If you need help getting started on your resume, please ask Mrs. West for help. This is a vital part of your college application and scholarship packets.
Letters of Recommendation
College and scholarship applications will usually ask for at least one Letter of Recommendation as part of the application process. The agency requesting this is looking for something specific, some extra, rounded-out information about you from someone who knows you. Reviewers want to know how others perceived you when you were faced with a task, a difficult situation, or some challenge that impacted or impressed them as they worked with you. Reviewers want to see what others see when you’re around. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) your parents cannot give you a Letter of Recommendation for these applications; you will need to ask someone else who knows you almost as well. You will want to ask a teacher, youth group leader, mentor, coach, pastor, or an employer–someone who has observed you, your work, and your character. Usually college admissions committees look for recommendations from those who have worked with you in your junior and senior years.
Once you’ve thought about whom you might ask to write your recommendation, remember that you are making a request for this person to do you a favor. No recommender gets paid to do this, nor is it a part of anyone’s job description! It’s a pretty big deal to write about someone and their character, hoping that the letter is accurate, clear, and concise. Writing important character compositions takes a lot of concentrated time and effort, and your recommender needs at least two weeks to plan and write about you. Never assume anyone will write you a recommendation at the last minute—most people will decline your late request. Besides, what kind of character would you be exhibiting if you presume a favor?
Your recommender needs several things from you: your resume, transcript, a definite deadline, and the specific application instructions for the Recommendation section. It is important that your recommender have all the tools he or she needs to write the best letter about you. Help them do this by providing all the information needed before you ask. Do not assume that he or she knows or remembers everything about you.
And because your character counts in every way, you don’t want to forget to thank your recommenders in a special way. Writing a thoughtful, appreciative note of thanks to each recommender is the best way to let them know they contributed to your future, and not wasted their precious family time. Honor them by sincerely thanking them.
Advice on putting together your application
Yale University’s admissions website has the most comprehensive advice here.