Tag archive for "letters of recommendation"

Student Life

Winter Break Goals

No Comments 15 December 2017

Congratulations – you made it to winter break! Your hard work over the last semester paid off and now your top priority should be to spend time with loved ones and enjoy the holidays. However, you’ll thank yourself later if you manage to squeeze in some extra college preparation during break. It doesn’t — and shouldn’t — be time consuming, either. Here are a few little things you can do to give yourself a leg up!

Add to your college list – Whether you are a freshman looking to get a head start on the college search or a senior looking to expand your college list before application deadlines, it’s not too late to still add colleges to your list. When you have some free time, peruse the colleges section on College Greenlight. Make sure you have a good mix of safety, match, and reach schools on your list.

Read a book – You deserve a break after finishing this semester, but you should still keep your mind active. Reading a great book is a good way to do this! If you choose a book that interests you, it will allow you to keep your mind moving while doing something enjoyable. Now that sounds like a win-win to us!

Gather application materials – If you’re applying to college soon, take this time to get your application materials ready. Make sure transcripts and letters of recommendation are good to go. Find someone you trust to edit your application essay. Double check application deadlines. Basically, set yourself up for success when you go to hit the ‘submit’ button!

Apply to scholarships – You can never have too many scholarships! Really buckle down during winter break and apply to every scholarship you are eligible for. Keep your College Greenlight profile updated and we’ll bring the scholarships right to you.

Relax – You made it through this past semester, and that’s a really big deal! Find a balance between college prep and relaxation. If you feel recharged for next semester, you will be more likely to succeed!


Counselor Resources

Tips for Writing an Effective Letter of Recommendation

No Comments 15 November 2016

Your students have started applying to colleges, and letter of recommendation are a vital part of this process. As their counselor, it is your role to help guide them through each step. Due to this working relationship, some of your students may ask you to write a letter of recommendation for their college and scholarship applications. Here are some tips for writing your students an effective college recommendation letter.

Know your own qualifications. If a student asks you to write him or her a letter of recommendation, make sure you are the right person for the job. Meet with the student to discuss their academic and career goals, along with their choice of college, and their extracurricular activities. Ask for a copy of their accomplishments resume.

If you do not believe you can write a positive letter of recommendation, kindly tell the student that you are not the right person to write their letter. You can always direct the student to another faculty or staff member better suited for the job.

Structure your letter correctly. Once you decide to move forward with writing a letter of recommendation, structure it in the following way:

  1. Start the letter with a sentence or two of praise for the student.
  2. In your introduction, identify yourself and describe your relationship with the student – how do you know the student and for how long.
  3. The next paragraph should discuss the student’s work in the classroom or the work they have done for you. When writing about the student’s work, be detailed and specific without relying on hyperbole. Be realistic. Admissions committees may be wary of over-the-top praise unsupported by specific evidence.
  4. The third paragraph should address the student’s characteristics, including a balanced discussion of the student’s strengths and weaknesses. Continue to include specific examples of praise, while avoiding hyperboles and clichés. Include comparisons, especially with previous students who have been admitted by the college or who have won the scholarship.
  5. Your conclusion should summarize the student’s best qualities and accomplishments. The letter should close on a positive note, repeating your recommendation for the student to be admitted to the college or win the scholarship.

A well-structured letter will improve your student’s chances for admission. Keep the letter of recommendation to one page in length, ideally, and no more than two pages. Use active voice instead of passive voice for a more powerful letter of recommendation.

Write honestly and fairly. Give an accurate portrayal of the student, while remaining positive. A negative or neutral letter may harm the student’s chances of admission. But, do not be afraid to offer criticism – just bring it back to a positive note. For example, if a student did poorly in a class one semester, discuss how they improved their study habits and narrowed their focus to bring up their grades for the next semester.

A well-written letter of recommendation may help your student get into the college of his or her dreams – don’t let this opportunity go to waste!

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