Fine Tune Your Recommendations
If you think of teacher and counselor recommendations as being outside your control, you are missing a BIG opportunity. Although you won’t see what your recommenders submit on your behalf, you are most certainly able to influence what they say about you. Take ownership of your recommendations! The informed college bound student will recognize that recommenders want to write a strong letter that will have a positive impact. Consider that most teachers and counselors are overworked and don’t have the time to scrutinize your application packet. How can you help them understand that unique picture of yourself that you are presenting to your target schools? I am a proponent of creating a custom information packet for each of your recommenders. Rather than each of them working from the same template of information, their focus will be on a specific piece of your overall picture puzzle of yourself. Don’t waste a valuable puzzle piece by having two recommenders say the same thing about you.
What you are looking for from your endorsers is that extra input and detail that could put you over the finish line. If you have A’s in math, and your endorser states that you are good at math, you have wasted a puzzle piece. Instead, HOW did you get that A in math? Are you passionate about the subject? Do you help explain concepts to other students when the teacher can’t seem to reach them? Are you part of the school’s math Olympiad? Do you tutor math in your spare time? These are all details that the recommendation can expand on which will take the admissions reader beyond your transcript. I have included guidelines and suggestions in the Complete Candidate™ workbook to assist you in compiling recommendation packets which will encourage your writers to provide valuable insight into your personality.