Whether you’re a budding Bohemian or veterinarian-in-training, telling a coherent story throughout your college application can give you a huge edge over the competition.  Your two best opportunities to do so are through your personal statements and letters of recommendation.


First, you must determine whom to ask.  Ideally, you’ll find someone who can speak to both your personal character and academic caliber.  I was fortunate in that my AP Statistics teacher was also the varsity tennis coach. We’d also developed a personal rapport over the years by debating which John Coltrane album was the best.  When he wrote my letter of recommendation, he knew me as an A+ student, two year captain of the tennis team and jazz enthusiast. Finding a similar figure can be a huge boost to your application.  But, it isn’t always obvious who should write your letter of recommendation. Brainstorm with your family and friends about who knows you best. You should also be prepared and have a few options in case your first choices are too busy.

A lot of students who go into the admissions process without a consultant make the mistake of waiting until the last minute to ask for their recommendations.  Despite rumors to the contrary, teachers do have lives outside of school. Asking for a letter of recommendation a week before your applications’ due date is a recipe for disaster.  Either it’s going to be rushed or turned in late. Both reflect poorly on you, not on your teacher. Getting the perfect recommendation requires you to be proactive and approach your teacher as early as the first day of school.  


But asking early isn’t enough; attaching a resume alongside a cover letter to remind your teachers of your accomplishments is often necessary.  Even if a teacher doesn’t require either, doing so will make their life easier and give them specific talking points, which you can also hit upon in your application.  However, few high schoolers have experience writing cover letters or resumes which may weaken your letters of recommendation.


Fortunately, Ivy Admissions has services to help students on both fronts.  We will even help you tailor your resume for each recommender in order to ensure that you receive a diverse and complete reflection of yourself.  Learning how to get recommendations, present your past experience and show you’re right for the position are all invaluable skills. They will serve you well next year when you’re searching for a killer internship, after college when you begin the job search and for the rest of your life.  


If this whole process seems overwhelming, then that’s fine.  We find many students are unprepared for what lies ahead, but Ivy Admissions is here to help!  We can guide you through this whole process step-by-step from the initial brainstorm to the moment when recommendations are submitted.