Updated in March 2023
Letter of Recommendation For College| What Should You Do
Letters of recommendation are commonly required as part of college applications. Whether you are a nontraditional student or not, you may not know why they are so valuable or how to get one if you need it, and we are here to tell you all about it!
What is it? A letter of recommendation is a brief document written by a teacher, counselor, or mentor highlighting a student’s academic performance and personal qualities.
Here at Gradehacker, we are the non-traditional student #1 resource, and we know first-hand that lots of colleges include letters of recommendation in their application process.
Let’s see how letters of recommendation for students work and why they are so important!
Why Do Colleges Require Letters Of Recommendation?
Letters of recommendation for college applications reflect your ability to represent your school. College letters of reference are excellent for you to increase your chances of admission.
In some ways, with a student recommendation letter, the focus is on promoting them so the college’s admissions committee can feel secure about adding them to their academic program.
Based on the last report by NACAC in 2019, 54,4 % of colleges determined that letters of recommendation are taken with considerable or moderate importance when making an admission decision.
And based on the report made by College Transitions, in 2022/23, over 400 premier colleges and universities solicit one or two recommendation letters to get ahead in the game.
Think about it. When people write letters of recommendation, they usually comment on your character, drive, achievements at school, and the personality of the school student.
That’s why having a teacher recommendation reference is so important for the admissions process.
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.
But you should think it would be an absolute pleasure for most teachers to help you get through the admissions committee to start your next chapter and see you succeed.
And you can consider anyone! Your math teacher, a physics professor, or even your English teacher!
Besides having a recommendation letter, another important factor in the admission process is college credits.
If you want to earn college credits fast and find more opportunities, you should check our video about how you can earn college credits with YouTube
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 has to know the student you are.
Whoever you choose should be saying nice things about you and adding positive attributes.
Still, they should care about creating a persuasive reference letter to the admissions committee you are applying to increase your chances for admission.
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 most likely scenario is that you will need to request it.
If you are a non-traditional student starting your studies after some time out of school, you can still ask for a recommendation letter.
You can reinforce your academic strengths and personal strengths. Try to find someone who can write about your:
It can also help you a lot if you’ve done some community service.
And if you have an aptitude for math, were a highly active participant in your English class, or have something that can impress the admissions committee, don’t hesitate to add it!
If you want an effective recommendation letter, 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 any school in question.
Getting a High-Quality Recommendation Letter
So, as you know, obtaining a letter of recommendation can be an important part of the college application process, but it’s essential to approach it with care and consideration.
Here are some steps you can follow to ensure that you get the best possible letter:
Overall, obtaining a strong and positive reference requires careful planning and communication.
By choosing the right recommenders, giving them enough time and information to write a robust letter, and following up politely, you can help ensure that your application stands out from the crowd.
How To Choose Your Recommender
After taking these tips into account, ideally, you need to have more than one person to count on who can clearly understand what the letter should contain to succeed during the admissions board.
You can work on getting letters from teachers who you did well in their class, but make sure that when choosing, you think about the career path you are applying to.
For example, your English teacher can be a good choice if you apply for a Modern Languages program.
And if you are a non-traditional adult student and are already working, you can ask your boss, especially if your work relates to the industry you want to pursue.
In that case, your employer can talk about situations where you have made the process better and more efficient and how those are personal strengths you have.
The people writing the letter must be well-informed about the college requirements you want to apply to and how the letter should look and contain. You can mention the degree you are going for, extracurricular activities, and academic achievements.
In case you still haven’t found your school and are worried about the admission process, here you can see what the colleges that have the highest acceptance rate to help you decide are!
Tips for Writing a Strong Letter of Recommendation
Writing a letter of recommendation can be a daunting task, but there are some tips your reference must include to ensure it is strong and effective.
By following these tips, you can provide colleges with valuable personal insights beyond just your academic records.
Don't Hesitate And Start Asking For Your Recommendation Letter
Although the college application process does not end with a recommendation letter, having one will definitely benefit you.
By following guidelines, selecting the right recommenders, and asking for the letter promptly and professionally, you can increase your chances of receiving a positive recommendation that will help you get closer to reaching your goals.
Don’t hesitate to start asking for your recommendation letters today!
Whether you are just starting college or returning, perseverance is key to success. And if you need help writing a stand-out cover letter, you can read our blog or book a meeting with us for more personalized assistance!
And if you want to stay ahead and learn the best tips for your college journey, don’t miss these blogs: