What You Should Know About Letters of Recommendation

Anne Weisholtz
Posted at 5/22/2017 12:33:02 PM

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

Categories: Application & Essay Guidance
  • Recommendations

Q&A With A College Admissions Expert

Evelyn Alexander, M.A.
Posted at 5/17/2017 4:26:29 PM

This interview was originally published on the Varsity Tutors website.

Varsity Tutors brings you insider tips and advice straight from nationally recognized admissions experts. Evelyn Alexander provides college admissions counseling services to a number of students and their families through Magellan College Counseling. She is an alumnus of Johns Hopkins University where she also served as a volunteer admissions recruiter for 15 years.

VT: How far ahead of time should a student begin working on his or her college application?

Evelyn: College applications are generally available the summer before the student’s senior year. The Common Application, for example, should open in August for the Class of 2015. While I would advise students to start their applications as early as possible, I would also encourage them to start exploring colleges long before the summer before senior year. I start working with students at the beginning of junior year, digging into possible majors and car...more

Categories: Comprehensive College Guidance  |  Application & Essay Guidance  |  College Selection & List Development
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Building Affordability Into Your College Search

Katelyn Klapper
Posted at 2/22/2017 2:16:35 PM

Do you have to give up a great college match in order to afford an undergraduate education? No, but you do need an action plan!

There are four primary variables for building affordability into your college search: a strong academic profile; a willingness to look outside of your region and to consider schools you might not have heard of; an understanding of which schools DO NOT provide merit money; and time to do your research well.

Academics front and center! Nothing replaces the importance of good grades in any admissions process, even if you have an outstanding talent. Grades aren’t where you’d like them to be? An upward trend is also important, as is making sure you are in the most challenging curriculum you can handle and that you are taking five solid academic classes each semester. Make the most of your testing opportunities by practicing and studying for the SAT and/or ACT exams. The stronger your academic profile, the more likely you will be to qualify for merit aid.


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