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How to Write a Great Peer Recommendation

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Aug 1, 2018 6:45:00 PM

Letters of Recommendation

So your friend/sibling/classmate wants you to write her a peer recommendation. Being the awesome friend/sibling/classmate that you are, you've not only agreed to write the letter, but you plan to write the BEST recommendation letter of all time. 

Apart from good intentions (check!), what else do you need to write an outstanding peer recommendation? This guide will break down the content and structure of peer reference letters so you can help get your bestie into the college of her dreams (which is probably Dartmouth or Davidson, the only colleges I currently know of that require peer evaluations).

First, here is your mission, since you've chosen to accept it.

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3 Examples of Bad Letters of Recommendation from Teachers

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jul 5, 2018 6:49:00 PM

Letters of Recommendation

 

While you may have seen examples of really impressive recommendation letters, what about the really bad ones? What exactly do bad letters look like, and what makes them so subpar?

Bad recommendation letters can be hard to put a finger on, because they aren't necessarily critical or disparaging about a student. Instead, they might leave a poor impression because they come off as unenthusiastic, unspecific, or simply too short. The examples below represent letters that would do very little to help a student's college application and, worst case scenario, could even hurt it.

By knowing what weakens a letter or leaves a negative impression in the minds of admissions officers, you can make sure your letters don't contain any of these features. First up...

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What Should I Give to a Teacher Writing My Recommendation Letter?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jun 9, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Letters of Recommendation

A substantial bribe. Just kidding. You should give your teacher recommenders something much more valuable for writing effective letters of recommendation: your input. 

Sharing your ideas will assist your teacher in writing you an insightful and specific letter. This guide will discuss what materials you should produce, and why your "recommender's packet" can go a long way toward making your final letter outstanding. 

To start, let’s review why recommendations are important to your application. If you understand what admissions officers look for, then you can make sure that your materials are useful and relevant. With this in mind, let's consider what purpose rec letters serve in the admission process.  

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Who Should I Ask to Write My College Recommendation Letter?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jun 8, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Letters of Recommendation

Are you debating who to ask for recommendation letters for college? Letters of rec are a very important part of your application, and strong ones can go a long way toward making you stand out among the competition.

That's why you should choose your recommenders with the same thought and care that you put into your personal essay, SAT or ACT prep, and other parts of your application. Before we dive into the key questions to ask yourself when choosing a recommender, let's review what separates the good letters from the bad ones.

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For Counselors: How to Write a Strong Recommendation Letter for Your Student

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jun 5, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Letters of Recommendation

As a counselor, you play a huge role in helping students along the path to college. Throughout their four years, you support them in setting goals and making plans for after high school. When it comes time to apply, you write their letters of recommendation.

Having worked as a college counselor and spent the past year as a grad student intern in a high school counseling department, I saw how much counselors do in the college planning and application process. I also saw the challenges of supporting large caseloads of students and writing hundreds of letters of recommendation, often around the same hectic time. Despite the mad rush, these counselors crafted eloquent letters customized to each and every one of their students.

Based on my observations and my own experience writing letters for my students, I've compiled what I think is the most helpful advice for writing memorable and effective recommendations. I'll go over key content, structure, and style, as well as discuss what not to include in a recommendation letter.

Since it's always good to keep your goals in sight, I'll start by going over the purpose of the counselor letter of recommendation. What are they for, and how do they differ from a teacher recommendation?

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4 Amazing Recommendation Letter Samples for Students

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jun 1, 2018 4:00:00 PM

Letters of Recommendation

How important are recommendation letters in a college application? According to William Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid at Harvard, they are "extremely important."

If you're a student, examples of great letters of recommendation can help you understand how to get strong letters yourself from your teachers. If you're a teacher, the examples in this guide will inspire you to support your students strongly as they apply to college. Keep reading for four excellent letters from teachers that will get anyone into college, along with expert analysis on why they're so strong.

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How to Write a Strong Recommendation Letter for Your Student's Scholarship

Posted by Rebecca Safier | May 16, 2018 12:00:00 PM

Letters of Recommendation

There are numerous scholarships out there for students entering college, and each has its own special set of guidelines. Letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors, and other important people in a student's life can serve as powerful testaments to a student's past and future achievements.

As an English teacher and college counselor, I put a lot of time into crafting personalized letters of recommendation for students applying to scholarships. In this article, I discuss what exactly should go into an effective recommendation letter, along with the importance of tailoring your letter to the scholarship at hand. 

So how exactly should recommenders frame their letters to best help their students win a scholarship? And what purpose do reference letters serve as scholarship committees sift through applications?

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How Do I Submit Letters of Recommendation?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | May 11, 2018 12:00:00 PM

Letters of Recommendation

Hopefully, you have the perfect teachers in mind to ask for your letter of recommendation. Once you’ve asked these teachers, how do you actually get their letters to your colleges?

