On our previous posts we told you about the importance of admission essays in the process. Besides them, there are letters of recommendations to provide, which also are a relevant item of the process of entrance at any American academic institution. Be it admission at college or at any boarding school, you will have to get at least one of them, although in some cases and mainly for boarding schools generally 3 recommendations are required.

It is also worth to mention that there are two well-differenced types of recommendations: academic and personal/athletic ones. The first type wants the recommender to be a teacher, counselor or head of school that knows the applicant on an academic level and may express his/her experience with him/her as a student. The latter, mainly produced by coaches, activity coordinators and extracurricular activities teachers seek out to know the aptitudes and character of the applicant outside the classrooms. Today we want to tell you about the academic recommendations, as the personal ones only take to find someone of your acquaintance that basically knows you well and may provide a good impression about you in a concrete field or activity.

As for academic recommendations, the ones that matter to us, it is required to get 1-3 recommendations, depending of the process and the institution we are applying to as we mentioned before. In this context, when you are asked for only 1 and you are able to choose, we recommend you to pick a teacher with whom you get on well and knows you for some time (if he/she is still your teacher, that is even better but this is not compulsory). Like that, that person will have a lot to say about you and mainly positive things, so that would benefit you a great deal. On the contrary, when you are asked for 3 recommendations, generally you are required to ask your Math teacher, your English teacher and a counselor or head of school. This is quite typical in the boarding school process and it’s due to the fact that English and Maths are two of the strongest, most important subjects in the American system. Besides, a counselor or head of school can provide information about the applicant’s school characteristics and functioning.

In this sense and to resume, there goes some pieces of advices to address this type of writing and fulfill the task in a successful way:

  • If you are able to choose your recommender, pick someone you keep a good relationship with and knows you well
  • Regardless of whether you only have to get 1 or more, firstly try your best to meet personally with the person(s) you have thought to talk about the task and ask for his/her collaboration. This in the end is a favor and you absolutely need to get their approval first
  • Sometimes this is not about written recommendations, but online questions for the recommenders to answer. This is done through application platforms and you will need your recommender(s)‘ email first to be able to send the invitation to the recommendation site
  • Something really valued in this letters is to illustrate with examples the things the recommender is saying, like that the capacity, ability or skill mentioned is further supported and reinforced. If you have the chance let your recommender know about this
  • This letters (luckily or not) are something we cannot prepare. American schools DO REALIZE AND KNOW when it’s the applicant writing the recommendation. Avoid this always
  • Once the task is done, remember to thank once again the recommender(s) for the time and attention put into int. Remember this is a favor

We hope this explanation and these pieces of advice help you to get great recommendations, thank you for reading us one more week!