Students often underestimate the value of letters of recommendation. Sure, they know it’s part of the process and, often, one or two letters are required from teachers in addition to the counselor letter of recommendation. However, they may not realize that a mediocre letter can truly hurt your admissions chances and a bad letter can have a devastating effect.

At top schools, particularly private colleges and universities, they use a process called holistic admissions. Your GPA, standardized test scores and rigor of curriculum usually factor most heavily in the process. But unlike schools in the U.K., for example, where scores are virtually everything, in American universities, your “numbers” are just the beginning.

Colleges want to shape an informed picture of who you are in a real-world setting. If your teachers really know you well and are able to assess you in a very positive light, college admissions officers will develop a much better sense of how you function in a classroom setting.

Your teacher will be able to speak to not just whether you are an exceptional student, but how you deal with adversity, do you demonstrate leadership, are you a critical thinker, are you kind, do you actively contribute to discussions, and, even better, do you elevate the discourse in the class. How you’ve interacted in high school can give admissions officers insight into how you’ll contribute on their campus.

How IvySelect College Counselors Help With Letters Of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation, then, are extremely important in the admissions process. A great letter of recommendation can help elevate you above the competition. That you have impressed your teachers validates what you’ve said about yourself in other pieces of the application.

At IvySelect, we use our deep knowledge of the process to help you discern whom you should approach to get letters of recommendation. Certain characteristics are obvious. You want a letter from a teacher who knows you well and who genuinely likes you. Other reasons are subtler – approaching a recommender who can greatly support your positioning strategy can be incredibly valuable.

Your IvySelect college counselor will help you in myriad ways. We’ll help you with whom to ask, when to ask, how to ask and what to give to your recommender.

We’ll Teach You How To Get the Best Letter From Your Recommender

As it turns out, if you know how, you can generally have teachers write what you want them to say about you. By helping you develop your positioning strategy, assisting you in writing an essay consistent with that strategy, and teaching you how characteristics of who you are can be implanted throughout your application, you will be able to guide your teacher to write a letter that supports your strategic plan.

There will be a true “resonance” across your application, as what you have to say about yourself and your character traits are supported by what your recommender has to say about you.

IvySelect’s college consultants will also teach you how to get the best possible counselor recommendation as well as guide you on which outside recommenders you might approach for a supplemental letter of recommendation.

With our help, you will support your application by developing your best possible letters of recommendation.