Recommendations

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Making Sure Your Teacher Recommendations Matter

One of the most overlooked aspects of the college application process is teacher recommendations. Very typically I hear students say they’ll just pick the teacher who they really like or the teacher who’s known for writing great recommendations.

And while it’s nice to have teachers who like you and who are known for writing great recommendations, that doesn’t necessarily make them the right person to request a recommendation from.

When college admission counselors are reviewing your application, they are trying to gauge your college readiness and your potential to contribute to the campus community. So while it’s nice to have someone say that you’re a nice kid who does a good job of being a model student while also playing on the baseball team, it’s even better to have them talk about:

  1. How you struggled in their class in the beginning of the year but by mid-year had established yourself as a confident and engaged student in their classroom.
  2. How you ask detailed questions that indicate your level of interest in the subject at hand.
  3. How you’ve spent time with the teacher outside of the class talking about how your interests connect to what you are learning in class and how you were hungry to learn more through other resources, trips, websites, etc.
  4. How because of the impeccable quality of your work and your dedicated interest in the subject at hand, they feel 110% confident that you will succeed in college and go on to do great things in the field.

Teacher recommendations should be solely focused on who you are in the classroom, how you have grown and established yourself as a learner and how you have overcome struggles and learned how to master difficult material. They are the best people to offer these opinions because they already observe and evaluate you on a daily basis. So, before you just pick the teacher who everyone likes or the teacher who you say hello to every morning before first period, think about the teachers who can offer a qualified opinion of your academic abilities. Then go have a good, honest conversation with them about what you’ve learned in their class, how they’ve challenged you and how it all relates to your interests in college.

Chances are, something good will come of it.

As for the other stuff, leave that to your school counselor. It’s their job to provide a big picture perspective on you which includes everything else you do outside the classroom.

If you would like some assistance with your college search, contact me today for a free 60-minute consultation.

Here’s what other families like yours are saying about how Dobler College Consulting made a difference for them.


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Make Sure Your Teacher Recommendations Matter

Marist College

One of the most overlooked aspects of the college application process is teacher recommendations. Very typically I hear students say they’ll just pick the teacher who they really like or the teacher who’s known for writing great recommendations though they may have just had that teacher for an elective.

And while it’s nice to have teachers who like you and who are known for writing great recommendations, that doesn’t necessarily make them the right person to request a recommendation from.

When college admission counselors are reviewing your application, they are trying to gauge your college readiness and your potential to contribute to the campus community. So while it’s nice to have someone say that you’re a nice kid who does a good job of being a model student while also playing on the baseball team, it’s even better to have them talk about:

  1. How you struggled in their class in the beginning of the year but by mid-year had established yourself as a confident and engaged student in their classroom.
  1. How you ask detailed questions that indicate your level of interest in the subject at hand.
  1. How you’ve spent extra time outside of class helping a classmate who was struggling.
  1. How you’ve spent time with the teacher outside of the class talking about how your interests connect to what you are learning in class and how you were hungry to learn more through other resources, trips, websites, etc.
  1. How because of the incredibly high quality of your work and your dedicated interest in the subject at hand, they feel 110% confident that you will succeed in college and go on to do great things in the field.

Teacher recommendations should be solely focused on who you are in the classroom, how you have grown and established yourself as a learner and how you have overcome struggles and learned how to master difficult material. They are the best people to offer these opinions because they already observe and evaluate you on a daily basis. So, before you just pick the teacher who everyone likes or the teacher who you say hello to every morning before first period, think about the teachers who can offer a qualified opinion of your academic abilities. Then go have a good, honest conversation with them about what you’ve learned in their class, how they’ve challenged you and how it all relates to your interests in college.

Chances are, something good will come of it.

As for the other stuff, leave that to your school counselor. It’s their job to provide a big picture perspective on you which includes everything else you do outside the classroom.

If you would like some assistance with your college search, contact me today for a free 60-minute consultation.

Here’s what other families like yours are saying about how Dobler College Consulting made a difference for them.


Read More
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The Seven Parts Of A Complete Application

As I start working with a lot of juniors this time of year, we get to talking about the different parts of the application, how to approach them, when they are due and why they matter. Below is the watered down version of what we talk about:

1. Student’s Application– Applications need to be filled out accurately, completely and on time.  Nothing else matters if your application doesn’t accomplish these three things.

2. Academic Record – This includes grades and courses. The difficulty of the curriculum you have been pursuing can significantly affect how your application will be evaluated.

3. SAT and ACT Scores – All colleges will accept both, though some won’t require either. As juniors, taking a practice test for both the SAT and the ACT is a great way to figure out which one is better suited for you. There are differences between the two tests and you may find that one or the other is a better fit. Once you’ve made a decision on which one you want to take, be prepared to take it twice.

4. Personal Statement and Requested Essays – Between the personal statement, the activity essay and required supplemental essays, you need to produce some of your best writing. Speaking from experience, the majority of students produce poorly thought-out and sloppy essays. The essays are your opportunity to tell your story and show admissions counselors just how well you can write.

5. Recommendations – Colleges will typically require recommendations from the school counselor and at least one teacher. Depending on the school, a third recommendation may be welcome, but you should avoid a barrage of recommendations. The counselor recommendation should highlight significant facts about you, explain any issues of significance related to your transcript and, when necessary, introduce extenuating circumstances that might enable an admissions counselor to view your application with greater insight.

6. Extracurricular Activities – Colleges are increasingly interested in students who demonstrate a passion for one or a few interests and activities rather than applicants who have tried their hand at everything available. A very real and compelling case can be made for a student who has branded themselves through their VIPS.

7. Interview – While not necessarily required at most colleges, the interview (like the personal statement) is your opportunity to connect with admissions counselors and show who you are beyond grades and test scores. I always recommend that students interview where they can even if the admissions office says it will not factor into their decision.

 

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