Stand Out With a Stellar Letter of Recommendation

Stand Out With a Stellar Letter of Recommendation image 1 (name IMG Find Your Path With Career Counseling 1 1)

A letter of recommendation allows your personality, achievements, and academic potential to shine through on your college application. This is a chance to stand out among other applicants and demonstrate why you’d be a great fit for your college of choice.

The kind of recommendations you need may vary depending on the college, university, or program that you’re applying for. Still, most schools require at least two letters from teachers or guidance counselors, as well as other adults who know you well, including mentors, coaches, employers, or community leaders.

While in high school, start building relationships with adults who could speak about your academic success, leadership skills, and personality. Participating in classroom discussions, joining a club, or asking for help are just a few ways to develop relationships with your teachers. Be mindful of your actions and effort in class or an extracurricular activity and keep track of academic or personal achievements that could aid in letter writing. Teachers may be asked to write several letters; some reminders of your accomplishments may be helpful.

You can expect to ask for letters of recommendation from some of the following:

  • Teachers: A letter written by a high school teacher is a great opportunity to share your academic success along with other skills and traits. Depending on where you apply, you may be asked to provide a letter of recommendation from a teacher of a particular subject — usually English, math, science, or social studies.
  • Counselor or advisor: A high school counselor can be an excellent resource for a letter about your academic record, extracurricular activities, and personal strengths, offering a comprehensive view of you as a student.
  • Coach or mentor: If you’ve participated in a sport, mentorship program, or other extracurricular activity, your coach or mentor can write a letter that outlines your character, leadership abilities, and personal qualities.
  • Employer or community leader: Jobs, internships, and volunteering all provide an opportunity for you to demonstrate your work ethic, skills, and leadership. An employer or community leader is a great option to ask to write a letter of recommendation that showcases your abilities outside of academia.

Before asking for letters of recommendation, check with the colleges you are interested in to see their requirements. Letter writing can take time, so be sure to ask for letters of recommendation in advance and provide all necessary instructions from the colleges. And finally, don’t forget to say, “Thank you,” to the letter writers for helping you through the college application process.