After students receive their college admissions decisions, they often forget to thank their teachers and guidance counselors. These are the people who made your dream possible. These are the people who often took time out of their free summer days to write letters of recommendation on your behalf. They’re not getting paid to write these letters of rec. They’re doing it because they care, because they want to help you pursue your dreams. How wonderful is that? If you feel like teachers and guidance counselors are simply expected to write these letters on your behalf, you should reevaluate immediately. They do it out of the kindness of their heart!
And so right after you learn of your acceptance, go out and get a card. Write a really thoughtful “thank you” note. Let your teachers and guidance counselors know what they mean to you, how they’ve influenced your life, and how they’ll always influence who you are and where you go in life. How incredible would it be for a teacher to receive a note like that? Just think about it. Teachers don’t make millions from teaching. Many do it — at least in part — to make the world a better place, to make a difference on the lives of young people. Let your teachers and your guidance counselor know that, for you, they made a major difference.
Let them know how appreciate you are. If you can, buy them a gift that’s meaningful to them. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on the gift. Get something from the heart. But that note will be most important so spend a good amount of time crafting it. Even do revision after revision if you have to (like you did with your college admissions essays). Think about that final scene in “Mr. Holland’s Opus.” Think about how touched Mr. Holland was when generations of students returned to the school to thank him for making their lives better. Be sure to thank the Mr. Hollands in your life and you should start with those who wrote your letters of recommendation. As in right now if you haven’t already done so!Categories: Teacher / Counselor Recommendations Tags: Guidance Counselor Letters of Rec, Letter of Rec from Guidance Counselor, Letters of Rec from Guidance Counselors, Letters of Rec from Teachers, Teacher Letters of Rec
We’ve been pretty critical of The College Board this year (remember the SAT that was going to be offered to students at Amherst College?). But this post isn’t about that SAT administration. It’s about getting to know your high school guidance counselor and how important it is to establish a relationship with him/her early on.
Jennifer Karan, the Executive Director of the SAT Program at The College Board, wrote a great article about how high school freshmen can take a more proactive approach with their education by planning towards college early. She suggests getting to know your guidance counselor right at the beginning of your high school career (always great advice). Your guidance counselor can help shape your course selection and discuss with you your extracurricular interests and activities. While high school guidance counselors are often overwhelmed (check out our infographic for some statistics on this), the more you get to know your guidance counselor, the more help he or she can be to you as you go about trying to get into a highly selective college. Developing that relationship is important (and don’t forget that your guidance counselor has to write a letter of recommendation on your behalf that is sent to all colleges to which you apply).
Have a question about The College Board’s SAT program? Post it below and we’ll get you answers. Interested in SAT tutoring? The Ivy Coach offers SAT tutoring to students around the world with the best instructors you’ll find.Categories: SAT / ACT Prep, Standardized Testing, Teacher / Counselor Recommendations Tags: College Board, College Board Program, College Board SAT Program, SAT Program The College Board, The College Board
If you’re a student who applied Early Decision or Early Action this year and if you haven’t already done so, don’t forget to thank your teachers and guidance counselor who wrote your letters of recommendation. These teachers and guidance counselors took time out of their busy lives to write letters on your behalf. It’s not fun to write letters on behalf of so many students each year — it’s quite the hassle. Teachers and guidance counselors would much rather spend their free time outside of school spending time with their families, reading, relaxing, traveling — you name it. Do you think writing letters of recommendation for their students is often at the top of this list? Likely not.
And don’t just say thank you. Write a heartfelt thank you note. It’s the very least you can do. Maybe even include a present with the card if you can. But it’s important that the sentiment is expressed. Letters of recommendation from teachers and guidance counselors are of pivotal importance in the highly selective college admissions process and, so often, student don’t realize how little things might impact this component of the application. Students who say thank you, who take the time out of their day to express gratitude for the efforts made on their behalf — let’s just say that their letters of recommendation are often better than those who don’t. Because those who don’t probably weren’t as thoughtful before the letters were written either.
So go thank your teachers who wrote your letters of recommendation. Go pop your head into your guidance counselor’s office and let him or her know how appreciate you are for their help. It’s the right thing to do!Categories: College Admissions, Teacher / Counselor Recommendations Tags: Letters of Rec from Teachers, Letters of Recommendation from Teachers, Rec Letters from Teachers, Teacher Letters of Rec, Teacher Recommendation Letters
Teacher letters of recommendation are very important in the highly selective college admissions process. Don’t forget to thank your guidance counselor and teachers for writing their letters of recommendation on your behalf! Too many students forget to do this. Too many students upset their teachers and guidance counselor by taking their time for granted, by not expressing gratitude for the time they put in out of their busy schedules to write letters on your behalf. It’s a big faux pas, one that our students at The Ivy Coach are taught never to make.
