If you’re thinking about applying to various colleges in your near future, then there is a list of things you’ll need to gather. One of these is usually a letter of recommendation, or multiple letters of recommendation.
These tend to come from such people as your teacher, guidance counselor, or employer and are meant to give the college a glimpse into your work ethic, goals, and personality.
While you aren’t going to be the one writing the letters, it’s a good idea to be aware of what they need to include so you can pass along tips and advice. So, what does a “good” letter of recommendation look like and include? Let’s take a closer look.
The Relationship with the Applicant
It’s very important that the person writing the letter identifies what their relationship is with you. This will add credibility to the letter, and help to give it perspective. There doesn’t need to be a lot of detail, just one sentence describing how they know you.
Direct Experience and Dealings with the Applicant
The letter should also include direct experiences that the writer has had with you. We are talking about specific moments and experiences that have stood out in their mind. Maybe it was a particular project that you researched and presented, and that really stood out to the teacher. Maybe it was how hard you worked to get the best grade possible, even seeking after-school help if necessary. Or perhaps it’s all the times you’ve won customer service awards at work for going above and beyond your job.
Highlight Skills, Talents, and Experience
Lastly, the letter can highlight all your personal skills, talents, and experience that the person writing the letter has observed. Maybe this is through conversations they’ve had with you, or seeing these things play out. They are basically painting a picture of your personality and your strengths.
Check it Over for Spelling and Grammar
Of course, before handing in a letter of recommendation you need to make sure that the spelling and grammar is all correct. There is nothing more unprofessional than handing in a letter that is riddled with spelling mistakes, words that are used in a sentence incorrectly, and sentences that just don’t flow.
Then again, it may not be the letter, it could be that you are having a hard time understanding the vocabulary or particular words. If that’s the case, there is no time like the present to brush up on your skills so that if you do land a college interview, you’re prepared. You can check out a service like WordsinaSentence.com, which helps clear up the common writing mistakes people make.
Final Tips to Keep in Mind
Your letter of recommendation is a chance for someone to brag about you and let a college know just how lucky they’d be to have you. Many students think it is a place to discuss marks and grades. While this information is certainly important, it isn’t personal – it doesn’t paint a picture of what kind of person you are.
When colleges are swamped with applications from students with similar marks, they need to look at other factors. A great recommendation letter could be what gets you into your top college at the end.