Supplying references is an essential part of a job application, joining a new club and renting an apartment. A good reference attests to your character and/or your performance in the workplace and community. A college recommendation essentially has the same objective.
The purpose of the college recommendation is to learn about who the student is, to determine college readiness and to predict whether the student will positively contribute to the college community. Transitioning into college is rarely seamless. Often students experience obstacles, setbacks and sometimes failures. Although these “bumps in the road” may be small, they can derail a student if they are not adequately prepared and mature. Colleges want to learn how a student has overcome adversity or failure.
If you are a junior in high school, now is the time to ask your teachers for college recommendations. Who is the best person to write a college recommendation? Many students believe a good recommender is the teacher of a class where you received a high grade or who honored you with an award. This is not always the best criterion in selecting a recommender. An adult who can effectively endorse you and attest to your character, attributes, and work ethic is the ideal person to write a recommendation.
When choosing a teacher recommender, a student should consider a person who can write about the following:
- Character Ask a teacher who knows your character. Colleges value community members who exhibit good judgment and character. Many colleges have honor codes that they expect students to adhere to and seek prospective students who will uphold strong values and are trustworthy.
- Responsible Ask a teacher who holds you to a high standard and recognizes your accountability. Colleges value students who are reliable, and prompt.
- Contributor Ask a teacher who can articulate how you positively contribute to classroom discussions, add value to the class and work well with others.
- Growth Ask a teacher who has seen you grow and mature. Someone who has seen your development over a number of years is ideal.
- Strengths and talents Ask a teacher who understands your strengths and can articulate how you use them to achieve a goal.
- Challenges Ask a teacher who has seen you overcome obstacles or has seen you work hard to master a difficult task. .
- Leadership Ask a teacher who has seen you exhibit leadership qualities. Colleges seek students who are experienced leaders or have developed leadership attributes.
High school freshmen and sophomores, take the time to get to get know your counselors and teachers now. It’s important! They will be writing your college recommendations soon.
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