A student should select a teacher recommender with whom a relationship has been formed, ideally over several years of high school. A recommender should be able to express what the student brought to the classroom be it contributing to discussions, seeking additional opportunities, etc. Note this is not necessarily the teacher who awarded an ‘A’ in a given class. If an ‘A’ was earned, that is a great achievement and will be reflected on the transcript. More importantly though, the recommender should be able to provide a thoughtful commentary on how the student solved problems, engaged with new material, participated in debates with thought provoking arguments, etc. You get the idea.
Once a recommender has been selected, please give him or her the courtesy of time. Do not wait until the last minute, but be up front regarding your application deadlines. Additionally, it is a good idea to provide a reflection sheet reminding the teacher of your class contributions, strengths, and memorable academic experiences in the class. This is not boasting; recommenders generally have many recommendations to write, and they will appreciate the reminder of your contributions to the class.
Lastly, once the recommendations have been submitted and the applications are complete, send a thank you note to your recommenders. Emails are nice, but a well-written thank you note is far better in this counselor’s humble opinion.
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