This guide will go over everything you need to know about submitting your recommendation letters, whether you’re using the Common Application, a customized school application, and/or Naviance. To start, what are the options for submission?

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3 Examples of *Excellent* Letters of Recommendation from Counselors

Posted by Rebecca Safier | May 10, 2018 3:00:00 PM

Letters of Recommendation

School counselors play a huge role in helping students get into college. Not only do counselors support students in laying the groundwork for their applications through class selection and extracurricular involvement, but they also provide them with the very important counselor letter of recommendation.

Whether you're writing a letter youreslf or getting one for your application, letter of recommendation examples can help you see why an effective letter is effective. In this guide, we've written 3 strong recommendation letter examples for you to use for inspiration. 

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My Successful Harvard Application (Complete Common App + Supplement)

 

In 2005, I applied to college and got into every school I applied to, including Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, and MIT. I decided to attend Harvard.

In this guide, I’ll show you the entire college application that got me into Harvard - page by page, word for word.

In my complete analysis, I'll take you through my Common Application, Harvard supplemental application, personal statements and essays, extracurricular activities, teachers' letters of recommendation, counselor recommendation, complete high school transcript, and more. I’ll also give you in-depth commentary on every part of my application.

To my knowledge, a college application analysis like this has never been done before. This is the application guide I wished I had when I was in high school.

If you’re applying to top schools like the Ivy Leagues, you’ll see firsthand what a successful application to Harvard and Princeton looks like. You’ll learn the strategies I used to build a compelling application. You’ll see what items were critical in getting me admitted, and what didn’t end up helping much at all.

Reading this guide from beginning to end will be well worth your time - you might completely change your college application strategy as a result. 

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How to Ask For a Letter of Recommendation: Complete Guide

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Apr 12, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Letters of Recommendation

No groveling necessary.

Asking someone to write you a letter of recommendation can feel almost as daunting as asking that special someone out to a movie. You're putting yourself out there, just hoping they like you back enough to say yes! Luckily, most of your teachers are well accustomed to writing letters of recommendation for students and are glad to support you in your academic goals.

Plus, who wouldn't want to recommend you for college? You're great.

To ensure your request goes as smoothly as possible, you should be thoughtful about who and how you ask. This guide will go over the steps on how to request a recommendation letter for your college applications successfully (though this guide works equally well for applications for graduate school and jobs). First, let's briefly go over what you need to know before making your request.

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A Great College Recommendation Letter Template

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Jan 24, 2018 5:30:00 PM

Letters of Recommendation

While the best recommendation letters are unique to each student, they all share certain key features that make them effective. This guide provides you with a structure to help you produce an outstanding letter of recommendation.

Not only will this recommendation letter template guide you through the writing process, it'll also assist you in determining whether you’re able to truly recommend a student for admission to college. Before outlining the steps, let’s consider what goes into a good letter of recommendation.

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Should I Add Supplemental Recommendation Letters?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Oct 22, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Letters of Recommendation

Maybe you spent the last year interning in a business and know your supervisor could write a stellar letter about your work ethic and passion for economics. Or you have a long term music teacher who can speak to your lifelong dedication to playing the piano. Or maybe you attend a school with thousands of students and feel like you’ve barely said ten words to your counselor or classroom teachers all year long.

If any of these scenarios hits home, then you might be considering sending a supplemental recommendation letter along with your college application. Before sending any extra materials, though, you should think hard about whether it’s the right course of action. This guide will discuss when it’s appropriate to send supplemental recommendations and when you’d be better off holding back.

To start, what are some reasons students think they should send an additional rec letter?

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When Should I Ask for a College Recommendation Letter?

Posted by Rebecca Safier | Aug 6, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Letters of Recommendation

I remember worrying about the perfect time to ask for recommendation letters. Too early, I thought, could seem like over-planning; maybe my teachers would even forget by the time deadlines rolled around! Too late, though, would suggest a lack of preparation or could even offend my recommenders. It seemed like the stars had to align just right.

If you’ve had any of these same concerns, you don’t have to wonder anymore. This guide will discuss the best times to ask for recommendations, plus why it’s important to have good timing in the first place. To start, what should you consider as you figure out when to ask?

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Writing a Character Reference: Full Template

Posted by Rebecca Safier | May 19, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Letters of Recommendation

Thoreau once wrote, “The language of friendship is not words but meanings.” In the case of a character reference, the language of friendship involves both words and meanings. If you’re tasked with writing a character reference, then your mission is to write about your friend and all her amazing qualities.

How exactly can you fulfill this mission of writing an outstanding character reference? This guide will help you through the writing process with a template for your letter. To begin, let’s go over the purpose of a character reference.

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