Requesting Letters of Recommendation Isn’t Simple

Asking for any help requires confidence. And, when asking for letters of recommendation, students must trust that the teachers and counselor will add dimension to their carefully curated application, including a resume of activities developed over years and autobiographical essays drafted over many hours. 

Thus, when students are required to fill out multi-page packets detailing their experience, attaching rough drafts of college essays, choosing adjectives to describe themselves, parent brag sheets, then students can wonder, “How much does this recommender really know me?”—setting off a neurotic thought torrent of anguish.

Also, for a class who ended their first high school year in lockdown, spent their sophomore year online, adding complexity in forming bonds with teachers, only to return to high school as juniors but behind masks, many don’t believe they have connections with teachers who actually know them. 

Other students remark that teachers who would’ve otherwise been a candidate for recommendations have retired, in the exodus of teachers in the last two years, and are unsure how to contact them or if they can be a recommender. 

Thus, when students delay asking for a recommendation, often they’re working through the complexities of asking for assistance, and require advisors who understand the inner machinations of a teenage mind to help them strategize.

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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