How important are letters of recommendation?
A good letter of recommendation gives admissions officers a sense of who you are as a flesh and blood person and what sort of member of their college community you will be. The student with the strongest academic record will be admitted to the most selective schools only if the recommendations are as outstanding as the transcript. And the student with a comparatively weak transcript or test scores will end up with many more options if the letters of recommendation speak of strengths that are not reflected in the numbers.
How many recommendation letters should I ask for, and whom should I ask?
Every college you apply to will receive at least one “School Letter” written by your school counselor, and many will require an additional letter or two from classroom teachers. Many applicants also obtain letters of recommendation from coaches, music or art teachers, employers, and the like. Some few colleges, mostly small ones, welcome and read a...more