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:
- 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.
- How you ask detailed questions that indicate your level of interest in the subject at hand.
- 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.
- 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.