As I am assisting seniors with their applications and recommendation letters I can’t help but advise juniors now to help them prepare for next year.
Juniors, your teachers this year will most likely be the educators writing your recommendation letters and you need to start now laying a sound foundation for both faculty and counselor recommendations.
A few basics on recommendation letters. The number of recommendation letters varies by application. The schools on your list may not require recommendation letters or they may require several. In general, most applications require one counselor and one or two teacher recommendation letters.
- If you attend a school where your counselor has a large caseload of hundreds of Seniors recognize even the best would find it difficult to get to know each student well.
- If you attend a smaller school, the more your counselor knows about you as well as your hopes, the better equipped he or she will be to write the best letter possible for you.
- Regardless of school size be proactive and make sure your Counselor knows you, your life outside the classroom, and what you hope to achieve in the college process.
- If you have started developing a college list, share it now with your counselor to let them know you are serious about your college search and application process
- If you have a definite major in mind, be sure to select at least one, if not both, teachers with your major in mind. For example, Engineer majors need calc and/or physics, Business majors need math and/or economics, Pre-Meds need at least one lab science recommendation.
- Many students at this juncture are undecided and that is fine. You will most likely want to seek out one recommendation from your English, History or Foreign Language, and the other from Math or Science.
This Junior year is an important time for you to develop mature, thoughtful relationships with all of your faculty so that you have a wide range of teachers who know you well and want you to succeed.
More to come regarding when and how to ask for recommendation letters in the spring. For now, start laying the groundwork.