Do you know how easy it is for a teacher or guidance counselor to change some content in your letter of recommendation? They’re the ones who submit these letters. It’s not like you read them. They can write what they want. They’ve got all that power. So why make the foolish mistake of not demonstrating your appreciation for all that they’ve done for you? You shouldn’t only thank them for fear they’ll change your letter of recommendation for the worse. You should also thank them because they did something really nice for you. In life, when someone does something very nice for you, you should thank them and try to do something very nice for them back — or at least pay it forward like Haley Joel Osment did in “Pay It Forward.”
So say thank you! In fact, write thank you as well. Write a really nice note to your teachers and guidance counselor. Let them know how much it means to you for them to have done this on your behalf. Let them know that they’ve touched you and had an impact on your life. It’s pretty simple social psychology. Get it right! And, while you’re here, check out this newsletter on Effective Letters of Recommendation.
Categories: College Admissions, Teacher / Counselor Recommendations Tags: Admissions Letters of Recommendation, Letters of Rec for College Admissions, Teacher Letter of Rec, Teacher Letters of Rec, Teacher Letters of Recommendation
Parent letters and college admission. When you think of a letter from a parent being included with a student’s college application, you might think it’s utterly ridiculous. Why would a college want a letter from a parent, asks writer Justin Pope in “The Huffington Post”? Of course the vast majority of parents (and every parent we know) want their children to earn admission to the colleges of their dreams, but isn’t including a letter from a parent like the “Everybody Loves Raymond” episode where Marie lobbies an interviewer to give her son, Robert, a job?
The answer is that, yes, it is utterly ridiculous, but it is an option at certain colleges. And at these schools, parents should indeed take the option to submit letters. So what colleges? How about Smith, Holy Cross, and Mt. Holyoke? That’s right. At these colleges, parent letters are considered optional. And in this case, that means parents should do it to improve the odds for their children.
But what should be written in these college admission recommendations from parents? These letters should shed insight on your child that isn’t necessarily present in teacher or guidance counselor letters of recommendation. These letters should describe your child in a way that only you can. What these letters should not focus on is how your child’s favorite TV show is “Glee” and how he always leaves his dirty clothes under his bed. But they also shouldn’t be about how he’s such a good boy that he never leaves his dirty laundry under the bed. These letters must share significant insight.
Sometimes sharing an anecdote can be the best way to convey the kind of person your child is. While we’ve said it before as students write college essays, we’ll say it again: Show. Don’t tell. You have an audience for these letters. An audience with a short attention span. So engage them right off the bat! These letters are ultimately not the most significant components of one’s application to a school like Smith but, in college admissions, every component counts.Categories: Parents, Teacher / Counselor Recommendations Tags: Admission Letters from Parents, Parent Letters and College Admission, Parental Letters and College Admission, Parents and College Admission, University Admission and Parents
Maybe you’ve read our posts on the importance of your guidance counselor recommendation in the college admissions process. Or maybe you haven’t yet. If you haven’t, check out this post on Guidance Counselor Letters of Recommendation. It’s very important that you establish a relationship with your guidance counselor early on in your high school career. It’s very important that your guidance counselor gets to know you as an individual so he/she doesn’t just fill out a template recommendation that doesn’t set you apart from Harry. But let’s say you didn’t believe us when we told you how important the guidance counselor recommendation really is.
We now have some more data to back up our stance. According to a study conducted by the National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC) to which The Ivy Coach is a member in good standing, the guidance counselor recommendation is one of ten things that colleges want from applicants and 19.4% of college admissions counselors believe it is the most important part of your application, according to “The Huffington Post.” So is it the single most important part of your application, according to the data? No. But 19.4% matters quite a bit in the competitive, high stakes games of selective college admissions.
So ask politely if your guidance counselor can meet next week. Thank him/her for writing your letter of recommendation. Thank him/her for sitting down for an hour with you to go over course selection. Don’t ask for course changes because you want a better lunch break. The impression you’re leaving on your guidance counselor is a lasting one — one that will have a tremendous impact on your chances in the selective college admissions process.Categories: Teacher / Counselor Recommendations Tags: College Admissions and Guidance Counselors, Guidance Counselor College Letter, Guidance Counselor Rec, Guidance Counselor Recommendation, Recommendation from Guidance Counselor
College admissions letters of rec should come from your guidance counselors and the teachers who know you best. These letters of rec should not come from your state’s governor. What does Chris Christie know about you as a student? These letters of rec should also not come from a famous person you happened to run into at a shopping mall. Even if said famous person agreed to write your college admission letter of rec, what do you think this famous person could possibly say about you? That you pressed the elevator button well? Don’t try to impress college admissions counselors with letters of recommendation from famous people. They don’t care and it’ll only hurt your chances.
Rather, focus your efforts on securing great letters of recommendation from your guidance counselor and your teachers. Think about what kind of student you are in your classes. Are you the student who is a wallflower, sitting at the back of the classroom and refusing to participate in class discussion? Maybe you get great grades but what is your teacher going to write about in her recommendation? That you sit nicely and get great grades? That won’t go over well. You want to be someone who changes the course of class discussions, who inspires debate, who shows a real passion for learning and true intellectual curiosity.
