Letters of recommendation are commonly required as part of college applications. Whether you are a nontraditional student or not, it’s completely okay if you have no idea what a letter of recommendation is like and who you should ask for one.
A letter of recommendation is a brief document written by a teacher, counselor, or mentor highlighting a student’s academic performance and personal qualities. In some way, they focus on promoting the students with strong letters so the college’s admissions can feel secure about adding them to their student body.
According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, about 46% of colleges consider that letters of recommendation have considerable importance within the admissions process.
But, what does a recommendation letter look like? Why is it important? Who would be the right person to ask to write your personal qualities in a recommendation letter? These and all other questions will be answered in this article to give you clarity and ease your worries!
Why Do Colleges Require Letters Of Recommendation?
It’s not because students are lazy. It’s because letters of recommendation for college applications reflect your ability to represent your school. College letters of recommendation are an excellent chance for you to improve your marketability.
Think about it: when people write letters of recommendation, they usually comment on your character, drive, and personality. For most college applicants, asking someone to write a letter of recommendation can be one of the scariest steps ever to take when you want to be accepted into your dream school.
The Process of Obtaining a Letter of Recommendation
When you need a letter of recommendation for a college application, the person you select to write the letter is also very interested in the student you are. The person might be saying nice things about you and adding positive recommendations. Still, they should definitely create a persuasive letter to the admission committee saying what you can do for your dream school.
In most cases, if you are a recent high-school graduate, some of your professors will contact you to let you know that they wrote a letter for you. But the more likely scenario is that you will need to request it.
If you are a nontraditional student starting your studies after some time out of school, you also have the opportunity of asking for a recommendation letter. It may not be directed to your academic skills. Still, it can be reinforced with your leadership skills, work ethic, aptitude for math or other subjects, personal strengths, or even mention if you’ve done some community service.
Stronger letters create more chances of admission, so don’t just ask for a letter from only one person. Make sure to have extra letters that show different reflections of you that you can provide to various college application processes.
How To Choose Your Recommender
First, don’t assume they know what you do and what you are good at, but also make sure they understand what you are passionate about. As we said before, try to have additional letters from different types of people, if possible.
You can ask a high school teacher that you like (and did well in their class) to write one of your letters of recommendation. Make sure that when you are choosing a teacher, think about the career you are applying to. For example, if you are applying for a Modern Languages program, then your English teacher can be a good choice. Your counselor recommendation letter can also be a great choice.
If you are a nontraditional student and are already working in an area related to what you want to study, you can ask your boss for a recommendation letter. For example, suppose you are applying for a bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering, and you’ve been working in the logistics industry. In that case, your boss can talk about situations where you have made the process better and more efficient and how those are personal strengths you have.
The primary purpose of the recommendation letter will depend on the particular university you’re asking for admission to. To be very precise, it is much more important that the person(s) writing the letter is well-informed about the requirements of the particular university, and their expertise/skills match the requirements of the letter being written. You can mention the degree you are applying for, extracurricular activities, and your academic achievements.
Be smart with the decision you make when selecting your letter writer and consider giving them at least 2 or 3 months to write your recommendation letter.
Don’t Hesitate And Start Asking For Your Recommendation Letter
Although the application process for colleges does not end with a recommendation letter, there is always a need to work harder. Learning new things requires effort; therefore, there should be constant work in your life to keep yourself in top shape. Improving your skills and being your best self are extremely important when working towards your dreams.
We hope this article helps you solve your doubts and help you continue full speed with your college applications. Here at Gradehacker, we are pleased to help you throughout your entire college journey. Once you get into the college of your dreams, we can help you along the process. Check our services page and read some articles from our learning center you might be interested in: