March 16, 2019
Teacher Recommendations: 6 Secrets for Getting the Right Ones
For better or worse, what people think and say about you can impact your future. The right teacher recommendation can set your application apart from the rest when applying to the school of your dreams. What a well-respected teacher says about you gives an admissions office a quick look into the type of person you are, your work ethic, and your potential fit at that school.
Whether you’re just starting to think about college or are a senior trying to catch up on all you need to do before applying, here are 5 secrets for getting the right teacher recommendations.
Start thinking about your recommendation letters right now. Not sure what you want to major in? Still trying to figure out your top 5 schools? It’s never too early to begin the process of getting recommendation letters from teachers and your school counselor. It’s highly likely that you already know the teachers who will write these letters for you. Get familiar with them and begin planning out the basic details (who you would like to ask and why, how you plan to ask them, etc.).
Focus on Teachers from Junior and Senior Year
Colleges expect you to have recommendations from teachers who have interacted with you recently, meaning your junior and/or senior year. Even though you may have earned an A+ your freshman year from a teacher who thought you were the best student ever, you should not get your recommendation from that teacher (unless, of course, the teacher has taught you in subsequent years as well). Focus your attention on the teachers in whose classes you’ve excelled.
Attendance and Your Best Behavior is Mandatory
A great GPA does not guarantee a great letter of recommendation. If you misbehave, skip classes, or are always talking in class to your friends, this could lead to weak teacher recommendations even for those who have high marks. And a weak recommendation could hurt your chances of getting into your top school.
While teachers will rarely ever write anything bad in a recommendation, how they truly feel about you will show in their recommendation. Represent your best self in all of your classes so you won’t have to worry about a less than ideal recommendation.
Choose The Best Relationship Over The Best Writer
Depending on the requirements of the schools you’re applying to, you are likely allowed to submit only one or two teacher recommendations, meaning you have to make each of those count. When selecting which teacher or teachers to write your recommendation, pick those that you have the best relationship with rather than only relying on who you think will write the best letter.
For example, just because a teacher is an English teacher doesn’t mean he or she will craft a better recommendation letter than your lacrosse coach who teaches history. It is always better to choose the teacher you have the deepest relationship with.
Show Them How Much You Care
Give the teachers who will recommend you stories that they can share in a recommendation. “Jessica, even with an A in my class, stayed late to ask questions nearly every day, attended my study hour sessions, and was always the first to volunteer to help.” Show your teachers that you take your grades and development seriously.
By going the extra mile in the classroom and through extracurriculars, you’re providing teachers with the material they need to write a great recommendation. You’re also genuinely proving that you are a student worth their time and effort.
This may be your first time getting recommendations from teachers, but others have been here before. Do you know any recent graduates from your high school? Ask them about their experience getting recommendations from teachers. They can tell you who wrote the best recommendations, who never got back to them, and more. This information will help you know the teachers you can depend on when it comes time to ask for recommendations.
Need help with teacher recommendations? Entrance Advisor can help. Schedule a time to speak with Jeff.