Your transcript already shows your grades so a good college admissions letter of rec will show all that isn’t on your transcript. It’ll show that you’re a student a college must have, the kind of student who will add to the diversity of thought on a college campus. Think about the classes in which you’ve really participated in class discussions. Think of specific times when you offered an opinion that really ignited conversation. And don’t forget to remind your teachers about these instances as there’s a good chance they’ve forgotten.Admissions Process, College Admissions, Teacher / Counselor Recommendations Tags: College Admission Letter of Rec, College admission Letter of Recommendation, College Admissions Letter of Rec, Letter of Rec for College, Teacher Recs for College Admission
As your guidance counselors sit down to write their recommendations on your behalf, we’d like to give you a word or two of advice. Thank them. You shouldn’t think of it as their job to write you a letter of recommendation. Is it? Yes. But don’t think like that because you’ll only dig yourself into a hole. You need to thank your guidance counselor profusely for writing a letter of recommendation about you. Not only because it will help your chances for admission to highly selective colleges, but it’s the right thing to do.
Guidance counselor recommendations take quite a bit of time to write. Good guidance counselors don’t just cut and paste form letters, changing a word here or a word there. Rather, they find out what you’re like inside a classroom from teachers. They sit down and get to know you. They get to know your parents. They even know what you like to do outside of school.
Guidance counselors have tremendous power in the college admissions process and we highly recommend that you try to develop a strong relationship with your guidance counselor. There are few things as important in the highly competitive college admissions process. It’s your guidance counselor who is going to be in position to lobby on your behalf if you’re deferred or put on a waitlist. It’s the guidance counselor who is going to tip you off that one teacher may not write the best college letters of recommendation (always listen to this subtle advice)! We know firsthand. Our founder, Bev Taylor, was a high school guidance counselor for many years.Categories: College Admissions, Teacher / Counselor Recommendations Tags: Guidance Counselor and College Admissions, Guidance Counselor and Ivy League, Guidance Counselor Letter of Rec, Guidance Counselor Recommendations, Guidance Counselors
We’re often asked questions about whether students should submit college letters of recommendation from important people. The answer is yes! Colleges should be receiving letters of recommendation from some of the most important people in your life – the teachers who have shaped your education and your high school guidance counselor. Notice that we wrote “in your life.” Too often, parents think that a letter of recommendation from their government representative or from their boss, a well known CEO, will help their child’s admissions prospects.
They couldn’t be more wrong! College admissions counselors don’t want to hear from senators and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies who don’t know the applicant at all. What is that letter of recommendation going to say? “Daniel’s father is an excellent, smart employee. He really helped us in Q3. I imagine his son is smart, too.” That would be ridiculous. You’re not going to impress college admissions counselors with college letters of recommendation from big names.
At service academies like West Point and Annapolis, it’s a requirement for admission to have a letter of recommendation from the local representative. But at just about every other college in the nation, you’d be making a major mistake to submit such a letter. College admissions counselors may even laugh and think, “This kid thought this letter from big name that says absolutely nothing was going to help? I’ll show him!” And by showing him, that college admissions counselor is going to deny him admission.Categories: Admissions Process, College Admissions, Teacher / Counselor Recommendations, The Application Tags: College Application Recommendations, College Letters of Recommendation, Guidance Counselor Letters of Recommendation, Letters of Rec for College, Teacher Letters of Recommendation
For those students who chose to remain on university waitlists, you likely sent in a card indicating that you wish to remain on the waitlist. But is that all you did? Have you just been sitting back and waiting for that university to get back to you? If so, your approach is all wrong. Getting off the university waitlist requires proactivity. You should have contacted your regional admissions officer at that university. You should have sent in a letter of enthusiasm to the university. You should have inquired about sending an additional letter of recommendation. Or what if since you applied in January, you received a Nobel Prize? Unlikely but if you accomplished something great (it doesn’t have to be a Nobel Prize!), you should ask your guidance counselor to update the university admissions office that has you on the waitlist.
Getting off the university waitlist requires persistence, attention to detail, and creativity. Just think about it — most students do nothing. Absolutely nothing. This is your opportunity to stand out, to let it be known to university admissions counselors that you still want to attend and that if admitted off the waitlist you will attend. Listen to this audio from “The New York Times” on Christoph Guttentag, the Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Duke University, who suggests these very things to get off the university waitlist. He would know…he offered 3,383 students spots on this year’s waiting list at Duke!Admissions Process, College Admissions, College Decisions, Deciding on a College to Attend, Teacher / Counselor Recommendations Tags: Admission off College Wait Lists, College Waiting Lists, Getting off the College Waiting List, Getting off the University Waitlist, How to Get Off the College Waiting List