College applications aren’t just work for you. Often times, they mean work for your parents, college counselors, and teachers, too. So, hopefully you’ve been nice and respectful to a few (if not all) teachers throughout your time in school, because they are a critical part of the admissions process. The purpose of the teacher recommendation is to establish credibility for the applicant. Every other piece of the application is pretty much authored or engineered by you. The teacher recommendation allows universities to see if applicants are who they say they are. They’re also an opportunity for someone who knows you well to sing your praises and tell them something they might not know yet.
As we’ve said, colleges aren’t just admitting your grades and test scores. They really want to know who you are and why you would be a good fit at their school. By your senior year, there isn’t much you can do to change the nature of your application. Unless you are retaking your tests, your grades and scores are basically set. There are only a few aspects of your application that you get to start from scratch at this point: your essays, your supplements, and your recommendation letters. Your teachers work with you everyday and can speak to qualities you possess that aren’t mentioned elsewhere in your application. The quality of your recommendation letter is extremely important, but we’ve found a lot of our students feel awkward when it comes time to ask their teachers. Here’s a guide to help you figure out how and when you ask your teachers for letters.
The Recommendation Letters are a hugely important and often overlooked portion the college application. Your grades and scores don’t tell the whole story. Unlike the essays, recommendation letters give someone else the chance to advocate on your behalf. You have the chance to have a teacher you admire tell a school what makes you stand out from other candidates. Of course, who you ask to write your recommendation is extremely important because it will affect how the admissions committee sees you.