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college recommendations by edukaat1

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									ABIDING GUIDELINES IN WRITING COLLEGE RECOMMENDATIONS Know your subject and your target audience… Learn and acquire as much information and insight as you can about the student for whom you are writing and the college(s) to which s/he is applying. Ask your students to provide this through personal contact and use “brag sheets” (in which students and/or parents provide written information to a counselor) only when necessary. Understand as best you can the ethos, the atmosphere and the cultural footprints of the college(s) to which your student may apply but Do NOT foist yourself off as an expert on the college(s) to which your student may apply… Sentences such as “Drew is the perfect match for Rockford” or “Rockford was designed with Drew in mind” are judgments that you are making. Leave this to the professional admissions officers to decide. You are not a recruiter for a college. Certainly you may and should cite reasons why the “match” between student and institution strikes you as appropriate—but omit the extremes and the superlatives. In fact, it is far better to Be certain that your letter refers to SPECIFIC qualities, attainments, personal anecdotes and concrete examples… Vague references and second-party citations do not read well with college admissions officers. It’s perfectly OK to mention what a teacher may have told you about a specific student—but the bulk of the letter should not go outside first person references. Personal connections with a student read well, and these need not be related to academic development or scholastic potential. It’s fine to describe informal interactions with the student and to develop a sense of her/his personality. It is neither necessary nor desirable to write to “impress” a college admissions officer, so Be careful to avoid writing an English paper or composing an exercise in sesquipedalian prose… It’s not how “well” you write that counts—it’s how effectively you can communicate. College admissions officers are not grading your letter—they’re trying to discover what you know about the student in question and whether s/he would be an appropriate admit to their school. It is certainly important to attend to grammar and usage, but it is neither necessary nor desirable to produce a publishable document. If form trumps function, there is a strong chance that the letter will become void of meaningful content and rather dry. Thus, it is better to Be sincere, authentic, passionate and real Your students will be better served by an earnest letter that doesn’t endeavor to present them as “perfect” and that helps them “come alive” in an admissions office. This is what you would tell a student writing an essay to a college, wouldn’t you? “Let the admissions office see you come alive!” Well, that’s our job as well in writing college recommendations

Look at the letter of recommendation as a way to unfold your student and provide a developmental perspective… The chief difference outside of subject matter between a teacher recommendation and a counselor recommendation is that of perspective. Teacher letters are snapshots, individual photographs (occasionally a page of pictures) taken at a given time in a particular context. Counselor letters are mini-albums, micro-yearbooks if you will, that relate growth and development in students over time and among contexts. Showing your pride over a student who overcomes substantial learning difficulties in ninth grade and now shines as a senior—what a great way to present a student! Informing the college of the choices (even those not so great) that your student made in his/her growth process— and now being able to endorse her/him as s/he becomes a more well defined individual. Teachers rarely have students for more than a year. Under ideal circumstances, you may know a student for four years—and what a valuable perspective to provide Avoid making comparisons to other students who have applied to the college(s) in question or who presently attend same… If ever such information would be shared, it should be done so privately with a college admissions officer with whom you have developed trust and rapport over the years. Unless such a context has been nourished, any comparisons would be both unfair and specious. Each student swims individually in an applicant pool and there is no need to reference another student in your letter Unless you have created a form universally acceptable to admissions offices, complete the information asked of you by each college… Yes, it can be annoying providing duplicate information—how many times must we write in our high school code each year? There is a reason why colleges design their forms the way they do—they have done the research on office procedures designed to manage application flow while supporting individual reading of applications. If the student for whom you have written has incomplete information, it may give that school an opportunity to deny him/her. Not all colleges can call you to provide missing data, and they are certainly gonna be unhappy if repeated instances of missing information occur Feel free to be clever (but never cute), original and spontaneous—but always remember the letter is about the student and NOT about you… Never lose sight of the fact that a counselor letter of recommendation is offered on behalf of the student—and not as a vehicle of self-gratification or illustration of wit on the part of the composer! Always, always, always save a copy of every letter you write—but take great pains to be sure that your letters do not read like copies of one another… Sure, it’s tempting to offer fairly standard letters or to “borrow” from one rec to another—but this does not serve either your student or you. All selective colleges read and use meaningfully letters of recommendation—and that’s your incentive for being certain you do your best for your students


								
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