This is a post by our one of our 2013-14 DIP interns. In this post, Ricky Chae, a Senior at Temescal Canyon High School in Elsinore Valley, offers suggestions for putting together your letters of recommendation for upcoming college applications.
For all of the high school juniors out there, it is important that you begin to think about which teachers you want to ask for letters of recommendation. Although you are free to ask any teachers of your choice, colleges recommend that you choose teachers from your core classes (english, mathematics, social studies, science) in the 10th, 11th, or 12th grade. Keep in mind that there are many other students in your class who will ask the same teachers, so take the initiative and request the letters as soon as possible. If you are considering applying early to college, you can even ask your teachers before summer break begins! However, whatever you choose to do, make sure you have a ‘brag sheet’ prepared (a list of all your academic information, honors, awards, work experience, extra-curricular activities, future plans/goals, etc.) and give your teachers at least three weeks to write the letters. Most importantly, thank your teachers for all the time and effort that they put into writing your letter!!
Letters of recommendation allow college admissions officers to learn more about your personality and contributions to the classroom environment. In other words, the letters of recommendation give the admissions officers another perspective on the applicant aside from what the applicant has written on paper. Some colleges may ask you for one letter of recommendation, while other colleges may ask you for two or more. Teachers will write about your academic achievements and extra-curricular activities to give the admissions officers a sense of how you will be as a college student.
Here are the main points from this blog post:
- Ask your teachers for letters of recommendation ASAP (at least 3 weeks)!
- Choose teachers who you believe know you best (preferably those who teach the aforementioned core classes) and can write you a thoughtful letter.
- Include as many details as you can in your brag sheet! (Senior class load, Cumulative GPA, Class rank, AP test scores, Most important work done in that specific class, Community service hours, Awards, Interests, etc.)
- Be kind and very grateful toward your teachers because they are taking their own time at home to write you a letter!!
- Plan ahead and check on progress! Remind your teacher once a week or so about the deadline just in case they forget!