helped over hundreds of people construct their application strategies and gain admissions to their respective dream schools. Prior to Ivy Advisors, Lulu worked at Apple and Deloitte Consulting. She has an MBA from the Harvard Business School, and a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Boston University.



Founder and CEO of Ivy Advisors

Beyond studying hard and participating in extracurricular activities, what is one of the most useful steps young students can take to improve their chances of getting into a top school?

The answer lies in making connections.

Your letters of recommendation are absolutely crucial. These letters are written by teachers, counselors, and sometimes even peers. They build a bridge from you to the school, often showing admissions officers what role you would assume on their campus.

Universities pride themselves on having very unique student bodies with well-rounded individuals, and it's your job to show admissions officers every aspect of your personality and life story. Your letters of recommendation should reveal personal traits that test scores and grades cannot.

However, as you're not allowed to view these letters before turning them in, it's imperative to make strong connections with select individuals from a young age. Don't wait until your senior year to start thinking about who you want to write your recommendation letters.

So what's the best way to familiarize yourself with your future advocates? How can you best display your personality in a memorable way without being overbearing?

RELATED: Tips on building a competitive profile for the Ivy League

  • Make time. Stay after school to talk to your teacher in a less formal setting where they can get to know you and your interests.
  • Show gratitude. Write your guidance counselor a thank-you note for everything he or she has helped you with.
  • Offer to help. Volunteer to help, even with the most minute things, before even a teacher asks for it.
  • Be proactive. Make appointments with your guidance counselor to talk about your career goals before your senior year. Show how you have made progress toward that goal.
  • Control the content. Prepare a brief with succinct and direct points that speak to your achievements, strengths, and growth potential so recommenders don't have to think too hard when answering the school's questions.
  • Make your case. Rate yourself on a number of criteria, such as teamwork, leadership, intellectual vitality, global awareness, humility, and others, and give reasons why you rate that way.
  • Give examples. In your brief, list specific events that demonstrate your strengths.

By being polite, proactive, and by going out of your way to communicate, you can create opportunities for yourself and your future.

When it comes to college admissions, you won't have the most control over the final decision, especially when applying to Ivy League universities, which on average admit 9% of an extremely competitive applicant pool. However, forging early connections with those you wish to write your letters of recommendation could make all the difference when it comes to being accepted into the college of your choosing.

RELATED: Help your child get into a top school.


Lulu Curiel is the Founder and CEO of Ivy Advisors, a leading Admissions Consulting company that helps people with their application process for college and graduate school. Lulu has helped over hundreds of people construct their application strategies and gain admissions to their respective dream schools. Prior to Ivy Advisors, Lulu worked at Apple and Deloitte Consulting. She has an MBA from the Harvard Business School, and a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Boston University.



 

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